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LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y, -- Online grocer Fresh Direct, LLC, is deploying simulation modeling software and services to help build and improve operations efficiency within its 300,000 sq. ft. facility here.
Fresh Direct will utilize simulation modeling software, provided by San Diego, Calif.-based Automation Associates, Inc. (AAI), to analyze and update its order fulfillment system.
Fresh Direct originally employed AAI in 2000 to develop a detailed simulation model of order picking, processing, packing, and shipping systems and equipment to validate its facility and operations model, enabling the retailer to present a "proven" concept to potential investors and acquire initial funding prior to launching operations. Due to this earlier success with simulation, Fresh Direct has again partnered with AAI to update the facility model and evaluate and improve operations; the new model will test the validity of several proposals to upgrade equipment and processes, as well as increased throughput capability.
"It made sense for us to turn to a proven technique after experiencing first-hand the benefits of simulation when building a streamlined operations facility," explained Jason Ackerman, vice chairman and chief financial officer of Fresh Direct. "We have since made simulation an essential part of our planning process, and we're confident that AAI's expertise will help us get to our current goal of predictable expansion requirements."
The new project, according to AAI, will enable Fresh Direct to determine the ultimate capacity of its current facility and establish metrics that will signal need for a second location. With its simulation software, AAI will assist Fresh Direct with detailed performance analysis for the facility design, including all internal product movement, sorting, packing, and shipping equipment and activities.