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Healthcare

A sure way to get the most out of your warehouse

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Learn how one company nearly doubled its fulfillment, increased storage space and significantly reduced time spent on shipping tasks.

Every smile makes you a day younger, says a Chinese proverb, but nothing can wipe the smile off your face – or age you quicker – than a warehouse layout and process redesign. Unless, of course, you collaborate with a logistics expert on the project.

A warehouse redesign increased Ivoclar Vivadent's fulfillment from 880 orders per day to 1,500 orders per day; improved storage capacity by 15 percent; and reduced dock-to-stock time from four days to one.

"You wonder if it's going to be worth it," says Jon Nyitrai, warehouse manager at Ivoclar Vivadent, a global leader in dental products and systems. "All the anxiety is in the front end of the project, gathering information and drilling down to give UPS a lot of information. But when you're done, it's worth it tenfold."

Particularly when the warehouse redesign increases your fulfillment from 880 orders per day to 1,500 orders per day; improves your storage capacity by 15 percent (or more than 100 pallets); and reduces your dock-to-stock time from four days to one.

Optimizing the space
Founded in Zurich in 1923, Ivoclar Vivadent, now based in Schaan, Liechtenstein, serves dentists and dental technicians in 120 countries. In 2009, the company's North American operation in Amherst, N.Y., approached UPS for help optimizing the shipping area layout in its 24,000-square-foot warehouse. That initial project yielded efficiencies, so when in 2011 Ivoclar Vivadent was adding 21,000 square feet to its warehouse, the company turned to UPS again.

The company needed to redesign the warehouse layout to merge the old space with the new while keeping 5,000 square feet dedicated to a production area. The new goal was to process at least 1,500 orders per day with the ability to expand further with its current growth rate.

"We were given a blank sheet of paper, and it was up to us to design, with UPS, a warehouse that could store, pick, pack and ship product efficiently," recalls John Nelson, Ivoclar's fulfillment manager.

A project team comprising four Ivoclar Vivadent employees and two UPS consultants, Eilert Bonk and Chuck Unger, was formed. According to Joe Burngasser, the Ivoclar Vivadent IT manager on the team, "You need to have the right people on the team. You need someone like UPS – with that kind of knowledge – to come and help you with this type of project."

Collaboration leads to success
The UPS consultants worked on-site for two weeks. "We provided them with a ton of info [e.g., historical data related to warehouse processes]," recalls Rich Cracchiolo, Ivoclar Vivadent's logistics manager. "They took it and analyzed it and came back to us with recommendations. They created an AutoCAD diagram of the space, which had suggestions on racking, etc. That was the footprint, and we have fine-tuned that right through the process."

Some UPS recommendations were simple. For example, one idea involved turning the racking 90 degrees. By doing so, more physical space was generated and more racks were added. "We picked up about 144 pick locations out of the blue," Nyitrai says.

Other recommendations involved technology. UPS suggested replacing a manual checkpoint with a scanner and replacing a single printer with multiple printers so that a customer's order could be taken off the printer in the appropriate area – rather than at a printer in a remote spot of the large warehouse. These steps "helped decrease the time an order is picked to the time it is packed and shipped," Nelson says.

The result has been an incredibly efficient warehouse redesign.

"We were able to absorb all the raw materials in our manufacturing process in one end of our warehouse," Nelson says. "Then we're able to pick that product flow on the outbound without conflicting with the production or inbound processes."

If your warehouse is in need of a redesign, UPS can help customize a solution that's right for you.

Photo above, from left: Ivoclar Vivadent's dental dynamos Mark Utzig, Mike Cammarano, Joe Burngasser, Jon Nyitrai and John Nelson teamed with UPS to transform Ivoclar Vivadent's warehouse logistics.  

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