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Smart & Final Stores, LLC and supply chain optimization software innovator and provider Optricity highlighted the benefits the grocer experienced from the deployment of Opricity’s slotting technology at the annual Warehousing Education and Resource Council (WERC) Conference in Anaheim, Calif., earlier this week.
Called OptiSlot DC, the software uses combinatorial mathematics to produce purely deterministic optimal slotting solutions for dynamic warehousing environments. Using the system, Smart & Final completed a reslot that improved productivity in a distribution center, yielded significant labor savings at stores and boosted associate morale.
“We evaluated a number of options, but we particularly liked the OptiSlot features related to slot move execution and ability to labor plan and control workload,” said Tom Paolucci, director of distribution for Los Angeles-based Smart & Final.
The Smart & Final DC reslot was completed in one weekend with no significant impact to customers. Labor savings for product slotted in the DC by store aisle/section showed a 15 to 20 minute savings in store processing per load, which equated to an annual savings of $300,000 for stores, according to the retailer. Furthermore, the reslot realized a 2 percent to 3 percent improvement in DC selecting productivity, which equates to over $100,000 per year in labor savings.
Smart & Final also worked with Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based Optricity to reconfigure the placement and direction of case-flow racks and pick-path sequence to reduce over 10 percent of the total travel from the pick path. Tangentially, working with OptiSlot allowed for the creation of a separate pick path for caustic items, thereby isolating them from edibles.
Although Smart & Final’s original objective was simply DC optimization, OptiSlot’s capabilities eventually lead the retailer to expand its goals to include reducing store labor by grouping product in the DC; improving store efficiency without negatively affecting the DC; improving slotting in relation to safety, ergonomic and associate concerns; and developing an ongoing slotting maintenance program, all of which were satisfied by the completion of the project.
Smart & Final operates around 300 non-membership warehouse stores for food and foodservice supplies in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and northern Mexico.