Crisplant, a leading global supplier of automated material handling systems – has been awarded a contract by Australian family apparel retailer Best & Less, to supply an automatic cross docking sorting solution for its new distribution centre located in Eastern Creek, Sydney.
The need for Best & Less to change from manual to automatic sorting with highly optimised workflow processes came as the company prepares to handle future growth. The system is built around Crisplant’s low-energy LS-4000CB Cross-Belt sorter, controlled and supervised by a CSC Sorter Control system and featuring a user-friendly interface from the Crisplant software suite. Crisplant was chosen as the supplier because it could provide the best and most cost-efficient system configuration, having a flexible and upgradeable design, which included the company’s new and innovative ‘green’ sorter technology.
To consolidate and cope with its growing business, Best & Less constructed a purpose-built Distribution Centre to warehouse items for all its stores. The new building and Crisplant’s sorter have both been designed for future expansion. The current sorter design level has a capacity of more than 10,000 items/hour and future expansion of the sortation system can easily be implemented by adding more induction lines and also upgrading the sorter speed.
When designing the new sorting system, one of the main challenges for Crisplant was to solve a well-known warehouse challenge – the internal storage, transport and sorting of items with the minimum of handling. Best & Less’ Distribution Centre primarily handles full carton orders for their own stores and the Crisplant sorter design includes the cross-docking of these items as well as the ability to handle future split carton items for store replenishment. The new sorter also helps improve internal transport and all operator stations are designed to optimise a safe and ergonomic working environment. Sort Chutes were developed in cooperation between Crisplant and Best & Less to find the exact solution to fit ergonomic as well as operational needs. The prototype was tested and adjusted by Best & Less employees before being put into production.
The project is scheduled for completion in October 2011.