Distribution Technologies has successfully completed a material handling system solution to meet the needs of the Dallas Cowboys Merchandising LTD. The new system initially utilizes 263,000 sf of operating space 230,000 sf of floor space plus 33,000 sf of second level picking modules. Increased picking productivity is accomplished by placing all conveyable products into two custom designed picking modules with storage media appropriate to product size and velocity. Growth of storage media is concentrated in shelf pick carton flow and pallet flow racking in keeping with Dallas Cowboys Merchandising velocities during peak selling season. Forward picking of product is housed in picking modules serviced by conveyors with picked orders placed into totes. An exception is mass product, which is housed in a floor level concentrated picking area with a direct route to shipping. Gains include faster picking, reduced travel, faster delivery of product to shipping and a picking environment that is both productive and safe.
The two basic flows of product, into and out of the facility, are separated as much as possible. Shipping and Receiving Areas located in central locations on opposite sides of the building to foster an efficient flow through movement of product. There are two conveyable picking modules. The fast pick picking module has a combination of 2 pallets deep pallet flow and carton flow shelves. Here workers pick product directly off of pallets into totes. When a pallet is emptied, the worker removes it and a pre-staged pallet of product behind advances forward. The carton flow shelves are stocked using an order selector electric truck. The shelves have straight fronts to handle large boxes. The roller tracks are installed on 3” centers creating virtually “solid shelves” of roller track. There are no guide rails. This feature allows re-profiling without self dismantling. The shelf pick area is constructed with 30’ deep by 8’ wide static shelves. Their bays are designed for product where one to two boxes of product comprise a two to four week supply.
The static storage bays are designed for larger products and product with low pick frequency but larger quantity picks. Both modules have a tri-lane conveyor on each picking level. Powered conveyor in the center for taking away completed orders and gravity conveyor on both sides for staging totes. Both modules have a single de-boxing, trash handling conveyor above the tri-lane conveyor.
The reserve single deep selective pallet racking system has a maximum storage capacity of 17,202 pallet locations. Receiving is improved by employing a telescoping belt conveyor designed to extend into the front of a semi trailer or container which allows rapid unloading of freight. Because the telescoping conveyor does not require legs or support wheels as it travels into the container trucks, there is no need for dock levels or dock plates at these doors.
The conveyor system is designed to handle nestable plastic totes. Each tote has a scannable and readable barcode label and number attached by the DCM that uniquely identifies the tote and associates it with an open order. The order is picked into the tote using a pick and pass method on the gravity conveyor located on either side of the center powered take-away conveyor. When a tote becomes full to the order’s completion, an additional tote’s bar code is scanned and marked up to the order by the WMS. Picking continues until an order is complete, at which point the tote, or train of totes, is placed onto the powered take-away conveyor. Completed orders move through the module to an accumulation conveyor to a multi-lane saw tooth merge and from there on to the shipping area. The accumulation and merge conveyor is elevated so a main facility fork truck traffic aisle can be located between the sorter and the picking modules.
The permanently affixed barcode label on the totes is automatically scanned and the totes are assigned a sortation lane. Totes of product collected by the conveyor from the picking modules discharge into a pivot wheel belt sorter for the automatic sortation of totes onto one of five shipping lane conveyors. Approximately 14,400 totes are sorted per 8-hour shift. Each divert line has been designed to meet the packing and manifest requirement of a specific shipping venue.
The finished result was a modern and efficient order fulfillment facility. Sales and inventory are expected to grow at a rate of approximately 20% per year. DCM will house approximately 300 more volume of product in the new storage media system. Personnel will experience a better and safer working environment. Management will be able to supervise production and adjust to peak surges effectively. The Dallas Cowboys have a distribution center designed in keeping with proven and well-applied elements of distribution center design.