Retooling the Operation

National 3PL DM Fulfillment Services trades traditional conveyor layouts for flexible automation.

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DM at a glance:

The FleeT
100+ Chucks across 5 US locations
Industry
3PF, Wholesale, omni-channel order fulfillment
Installation Type
GREENFIELD, SITE EXPANSION, CONVEYOR REPLACEMENT
6RS Solutions
CHUCK, WMS Integration (homegrown WMS), Tableau Data Services
Benefits & Results
  • ↑ 38% in Pick Velocity
  • ↑ 17% in Order Volume
  • ↓ 50% in Employee Turnover
  • New Associates Achieve Picking Performance Goal in 15-20 Minutes

DM Fulfillment Services offers direct to consumer and omnichannel fulfillment solutions built upon the operational infrastructure of its parent company, Distribution Management. With a focus on technology and the delivery of an exceptional customer experience, DM Fulfillment Services has been able to continuously adapt and remain relevant in the ever-changing world of ecommerce.

In 2019 and 2020, the company introduced more than 100 Chucks across their five strategically located distribution centers, replacing their old in-line conveyor systems and enabling the distributor to rethink the workflow of their warehouses.

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Considering the latest in fulfillment technology: collaborative mobile robots.

DM's site designs had traditionally been conveyor-heavy which tied them to a very specific layout and workflow. For a business expanding into 3PL and ecommerce fulfillment, this put serious limitations on their ability to handle new inventories and growth. The inflexible design resulted in a lot of manual work for their materials handlers who would forgo even manual carts to carry items from shelves to the line in an effort to increase pick rates. While robotic solutions don't require changes to a site's infrastructure, the promise of new warehouses allowed them to envision a better solution.

“At the last operation, it was a lot of walking. We had to go back and forth from the line to location, line to location. With the new setup, pretty much the line follows you.”

Derek Stone, Inventory Supervisor, DM Fulfillment Services

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Increased Productivity, Morale

After opening their newly designed site in Pennsylvania, DM saw an immediate shift in employee morale, improved productivity, a 38% increase in pick velocity, a marked decrease in employee turnover (reduced to 10%) - which is especially important to them as their business continues to grow.

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The Team with the Right Tools

With a new set of the right tools, DM was able to empower their team. They promoted their longest-tenured, highest-performing associates to more skill-dependent labor to provide value-added services to their customers. Meanwhile, they maintain high performance among their newly-hired fleet of materials handlers.

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Better Visibility, Fewer Mistakes

Derek, the new inventory manager, was the unofficial inventory manager at ‘the old warehouse,’ responding to inventory issues by word-of-mouth. Now, as part of his official supervisory role on the warehouse floor, he can pull a report from 6RS’s exception management console to find and correct inventory issues.

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Investing in the Industry’s Future

Ralph Ortiz joined the team as General Manager shortly after the new warehouse opened its doors. What attracted this leader to the business? The opportunity to work with the future of fulfillment: robotics.

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Ready for Anything

Because of their preparedness to quickly expand, DM can continue to make bullish decisions to grow their business. Most recently, they came to the rescue of small businesses impacted by fulfillment challenges caused by COVID-19.

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Behind the Scenes

Follow Britt, a deployment engineer at 6RS, as she leads the go-live at DM Fulfillment Services’ DC in Carlisle, PA.