Project Description

High Volume Full Truck Load (FTL) Order Fulfillment at Stemilt Growers

Stemilt Growers, based in Wenatchee, Washington, is the largest fresh, sweet cherry shipper in the world, and a top U.S. grower-packer-shipper of apples, pears, and cherries, shipping over 20 million pounds of fruit on an annual basis.

The Challenge

To usher in a new era of high-volume operational efficiencies and shipping automation, Stemilt invested in a brand-new distribution center outfitted with automated material handling equipment including a state-of-the-art 15,000 pallet-ASRS to enhance their order fulfillment operations.

Although Stemilt had implemented Oracle WMS in the past, the original implementation project didn’t factor in key high-volume order fulfillment strategies into the design. As a result, warehouse operations were left to create manual overrides to keep up with order demand, leading to inaccurate inventory counts and a system unfit to scale.

The challenge was how do they maximize the new ASRS and Distribution Center investments to reach their operational goals, track real-time material movement, and create better visibility across their entire outbound processes.

The Solution

A 22-week, fixed-price, collaborative implementation, designed and executed by Inyxa’s project team, that included several WMS mobile screens optimized for Stemilt’s warehousing transactions, and a custom-built Warehouse Execution System to control the ASRS and outbound order fulfillment processes.

  • A custom-built Warehouse Execution System
    • Integrates the ERP (Oracle-E-Business Suite), the WMS, a Labor Tracking system, and the automated material handling system from SwissLog
    • Provides visibility and control of all trips and trucks by appointment
    • Manages complete control of the ASRS, from releasing tasks to requesting pallet sequences, and routing pallets to output spurs
    • Provides visibility and controls of all orders in Oracle, ASRS output spurs and staging lanes, employee resource grid, and dock door management
  • A suite of Mobile forms that optimized person-system interaction throughout the distribution center. These mobile screens worked in conjunction with the standard Oracle seeded WMS forms, to provide an optimized user experience.
    • Mobile Unified Receiving Form: To expedite and enhance receiving capabilities
    • Mobile Unified Put-Away Form: To provide the ability to move all types of orders to various locations throughout the warehouse, from partial pallet storage, to cross-docking, to ASRS input lanes
    • Mobile Unified Picking Form: Simplifying and enhancing the order picking process across all order types and locations, including LPN picks with multiple lots in a single scan.
    • Mobile Truck Loading Form: To create two-way visibility and efficiency between pallets and assigned trucks
    • Mobile In-Transit Form: To provide visibility and tracking while product is in-transit
    • Mobile Guided Pallet Consolidation Form: To optimize warehouse storage density and capacity, through an intelligent and complex rules engine.
    • Mobile Remove Item from Staged Shipment Form: To create flexibility and real-time traceability when replacing or removing pallets

Results

  • Significant improvement in Oracle WMS transactions through the roll-out of mobile screens optimized specifically for Stemilt.
  • Better warehouse management and more reactive operations through new Warehouse Execution System to unify operational control
  • Real-time visibility for executives into shipment status, truck wait times, and labor productivity
  • Truck Loading Time was reduced by 66%. Stemilt now has the ability to load a full truck in less than 30 minutes (from truck check-in to check-out) vs. 90 minutes previously.
  • Inspectors can each inspect up to 40 pallets per hour with the new system in place, allowing for a total of 120 pallet inspections per hour with 3 QA stations.
  • Quick adoption and easier change management due to key collaborative design decisions and project approach
  • Employee stress reduction due to simplified processes and standard hours of operations

“…Most impressively, Inyxa built us a Warehouse Execution System (WES) for bridging communications between Stemilt’s new Distribution Center ASRS and our ERP system. This allowed for a single application to control our entire shipping execution process, taking all of the complications out of the users’ hands.  Inyxa’s development team also created custom mobile forms to support the new processes that came with operating an ASRS…”

– Mike Lowell, Development Manager, Stemilt Growers