Auto Parts Distributor, Subaru of New England, Increases Storage Efficiency with VLMs

Case Summary

9 VLMs with put to light picking systems, allow auto parts distributor to increase storage and achieve throughput rates of 1,600 lines a day.

Subaru of New England, an auto parts distributor, was moving into a new, larger facility and wanted to update its storage system to address problems of inefficiency, wasted floor space, and ergonomic risks to its workers. By installing nine Modula vertical lift modules, the distributor greatly enhanced throughput, ensuring orders are fulfilled promptly and accurately while reducing floor-space requirements and enhancing conditions for its workers.

Increasing throughput and accuracy in their automotive distributor center, while enhancing worker safety and parts storage

Subaru of New England serves 64 Subaru dealers in the region, storing thousands of parts for the brand and shipping them to dealers as requested. The dealers order parts daily to be delivered the following morning. Executing this requirement was difficult due to an inefficient horizontal carousel system that not only consumed a great deal of floor space, but also presented safety risks to workers as they accessed parts by climbing ladders to reach high shelves. Picking accuracy suffered because workers had to search within the carousels to find the required parts and walk long distances to retrieve the items needed.

When the Subaru of New England built a new 165,000 square-foot facility to replace their previous 55,000-square-foot facility, they decided to overhaul their automated storage system.

The Solution

Installing 9 Modula vertical lift modules with an automotive parts put to light picking system

Modula was selected to help devise a solution. Subaru of New England acquired nine vertical lift modules to help them store their parts in 11,000 unique, computer-tracked storage locations. In total, the VLMs provide 10,228 of cubic feet and 17,722 of square feet of storage – all on a footprint of a mere 958 square feet. This allows Subaru of New England to use more space for other purposes.

With three pods of three VLMs and a put-to-light batch order picking system, Subaru of New England can process up to 60 orders at a time. Their picking rates are in excess of 1,600 lines per day.

And because Modula VLMs are designed to bring the parts to the operators where they stand and at an ergonomically correct position, the risks to workers posed by the horizontal carousel systems have been eliminated.

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