Topper Industrial Addresses Distribution Center Challenges: Current DC Layout Need Not be a Constraint to Lean

June 22, 2018 Fork Truck Free Info 3980 Views


The configuration of an existing distribution center’s (DC) layout needs not be a constraint to lean efficiency capabilities in warehouses. Topper Industrial works with DCs to implementing cart delivery systems that benefit an ongoing transition to a leaner facility. This is accomplished by designing the specific material handling equipment needed for leaner material movement.  The equipment Topper designs and manufacturers compliments a company’s practices to improve material flow. When implementing cart delivery, a facility’s physical layout becomes a starting point in changeability, not a constraint.

Lean practices are used to remove waste and inefficiencies from various processes to increase productivity and promote simplification line side. Cart Delivery within these processes is often  implemented as an alternative to mainstream product delivery and drop off.

When transitioning to cart delivery through continued lean processes, thorough data has to be collected and analyzed about the material demand, costs, productivity, and current customer satisfaction in delivery times. Lean practices are often associated with manufacturing, but lean principles are completely applicable to distribution centers as well. Considering that logistics cost are increasing by ten percent YOY (year over year), using the fundamentals of lean combined with saves millions of dollars in operating costs, immediately impacting bottom line profitability in DCs.

While warehouse line workers attempt to make sure products flow efficiently in and out of the DCs, some warehouse operations are more productive than others. Each DC and specifically each type of product has its own opportunities and flaws. Each DC has to be examined for what is being distributed,  when, where, how and even how often. What are the best goals of the particular DC?   There is not one perfect warehouse layout design for every DC as it was stated that each is unique.

Topper Industrial has found that by engaging with lean experts to work with the facility’s supply and material movement leaders to assess a warehouse layout, flow and emerging equipment needs, there are possible solutions for what is working and is not working. Cart delivery can be very flexible and thus, very beneficial in creating a new material flow within an existing, unchangeable DC layout. Cart Delivery can also be used to its fullest potential when creating a new DC from the ground up. In both cases, cart delivery is designed with problematic situations in mind. For instance, if problems arises such as tight aisles or narrow corners, Topper Industrial’s design team can create solutions to those problems. Whether the solution is needing a specific type of cart steering or to the overall dimensions of the cart’s frame work, Topper’s team with more than 40 years combined of designing custom cart solutions is able to help out.

Topper Industrial works with DCs to make the part pick path as short as possible using cart delivery and tube and joint structures. By delivering the fastest moving (highest velocity) items closest to the packing station, additional productivity within an existing warehouse design can define and quantify the lean objective of eliminating waste.

Reducing pick time can easily address many metrics toward a lean path in a distribution center.  Flow racks are easy to implement and have immediate positive financial, efficiency, and safety impact.  Products delivered by Topper carts to Topper flow racks are as lean as it gets.

About Topper Industrial

For more than twenty years, Topper Industrial, ( based just outside of Milwaukee, WI, has been a leader in the material handling equipment industry. The company’s product roster features industrial carts, conveyors, lifts, lifts & tilts, shipping racks, containers, casters, and cart components. From mother-daughter carts to quad steer carts to tilt carts and rotate carts, Topper’s material handling solutions make delivering material line side more effective through more efficient practices. Topper Industrial has a team of experienced professional experts able to assess and provide the right product for all material handling equipment requirements.

Topper Industrial is a proud member of MHI. Follow on Twitter @TopperInd or on LinkedIn.

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