Robotics Case Studies
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Utilizing Warehouse Automation
Cimcorp Automation Ltd. Posted 06/22/2016
L’Oréal U.S.A. (L’Oréal) is the world’s largest health and beauty care company with fiscal 2015 sales of $28.39 million. Founded in 1909, L’Oréal is based in Clichy, France with headquarters in New York City, Berkeley Heights, NJ and Melbourne, Australia. L’Oréal is present in 130 countries with 43 factories and 71 distribution centers established on all continents and manufactures 85.9 percent of its products in its own plants.
In order to continue their U.S. expansion, L’Oréal opened L’Oreal USA, a distribution center in Walton, KY. Also known as Walton DC, the facility is L’Oréal’s largest U.S-based distribution center and distributes Garnier and L’Oreal Paris hair care and styling products both domestically and internationally.
WHEN WALTON DC OPENED IN 2009, they were using an entirely manual order processing model to hand-pick 10 million pounds per year, using a three shift operation, staffed exclusively with a sub-contracted workforce. L’Oréal has made it a priority to reduce the facility operation hours from three shifts to two, while improving outbound order quality and providing a superior level of customer service. Even more prominently, L’Oréal wanted to hold a premier standard in energy conservation and worker health and safety by decreasing the amount of manually lifted and picked items each year and reducing transportable waste.
AFTER CONSIDERING SEVERAL layer picking solution providers, L’Oréal decided Cimcorp, a manufacturer and integrator of turnkey robotic gantry-based order fulfillment solutions, would be the best partner to help resolve their on-going challenges. Chosen for its sophisticated gantry solution, Cimcorp also has a reputation to reduce operating costs and hours required in the facility and is also widely known for their relationships with major players in the beverage industries, global presence and adaptability to work with unique customer requirements.
ONCE THE DECISION TO MOVE FORWARD with Cimcorp was made, collaboration between the two companies spanned almost a full year. Cimcorp was very elaborate during the design phase, making sure to hand select the most beneficial layout design for order processing material flows in Walton DC.
CIMCORP’S LAYER PICK SYSTEM- a fully automated, robotic system with the ability to pick a near limitless variety of products, access a large volume of inventory with a single machine and create customer orders in any sequence desired was strategically chosen and built in Walton DC because it best fit L’Oréal’s business needs. The layer pick system is suited for facilities that pick more than 1,000 layers per day from 50-500 stock keeping units (SKUs).
L’ORÉAL ADDITIONALLY TOOK THEIR LAYER PICKING SYSTEM A STEP FARTHER by investing in a double gantry system in order to provide 100 percent redundancy. L’Oreal furthermore determined that it was essential to implement a forward reserve cascading replenishment system for the 6,000 pallets per month, to reduce forklift travel within the 680,000 square foot facility. With this racking system, the high velocity SKU’s are stored within 200 feet from the induction stations. Cimcorp’s warehouse management system (WMS) was integrated with L’Oreal’s business interface module (BIM) to facilitate communication with the SAP system.
Benefits & Results
WITH THE INSTALLATION of Cimcorp’s layer pick system, the flow of orders and productivity have become more efficient and consistent compared to the manual order processing solution in Walton DC. The end-to-end solution allowed the distribution center to reduce and reallocate existing resources to other operations within the facility, such as receiving, warehousing and shipping.
IN ADDITION, the ability to build taller outbound pallets has allowed the average number of pallets per outbound shipment to reduce, therefore creating additional benefits regarding wooden pallet costs, forklift pallet touches and transportation savings. Along with the ergonomic and environmental benefits, the distribution has increased worker safety by decreasing the amount of manually lifted and picked items each year. L’Oréal is continuing to benefit from the replenishment of 6,000 pallets per month and 100 percent accuracy and traceability at a faster rate. It is currently handling 1 million cases per month.
HAVING MET THE EXPECTED QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY, L’Oréal as a culture is embracing automation to the fullest level. Cimcorp’s robotic layer picking solution in Walton DC has successfully been implemented with future plans to employ additional technology within the facility. Additionally, the system has already been prepped for vacuum attachment installation to take place at a later date. This allows Walton DC to further enhance their ability to handle numerous types of products (corrugate, shrink wrapped, etc.).
THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS, Cimcorp proved to work in a timely manner whenever issues arose. Customer satisfaction is always the utmost importance during start-up and day-today operations.