How JTV®, an Omni-channel Retailer, Increased Productivity and Reduced Delivery Time by Utilizing SSI SCHAEFER Automation
Jewelry Television® (JTV) is one of the largest multichannel retailers of jewelry and gemstones in the U.S. appealing to fashion-conscious women, jewelry-making enthusiasts, and private collectors. The privately-held shopping network broadcasts high definition programming, 24/7, to more than 80 million U.S. households. In addition, JTV.com offers the most comprehensive jewelry and gemstone Learning Library on the internet, and is the third largest jewelry website according to Internet Retailer.
JTV prides itself on offering the widest selection of gemstones, settings and accessories. The company has a mission to stay ahead of trends by constantly finding new and innovative products to service customers. Through its multiple channels of client interaction, JTV allows customers to order products around the clock. The combination of increased SKU offerings and customer order growth created an issue for space within the company’s fulfillment center. Pick paths were getting longer and the warehouse’s capacity was being stressed.
With increased growth projections, JTV sought a solutions provider to manage SKU proliferation. The existing warehouse used traditional man-to-goods pick carts and radio frequency (RF) scan technology to batch pick orders. In addition to managing the increase in business, JTV required the return goods processing to be integrated into an overall process as well.
JTV selected SSI SCHAEFER to provide a system that would eventually locate adjacent to an existing distribution center. In the beginning, SSI SCHAEFER was contacted to perform an analysis of the existing processes. The analysis was used to identify tactical improvements for automation. SSI SCHAEFER worked closely with JTV to engineer a process flow model and an IT systems design. The outcome was an optimized system for real-time order fulfillment, increased throughput, and improved space utilization.
The new automated storage and retrieval system includes a processing conveyor and a warehouse control system. It also houses 16 double stacked SSI SCHAEFER Carousel System (SCS) carousels, 4 Goods-to-Person (GTP) stations, and one inbound conveyor. The four GTP stations allow agents to process work efficiently and the new SSI conveyor system moves totes throughout the fulfillment center.
Waveless picking has greatly enhanced our proficiency, and we expect to duplicate the SSI SCHAEFER system as our SKU count and orders continue to grow.
Receiving Returned Product
Packages containing items returned by JTV customers arrive at the receiving dock and are routed to returns processing stations where the packages are opened. All returns are thoroughly inspected by JTV employees. Once inspected, items are placed into a bag, labeled with a SKU number and quantity. Packages containing items returned by JTV customers arrive at the receiving dock and are routed to returns processing stations where the packages are opened. Employees scan the bag of goods to alert the system that new product has arrived—allowing the system to begin retrieving totes for the operator to deposit return product.
Receiving New Product
New product coming directly from vendors are received and placed into storage tubs at the receiving workstation. Employees inform the system of the type and quantity of product in each compartment. Once full, the tote is staged for induction directly into the SCS.
The Picking Process
Customer orders continuously drop into the SSI SCHAEFER system from the host system—already optimized through the use of waveless picking. Storage tubs are retrieved from the ASRS system and delivered to the GTP station to begin picking. Single piece orders are grouped together and picked into a single order tote at the GTP station. Once full, the single piece tote is sent to the packing area. All multi-piece orders are grouped into order totes based on the available cubbies located at order consolidation stations.
Up to 55 multi-line orders can be picked into a single tote, allowing each workstation to process up to 330 multi-piece orders. During the picking process, the system anticipates the next group of orders for processing based on the active order pool and current active orders. If a product is required for both an active order and an order soon to be released, the operator is directed to pick the piece to the order tote and stage the order tub in a sequencer adjacent to the workstation. This waveless picking capability allows quick delivery of the tote to the workstation when needed and allows the picker to remain efficient. Once all units for multi-piece orders are in the order tote, the tote is transported to the order consolidation station for final processing.
The Consolidation Station
To ensure a smooth transition from JTV’s existing man-to-goods RF picking system into the new SSI SCHAEFER waveless picking system, a seamless integration to JTV’s existing system was provided. This integration supports the transfer of order totes to JTV’s existing system and back so items picked from the SSI SCHAEFER system are combined with items not yet inducted into the SCS. This replenishment approach was very effective during the initial product-loading phase. It continues to be useful as a means to pick slow moving product from traditional shelving, while enjoying the benefits of the SSI SCHAEFER solution and leveraging the consolidation stations. While at the consolidation station, the operator scans each piece inside the order tote to notify the system what has been selected. The operator then places the unit into the illuminated put wall cubby and continues the process until all pieces in the order tote have been placed in the wall. This procedure consolidates orders and provides JTV the ability to verify outbound orders at a rate of 100 percent. Once the full order is contained in the cubby, the operator places the product into a shipping tub for transport to the packing stations.
At the pack station, the operator places the product into a shipping container, inserts marketing literature, seals the container and places a shipping label on it for identification purposes.
Additionally, the system utilizes GTP stations to consolidate products across storage tubs. During a non-picking shift, storage tubs that do not meet the threshold for fill rate, are retrieved and sent to the goods-in workstation. Totes arrive and operators are directed to select product from the donor storage tub and place into an adjacent recipient storage tub either directly from tote to tote or by utilizing the cubbies at the GTP station. The end result is a system with an optimal storage tub filling rate and empty storage tubs available for goods-in
- Improved productivity of operators with higher volumes
- Optimized space utilization of facility
- Streamlined IT processes with enhanced customer visibility
- Flexible growth strategy
- Ergonomic picking with use of Goods-to-Person station and Pick-By-Light functionality
The SSI SCHAEFER solution developed for JTV offers a platform to fully integrate a multi-channel fulfillment strategy, while providing customers up-to-date information during order processing. The system delivers capabilities to meet ever-changing customer demands while optimizing the value to process the orders.
By improving space utilization within the facility through automation, JTV can continue to grow product offerings and provide world-class customer service.
- Building Size: 100,000 sq. ft.
- System Size: 50,000 sq. ft.
- SKU Count: 85,000
- Peak Time: 45K Lines, 48K Pieces
- Working Hours: 7 days
- Number of Shifts: 3/day
- Conveying System: Goods-In stations and picking conveyor
- Storage Systems: 16 Double Stacked SCS
- Picking Systems: 4 GTP stations
- Handling Systems: Tote Stacker
- Software Solution: SSI SCHAEFER Warehouse Control System (WCS)
- Transport Units: 600mm x 400mm totes
- Shift Splits: Receiving/Returns/Consolidation and Picking