Briefing: Westfalia Helps Distribution Center Enter the 21st Century
Since 1894, family founded and owned Hershey Creamery Company (Hershey) has specialized in bulk ice cream novelties. The company distributes to more than 30,000 retail, educational and healthcare accounts, such as grocery and convenience stores, but focuses mainly on direct-store delivery. In 1997, in order to optimize material flow, reduce logistics costs and labor requirements, Hershey Creamery sought Westfalia Technologies, Inc. to design and build a warehousing system for their new ice cream distribution center located in Middletown, PA.
Westfalia designed and built a 10,000 pallet position, eight storage level automated warehouse system incorporating pick tunnel operations. The 2 aisle system has a combination of seven- and five-deep storage lanes. Each aisle contains one storage and retrieval machine (S/RM) capable of handling approximately 70 pallets per hour. At the time, Westfalia’s Warehouse Management Software (WMS) was installed.
Challenge: Meeting Increasing Demand & Throughput
Almost 20 years after the original installation, the IT infrastructure running the distribution center became outdated and unreliable. When the company decided to upgrade its IT infrastructure within its warehouse, it came to Westfalia to find additional ways to improve reliability and efficiency throughout the facility.
Solution: High density AS/RS and WMS
Westfalia’s solution was to upgrade the facility’s legacy WMS to the latest version of the Savanna.NET® Warehouse Execution System (WES). The Savanna.NET® WES combines a tightly integrated WMS and warehouse control system (WCS) into a single application to help Hershey direct, control and optimize internal material flow and order picking. The Savanna.NET® WES simplifies and controls the entire warehousing process, while reducing the complexity of using several different “function-specific” applications. As a result, Hershey can more efficiently utilize warehouse space and equipment, increase order accuracy, improve customer service, reduce the risk of lost or damaged product, and raise throughput and productivity.
In addition, Westfalia replaced Hershey Creamery’s old wireless communications system on the facility’s storage and retrieval machines (S/RMs) with optical data couplers.
The Savanna.NET® WES provides a more robust processing system for the facility’s operations and takes advantage of the many features of the new communications hardware. Moreover, the infrared communications architecture performs at least twice as fast and is more reliable than the previous, wireless solution. As a result, the company has increased efficiency throughout the operation.
“At Westfalia, we pride ourselves in delivering quality automated warehouse solutions that stand the test of time. The system at Hershey Creamery is a testament to this commitment. After 20 years in existence they are able to continue to increase efficiency throughout the facility without major changes to the existing automated equipment,” said Dave Williams, director of software and solutions delivery, Westfalia Technologies, Inc.
“In all that time not a single day has been lost to down time” Tom Leonard, Control Room Supervisor
- Savanna.NET® Warehouse Execution System
- 10,000 pallet storage positions
- 8 levels rack structure
- 5-deep and 7-deep pallet storage lanes
- 400 pick-lanes and 200 tray order selection areas inside rack structure on 3 levels
- 2 Storage/ Retrieval machines
- Up-to-date network and computing architecture (i.e hardware and operating environment)
- Maximized overall efficiency and productivity
- Improved warehouse management with robust reporting and product tracking
- Optimized order picking productivity and accuracy rates
- Increased employee productivity and safety
- Positioned itself for future growth and flexibility