It is hard to stay competitive in the global marketplace with a manual warehouse. Diebold, Inc. took a bold step and recently moved its warehouse and separate repair center into a new, automated Global Service Logistics Center (Green, Ohio).

Equipment and a well-planned warehouse layout is how Diebold (North Canton, Ohio), a supplier of automated teller machines (ATMs), security integration, electronic voting and related services, is achieving its goals to increase productivity, order accuracy, and response time to customers. Dan Pittman, Diebold's manager of materials and distribution, says his team knew the processes they wanted to change and some of the basic equipment changes. Diebold chose to tap the expertise and experience of a facilitiesplanning consultant, Trommer & Associates (Akron, Ohio) to design the material handling system for its new distribution center, including the equipment to be used.

Trommer also developed the bidding specifications. The pool of companies bidding on this project came from Diebold's supplier base and companies Trommer considered to be competent to do the job. "Putting them all on the same playing field tends to improve the quality of the final project, and it reduces the cost because of the competition," says Donald E. Kuzma, Trommer's president.

Although Diebold's new 165,000 sq.-ft. service center is smaller than the one it left, it has increased storage capacity, Kuzma says. The facility's capacity was realized through a re-alignment of inventory to storage media. The new processes like zone picking, a TGW-Ermanco conveyor system (Grand Rapids, Mich.), and an order consolidation system at pack-out increased the facility's overall operating efficiencies. The new conveyor system sorts each zone order to one pack lane and consolidates items for packing and shipping as a unit order.

Since lift trucks need to have the right ergonomics in a facility, Diebold testdrove several models in its building and used them on its inventory. In the end, Diebold decided to lease its new lift truck fleet from Fallsway Equipment Co. (Akron, Ohio) because "it allowed us to use capital for longer-term investments," Pittman explains. The new fleet of Crown Equipment Corp. (New Bremen, Ohio) lift trucks includes a sit-down counter-balance truck, two wire-guided trucks, two reach trucks and a few three-wheeled trucks.

One of the first steps Trommer took to transform Diebold's DC was to better match storage media to inventory while still keeping in mind how the inventory is going to be picked. In its old warehouse, Diebold had poor cubic space utilization in its bins and racks. The new facility has a high bay storage (Republic Storage Systems, North Canton, Ohio) area for slowmoving items and carton flow, pallet flow and deck racks from Interlake Material Handling (Naperville, Ill.) that efficiently use the available cube.

One of Diebold's goals for its new DC is reducing the cost per line item shipped. Since it has many small-parcel line-item orders with a lot of the lines having numerous small pieces, zone picking was introduced to reduce order-processing time from a maximum of two hours to 20 minutes. People in five zones now pick orders simultaneously instead of the old way where order pickers traveled the entire warehouse filling orders.

Moving the inventory into more suitable storage media like flow racks increases the DC's operational efficiencies. The pallet and carton flow racking makes the warehouse more efficient because stockers can load parts on one side while orders are being picked from the front. "This allows for less congestion in the warehouse," explains Charles Metsker, manager of Diebold's Global Services warehouse.

The picking module (Interlake) consists of pallet flow rack and hand stocked decked rack over the carton flow and decked rack. Additional narrow-aisle deck racking and high-bay shelving adjacent to the pick module give more capacity for small-parts picking. Decked rack is used to store small quantities of larger, slow-moving items that are hand picked. High-bay shelving is used to store small, slow-moving items. A freestanding mezzanine (Anchor Enterprises, Cleveland, Ohio) located over the packing sorter gives additional bin storage for the smaller, faster moving items.

A few assets from its old warehouse are incorporated into its new facility. For instance, its old print-and-apply technology for manifesting was modified and integrated into the new conveyor system after its reliability was improved. Some existing racking and shelves were also moved to the new facility.

New processes like zone picking, a conveyor system and order sortation increase Diebold's efficiency.

Stand-up reach trucks place pallets on the picking mezzanine.