Future Electronics uses the OPS-System developed by Witron

INFORMATION: Free information is available from WITRON on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

Future Electronics is the world-wide leading company in the distribution and marketing of electronic products. The SKU spectrum comprises of semi-conductors, passive assembly components and such electro-mechanical components as, LCD-Displays, wireless transfer media or RFID-Solution Modules of leading manufacturers. Future Electronics with its headquarters near Montreal currently keeps 155 subsidiaries in 35 countries of North and South America, Europe and Asia. "The main reasons, why we decided on Witron's OPS solution for our new distribution center is the significant increase in efficiency and quality, in addition to an extremely attractive Return-of-Investment (ROI)," says Pierre Guilbault, CFO at Future Electronics. "This new state-of-the-art logistics center is our "showcase"."

Witron delivers all components

The Memphis Area Distribution Center MADC is designed to handle up to 22.000
order lines on a daily basis. With four distribution centers worldwide,
Memphis covers the complete American market. Special goods that are only
stored in Memphis, such as rarely demanded products or out-of-stock supplies
to individual local companies, are shipped all over the world from here.
After intensive applications tests carried out by Future Electronics during
the implementation phase, the logistics solution could be put into operation
within a few months. The challenge in building a Greenfield Solution was
familiarizing brand new personnel with the process flows of the new system.

Since most countries have special regulations that determine whether a
specific electronic component can be sent from the distributor to a customer
in that country, the implementation of the new technology allows Future
Electronics to fulfill a zero error strategy with the execution of customer

Witron, as General Contractor, is responsible for the delivery of all
logistic components. These include the complete IT and PLC system, the
pallet, tote and carton conveyor system, as well as, the stacker cranes and
the pallet and tote steel construction. The new logistics center works
according to the so-called "Pick-Pack-Strategy". That means goods will be
picked directly into the shipping unit according to a pre-calculated volume
capacity. The OPS-System can be modularly expanded according to growing
demands, which enables Future Electronics further optimization possibilities
for the future.

Optimization of Supply Times at the Picking Workstation

The first important step was the summary of the available data material at
Future Electronics for a solid planning basis, as well as, the consideration
of the demands and business processes of the company on site. The OPS-System
enables Future Electronics to provide the extensive SKU spectrum according
to the orders at the picking workstations. This provision is carried out
according to a specified sequence of the individual SKUs. The installation
of sequence buffers in the pick front optimizes the supply of items at the
individual workstations, avoiding employee wait time.

The warehouse provides 23 tote stacker cranes for the efficient supply of 23
pick workstations that are located on two levels. If an SKU in the tote
warehouse falls below a defined level, the OPS-System starts a replenishment
order from the high bay warehouse, retrieves this SKU, and presents it to
the employee at an ergonomic Receiving Inspection station. The employee is
then able to simply repack the SKU from the pallet into an automatically
provided tote. Future Electronics has a total of 46 QC/packing and 22
Receiving Inspection workstations.

Order Picking System (OPS) increases Pick Rate and reduces routes

The storage locations of the totes in the new distribution center of Future
Electronics are connected to the pick workstations via a network of stacker
cranes and conveyor system, providing a "Goods-to-Man" pick principle. The
sequence buffers at each workstation ensure that the pick totes and SKUs are
provided in an optimal sequence before executing the pick. These buffers
also minimize traffic volume within the distribution center, separating the
warehouse from the pick workstations and therefore leading to a clear
increase of the pick performance.

Besides the customer supply for new product developments, Future Electronics
also provides a wide range of long-term storage components that need to be
stored as spare parts in small quantities and provided for a customer order
"on demand". Since all components are only small-volume components, the
storage in reusable totes is the ideal solution. The SKUs, however, are
stored in special picking totes that are stored and released again by means
of tote stacker cranes - the storage is therefore completely automated.
Further advantages: The pick process is completely separated from the supply
of goods by stacker cranes and a continuous workflow is guaranteed.

Complete System nearly independent of Fluctuations

The OPS system executes the consolidation of orders directly at the picking
workstations, which can be individually and flexibly switched on or off due
to the actual workload. Therefore, the complete system is nearly independent
of fluctuations in the 69,000 SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) at Future
Electronics - an enormous warehouse capacity. The OPS system allows the
electronics distributor to continually monitor the real-time inventory, the
system performance and the workload balance in the system. Furthermore, OPS
enables the assignment of picking workstations to specific carriers or
logistics service providers, or to carry out sorting according to service
regions. The system is also capable of handling the future demands of Future
Electronics: The system can modularly be extended by adding stacker cranes
or additional workstations without any difficulty or interruption.

INFORMATION: Free information is available from WITRON on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

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