DC Profile – Follett Library Resources

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Follett Library Resources (FLR), a division of the $2.5 billion Follett Corporation, is the nation’s largest supplier of books, reference guides, eBooks and audiovisual materials to school libraries. In addition, FLR provides an extensive array of value-added services for their clients, such as the custom application of spine labels, bar codes, magnetic security strips, and mylar book covers as well as electronic and card-based cataloging media and services.

FLR had a robust automated system to transition workflow, but they were reaching capacity in their existing layout, particularly the system to stage outbound orders awaiting completion of their complex value-added services (VAS). That system, affectionately known as T-Recs (for Tote Reconsolidation System) utilized a 64-divert sorter feeding gravity down lines. The T-Recs’ effective capacity was 320 totes, but daily demand was as high as 1,000 totes. Clearly, the T-Recs was headed for extinction.

Moreover, while working to develop a suitable replacement for the T-Recs, a new wrinkle was added to management’s facility and operations planning. A sister company, Book Wholesalers, Inc. (BWI), similar to FLR but serving the public library market, was rapidly exceeding the capacity of its facility in Lexington, Kentucky and absorbing BWI into the existing FLR distribution facility became a major goal of the Follett Corporation.

FLR Senior Vice President, Todd Litzsinger, envisioned a system that would better utilize his facility’s cubic space, improve storage density, and further automate tote and case material handling to drive down labor costs. He selected World Source and their German partner, PSB Intralogistics, to design and install a custom mini-load automatic storage and retrieval system (AS/RS). The 3-crane system was designed to handle 1,500 totes and up to 6,000 cases enabling FLR to utilize the same equipment to replace the T-Recs and a manual pack and hold process. The dual-use configuration was made feasible because the PSB “Optimizer” is uniquely capable of storing multiple carton and tote sizes in a 2-deep configuration on the same shelf. The Optimizer’s ability to store and retrieve loads in/from a standard pallet rack-wire deck platform enhanced the project’s ROI.

FLR’s process vision and commitment to automation, coupled with World Source and PSB’s ability to deliver has:

• Increased tote and carton storage capacity by over 500%.
• Improved storage density and cube utilization opening over 100,000 SF of floor space.
• Reduced labor costs by $1.1 million in the first year.
• Improved ergonomics by reducing manual handling of totes and cartons.
• Increased the physical capacity of the facility to accommodate the BWI consolidation.

For a free operational consultation to illustrate how our world class solutions can boost your warehouse space, improve your throughput and reduce your labor costs please contact Worldsource sales@world-source.com

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