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Reconstructing 15-year-old facility to the latest equipment while continuing operations
Heiwado Corporation is a supermarket chain that is headquartered in Shiga. With a company philosophy of “contributing to local societies,” Heiwado wants to accelerate growth and become the top supermarket for the Keihanshin, Tokai, and Hokuriku areas, as well as for Shiga. Currently, the company runs 130 stores including 71 in Shiga, 14 in Kyoto, and 10 in Aichi.
In February 2010, Heiwado renovated its main distribution site “Taga Distribution Center.” The company fully upgraded its sorting system, which functions as the core of its material handling systems, to improve throughput and stabilize operations.
The number of stores nearly doubled since the center start 15 years ago
In 1995, Taga Distribution Center started operation year-round as a multi-functional distribution site featuring the latest sorting system. The center handled cross-docked items including clothes and stock items, as well as processed foods retrieved from an adjacent warehouse. Orders received by 12 p.m. were generally delivered to a store that same evening by delivery trucks. Same-day deliveries became part of the center’s core functions.
Since the center started operating, the number of stores in the distribution area nearly doubled. As a result, the sorting throughput was no longer sufficient during busy periods, which caused delivery delays. Additionally, it became difficult to find maintenance parts for the 15-year-old facility. Heiwado considered many improvement options, including constructing a new building. The company evaluated the merit of replacing the sorting system with the latest model “Surfing Sorter” without suspending operations.
Renovation without stopping operations
- 1.New sorter is installed above the old sorter in advance
- 2.Chutes are changed over to new sorter one side by one side while controlling sorting route
- 1.Sorting throughput capacity improved
- 2.Additional chutes provided for increased stores
- 3.Stable operation secured with new machine
Compared to the previous sorter, the new Surfing Sorter's throughput capacity was increased up to 1.5 times, which ensured on-time deliveries and efficient store management. In addition, sorting work of bargain items that was done manually in previous system is now partially taken over by the sorter. As result, workers' overtime hours is now reduced. Furthermore, the number of chutes was increased from 31 to 39 to accommodate additional stores in the future.
Department Manager, Distribution Business
The renovation, including pre-construction, was completed in two months without suspending operations because the systems were assembled and tested in advance at Daifuku’s Shiga Works. During the renovation period, there were neither troubles in the distribution operations, nor claims from the stores. We continued to provide accurate and prompt product deliveries.