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Meijer Stores Distribution Center Inventory Moves Directly from Dock to Stock

Receiving personnel process incoming stock and deliver it without leaving the fork lift. Positive results include lower handling costs, faster incoming material processing, and less risk of damaged goods.

Meijer distribution centers are processing incoming inventory faster than ever with a new system that keeps incoming stock moving directly from the receiving dock to its stock location by using mobile forklift mounted portable printers and hand held terminals.

As incoming inventory arrives on the receiving dock, it is unloaded onto a forklift. While the goods remain on the forklift, the operator simply keys into the terminal the product and supplier. The terminal is linked by radio frequency (RF) communication to the automated warehouse host computer. Information on the incoming stock is accessed in seconds. A Cognitive Code Courier portable thermal printer then prints a routing ticket indicating the specifici warehouse location at which the material will be stocked. The operator can then proceed directly to the warehouse location to deliver the material.

Meijer chose the Code Courier direct thermal portable printer with mobile mount for several reasons. First, an industrial mobile forklift mount was a requirement. It provides the printer with maximum immunity from shock and vibration and allows easy, complete accessibility to all printer controls and functions. The Code Courier replaced the DataSouth version due to lower cost and better features.

The Code Courier's "clamshell" design allows easy paper loading eliminating the need to remove the printer from the forklift each time paper needs replenishing. They purchase both the forklift units and the battery charger units to allow for other warehouse applications using a similar data stream for easier programming.

The new process has resulted in streamlined incoming stock handling. This is important for several reasons. Previously, dock workers made many trips back and forth to the dock to check in goods and print stock location labels. This involves unloading the materials upon receipt and walking back and forth to a central location to access a PC to determine the stock location. Once the location was determined, a trip to the printer was required to pick up the label and deliver the stock. The new system has resulted in faster handling from receipt of goods to stock delivery. In addition, the stock is handled only once, resulting in a lower risk of damaged goods.