CINCINNATI -- Kroger here has completed the first phase in the deployment of a new Dynamic Picking System (DPS) for piece-pick operations in its Southeastern distribution center.
The announcement was made last week by Witron Integrated Logistics, Arlington, Heights, Ill., supplier of the system. Kroger's DPS system, which began servicing stores Aug. 8, is the first of its kind in the U. S., said Witron.
DPS is being used by retailers in Europe such as Delhaize in Belgium, which has built a $23 million DC including DPS (see SN, May 17, 2004, Page 55).
"This facility is truly a 'state of the art' operation delivering significantly improved performance and quality improvements to our stores and customers," said Kroger in a statement. "This technology enabled us to retrofit an existing building with a highly efficient piece-pick operation." Kroger declined to comment further.
While it did not identify the exact location of the distribution center, Kroger's Southeastern DC is based in Atlanta, according to documents obtained online.
DPS is typically used by retailers to handle piece-picking of slow-moving items like health and beauty care, candy, cigarettes and other products that can be placed in totes for delivery to stores. Kroger did not identify the goods it will pick with DPS.
The DPS system, which is linked to a DC's warehouse management system, uses an automated storage and retrieval system that brings totes containing slow-moving items out of storage via stacker cranes and places them at a picking station. This reduces the number of pick slots and the distance pickers need to walk to pick items.
Kroger has now embarked on phase two of the DPS deployment as its DC continues to convert its entire piece-pick operation, said Witron. In the first phase, Kroger installed an integrated conveyor network, 16 stacker cranes, 70 picking workstations, two order-consolidation buffers and 175,000 tote locations, said Witron.
Some of the benefits expected from the system include a reduction in footprint and direct-labor requirements, up to a 75% reduction in pick path, and more store-friendly shipping, according to Witron.