Navarre Corp. (New Hope, Minn.), a wholesale distributor of software, music, video, and video games, to retail outlets, surpassed the capacity its static racks for product storage and order fulfillment. “Our business and SKU count had grown very rapidly,” says David Ginsberg, Navarre’s v.p. of operations. “Our picking system consisted of a two-story mezzanine and was essentially a manual operation.”
After submitting an RFP to various vendors, Navarre decided on a solution provided by Cardinal Materials Flow (St. Paul, Minn.) and Steel King Industries, Inc. (Stevens Point, Wis.). Cardinal Materials Flow designed the floor plan, and Steel King designed the components for the new, customized pick modules using pallet rack components and a customized conveyor system. Using their pick module design, the companies were able to customize their pick module design to accommodate the building’s support columns and make sure they did not interfere with the module’s operation.
“These new modules allow us the room and efficiency to do the picking as well as replenishment from behind,” Ginsberg says. “We are able to get more SKU facings per square foot than we were able to obtain before. We can accomplish more work faster and in a smaller space.”
Navarre will have three pick modules that will support its three product lines, software, DVDs and music. The pick modules consist of three levels each, two dynamic and one static. Each pick module consists of 10 zones, with each zone containing an order picker and a particular group of products.
The new storage rack system makes the most efficient use of space and labor possible. Once orders are entered into a computer, the first step is the creation of a carton, with an applied bar code, at the front end. The carton is routed to each zone necessary for the order, and at each zone, the picker scans the carton. Upon receipt of the scan, the computer sends voice instructions to the picker, listing the items to be picked and added to the carton. Once the items have been placed in the carton, the carton is put back on the power take-away conveyor, and it is routed to the next zone or module. Completed orders are sent to shipping.