Wedding (registry) bells are ringing

Well-known retail chain speeds up store replenishment with 6RS’ collaborative robotics solution

Global home goods retailer streamlines omnichannel fulfillment

It’s wedding season. Two words sum up this time of year for Paul, a Supply Chain SVP of a global home goods retailer: stock up. It’s time for wedding registry sales. Pretty soon, patrons will be flocking to Paul’s home goods retail store locations in search of everything on their bride’s wish list. Best-sellers will be flying off the shelves, and Paul needs to make sure he’s prepared.

Trouble in paradise: Store replenishment roadblocks

Paul’s fleet of stores carry all the wedding registry best-sellers: top dinnerware, flatware, drinkware and cookware. There’s just one tiny problem: best-sellers are always in demand. Promos and markdowns intensify this demand. In a nutshell, store replenishment at Paul’s warehouse is a logistical nightmare.

For most companies, formalized store replenishment processes are an afterthought, taking a backseat to e-commerce. That was the case here. With e-commerce driving most of Paul’s business’ fulfillment needs, he could only dedicate a handful of resources to store replenishment.

Paul faced the following issues:

Doing more with less: The talent shortage in warehousing made Paul’s job of making sure that all his locations are replenished regularly very difficult. He faces constant turnover. He needed to think bigger about how to solve this problem.

Making expensive mistakes. Each store invoices Paul’s warehouse for goods, but he constantly fields complaints from stores about incorrect orders. Every time a store gets more than it ordered, store managers have to foot the overages. The result: A lot of annoyed store managers. And when he orders something for his customer that doesn't show up in time for a big event, it creates a real customer service crisis.

New hire training: With new hires constantly moving in and out of positions at the warehouse, Paul needed to find a way to train new hires in days, not weeks. Manual carts just weren’t cutting it.

A better way to automate

Paul considered a few different solutions before saying ‘yes’ to 6 River Systems and its mobile robot Chuck. He evaluated a goods-to-person shuttle system, but realized it was too costly: with a nearly 12-month setup, six-year payback and eight-figure up-front cost, Paul couldn’t stomach it. He needed a flexible automation solution that would get to work fast.

Paul chose 6 River Systems (6RS) and its mobile robots Chuck because:

  • 6RS guaranteed a 62% increase units picked per hour from 250 to 407.
  • 6RS would be deployed in 4 weeks.
  • 6RS would cost a fraction of the price of traditional automation.

Tying the knot with 6 River Systems: How Chuck works

Image

Chuck

Image

Chuck is a turn-key, drop-in replacement for cart picking. Chucks communicate directly with the Collaborative Fulfillment System (CFS), a scalable, cloud-based server that coordinates all work on the floor. The CFS integrates to the site’s existing Warehouse Management System (WMS) so that Chuck can be used throughout the warehouse.

Once the associate badges in, Chuck leads them, showing important task information — item image, description, quantity, location, etc. - on a display the size of a tablet. This keeps associates on task, spending less time searching for items. Chuck lights up to indicate which side of the aisle to pick from and which order container to place the item into.

Chuck’s high-powered, mounted scanner captures all necessary product information, including real-time validation of lot and serial number, in a single scan — allowing operators to pick hands-free. Work is prioritized by the system and assigned to associates through intelligent algorithms that maximize productivity and utilization — like Google Maps for your warehouse.

A three-month snapshot

In just three months, this home goods retailer saw double-digit increases in pick rates with Chuck and 6 River Systems:

62% increase in pick rates

6RS exceeded its target UPH improvement for the site.

UNITS PER HOUR
(UPH)

250 UPH


Target UPH

357 UPH


Actual UPH

407 UPH


Improvement

62%

In addition to increasing its rates, this home goods retailer saw some added benefits to using Chuck and 6 River Systems:

Errors (and complaints) decreased

Prior to 6 River Systems, this site used manual carts for store replenishment. But with manual carts and barebones staff, errors constantly cropped up: in some cases stores would get more stock shipped than they ordered, and would be overcharged for goods. With 6 River Systems and Chuck, this home goods retailer was able to ensure greater accuracy in ordering, which led to fewer mispicks and happier store managers.

Faster onboarding

Prior to 6 River Systems, onboarding new hires would take days. With Chuck, new hires were out on the floor in a matter of minutes.

Why is onboarding with 6RS so easy?

It’s because Chuck:

Image

Meets associates and leads them through the picking process, directing them to sequential pick locations in an optimized manner. This eliminates the need to memorize layouts and paces them through their work.


Image

Displays a picture of the item to be picked, quantity and the pick location during transition between tasks. This significantly improves rates.


Image

Once a pick is confirmed using a high-precision image scanner, Chuck uses lights to indicate which container to place the item into, improving accuracy. He instantly guides the associate to the next task.


Image

Provides the associate context-specific reason codes in the case of exceptions (e.g. shortage or damage) via a large touch screen display, which keeps them on task.

Want to learn more about how 6RS can improve your warehouse operations?
Contact us at 1-866-60-CHUCK to schedule a 30-minute introductory meeting and demonstration.