Briefing: AS/RS technology allows Sazerac to service the customer and adapt quickly to business needs

The Sazerac Company, one of the largest family-owned distilling companies in the United States, looked at the possibility of an automated warehouse utilizing AS/RS technology previously; however, the timing wasn't right. Sazerac had just purchased three new plants and the overall operational foundation was still being developed. 

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Case Study: AS/RS technology allows Sazerac to service the customer and adapt quickly to business needs
“A key design factor that Westfalia presented was the re-purposing of existing warehousing” Jeff Conder, vice president of manufacturing, Sazerac Comapny, Inc.

Challenge: Need to increase efficiency while keeping the company competitive

The U.S. spirits industry is growing and Sazerac Company is no exception to this growth. In today’s spirits market, servicing the customer and being able to quickly adapt to business needs is critical. With the increased demand for Kentucky bourbon and other spirits, Sazerac Company needed a warehousing solution that would not only provide increased efficiency but would also keep the company competitive in delivering value to the customer.

Sazerac Company was investing $71 million in the expansion of three Kentucky distilleries in effort to cater to the increasing demand. In particular, Sazerac Company needed a warehousing solution for Buffalo Trace Distillery and Glenmore Distillery that would allow the company to track inventory more efficiently, use less space and allow for growth. “Having a growing and dynamic business, we wanted a solution that was flexible and could change as business needs change”, said Jeff Conder, vice president of manufacturing of Sazerac. 

Solution: Westfalia AS/RS and WMS for a spirits supplier

Westfalia’s approach to providing Sazerac a solution was an important attribute that separated them from the other solution vendors we were evaluating,” said Conder. “Westfalia didn’t immediately jump to a specific design or solution and try to make a sale. They spent considerable amount of time examining our current business, not only from a warehousing perspective, but by looking at our entire manufacturing process.” 

At Buffalo Trace, the new 83,000 square foot warehouse addition will employ an AS/RS solution that allows for expansion capability. This warehouse will be a rack supported building configuration to minimize construction and operating costs.  The 223,000 square foot distribution center to be constructed at Glenmore will be dedicated to the storage and processing of palletized and layer-picked orders. This AS/RS solution will provide buffer pallet storage of Glenmore’s top SKU’s and efficient fulfillment of customer orders. Both facilities will employ all pallets supported on a 3-rail system, thereby eliminating pallet breakage and slave pallets, leading to a more reliable system. Conder said, “A key design factor that Westfalia presented was the re-purposing of existing 
warehousing to help alleviate other areas of manufacturing being limited by space constraints.” 
Both warehousing solutions provide Sazerac Company with built-in expansion capabilities. With AS/RS technology and the ease of expansion, both systems can be easily expanded as business needs dictate. 

“The final design provides both facilities with the needed storage capacity, the desired operational impact to the manufacturing process and the best value for the company long-term. As a result of having AS/RS technology, it will drive expansion in other areas of manufacturing for Sazerac,” said Conder. 

System Features:

  • Capacity:

    Buffalo Trace Facility

    • AS/RS occupies 46,574 sq. feet
    • Stores pallet loads 6 levels high, 5 pallets deep 
    • 4-aisle solution based on the flexibility of expanding to accomodate future growth
    • 10,621 pallet rack positions
    • 18 truck staging lanes
  • Capacity:

    Glenmore Facility

    • AS/RS occupies 159,732 sq. feet
    • Stores pallet loads 6 levels high, 5 pallets deep
    • 1,554 conventional pallet rack positions 
    • 384 pick positions at floor level
    • 36,748 pallet rack positions
    • 52 truck staging lanes
  • Functionality:

    Buffalo Trace Facility

    • 3 S/RMs operating in 3 aisles 
    • 3-rail pallet support system
    • Savanna.NET WES
  • Functionality:

    Glenmore Facility

    • 4 tandem S/RMs operating in 4 aisles
    • Automated layer picking system with 1 layer-gantry robot
    • 3-rail pallet support system
    • Savanna.NET WES

System Benefits:

  • Bring labor efficiencies while  maximizing space utilization
  • Maximizes order picking productivity & accuracy rates
  • Maximizes throughput
  • Maximizes efficiency and productivity of the overall material handling system
  • Maximizes space utilization while improving system performance
  • Minimizes product damage
  • Maximizes truck loading productivity and efficiency

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