Briefing: Westfalia Technologies, Inc. Automates Southern Wine and Spirits of California's Union City Facility

Southern Wine & Spirits of California is a division of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern), the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor and broker. With operations in 35 markets and more than 14,000 team members, Southern serves suppliers from all over the world. The California division is the single largest wine and spirits distributor in the state— if not the country.

Download Case Study in PDF Format

Case Study: Westfalia Technologies, Inc. Automates Southern Wine and Spirits of California's Union City Facility
“With Westfalia's WES, integrated with W&H Systems' WCS, Southern now has complete insight into inventory and its movement via a user-friendly software interface and dashboard tool. ”

Challenge: Outgrown and outdated facility

Southern and its California division operates with the mission to be the leading, most-trusted and most-efficient distributor of beverage alcohol—creating distinctive, measurable and innovative value for its customers and supplier partners. To uphold this mission, the distributor is always looking for innovative ways to enhance upon and leverage world-class supply chain capabilities to reduce costs, deliver optimal fulfillments and provide tailored customer service. Southern recognized that it could readily achieve these benefits and more, as well as prepare for future growth by tearing down its outdated Union City warehouse and building a new, fully automated facility in its place. Mark Booth, vice president of supply chain technology, Southern Wine & Spirits, said, “We were in a building that was outgrown, outdated and with no technology whatsoever. We had to take the next step and look towards the next 20 to 25 years of our business.”

Solution: Westfalia And W&H state-of-the-art automated warehouse

In collaboration with Westfalia Technologies, Inc. and W&H Systems, Southern developed a state-of-the-art automated warehouse. Westfalia is a leading provider of logistics solutions for plants, warehouses and distribution centers, and W&H Systems is an experienced warehouse material handling systems integrator. Westfalia and W&H Systems developed the concept and design of Southern’s automation technology, managed implementation and ensured the successful start-up of the 334,000 square-foot, 55-foot-tall facility.

Fitted with Westfalia’s high-density automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), Southern can store 24,750 pallets up to ten pallets deep. With four Westfalia storage and retrieval machines (S/RM) refilling pallets, each S/RM can process more than 80 pallets per hour. All pallets are triple-supported, which not only minimizes operational problems, but also provides more safety.  

Westfalia’s Savanna.NET® warehouse execution system (WES) brings the system together, optimizing material flow and picking within the AS/RS, and ensuring inventory accuracy and rapid order fulfillment. Each operator and picker is equipped with a hand-held computer running Savanna.NET®—giving operators the ability to control replenishment activity as well as retrieve empty pallet stacks and trash bins.

For the materials handling portion of the operation, Southern is utilizing W&H Systems’ material handling system, which  incorporates an extensive conveyor system including 13 pick lanes (11 full case, two split case) and a double sortation system including pre-merges, pre-sorters, mid-merges, a high-rate combiner, and sortation to 12 fluid loading doors. This automated system comprises a bottle room pick module, integrated with a voice pick system and a comprehensive scanning and monitoring system. The conveyor system is also integrated with the AS/RS, and efficiently moves and manipulates 300 pallets per hour and up to 18,000 cases per hour—housing more than 1,700 SKUs. This high-performance, integrated conveyor system achieves production rates of more than 6,000 cases per hour with productive large batch picking. The material handling system is controlled by W&H Systems’ SHIRAZ Warehouse Controls System (WCS), which is directly integrated with Savanna.NET®.

System Features:

  • Size:

    • 334,000 square feet
    • 55 feet tall
    • 4 tandem S/RM's in 4 aisles
    • 2,048 cluster pick locations
    • 432 face pick locations
  • Capacity:

    • 12,000 SKUs
    • 24,750 pallet storage positions
    • 1.8 million cases
    • 24,750 pallets
    • 10 pallets deep
    • S/RM dual command throughput of 80 pallets/hour
    • 294 total pallet conveyor zones
    • Conveyor to S/RM transfer speed of 60 feet/minute
  • Technology:

    • High-density AS/RS
    • Storage/ Retrieval Machine using Satellite® technology
    • Savanna.NET® WES
    • W&H Systems' conveyors and SHIRAZ Warehouse Control System

System Benefits:

With Westfalia and W&H Systems, Southern Wine & Spirits of California has: 

  • Built one of the most technologically advanced warehouses in the beverage alcohol industry
  • Increases overall warehouse efficiency
  • Improved space utilization to position itself for growth without expandind
  • Enhanced customer and supplier partner satisfaction through greater order fulfillment accuracy and faster deliver times
  • Expedited its receiving and picking processes

Latest Southern Wine and Spirits of California Videos:

Our Mission: To deliver unparalleled warehousing solutions by earning the trust of our customers, understanding their business needs and honoring the commitments we make.