Grocery Distribution Leader Gets “Smart & Final” Answer for Maximizing Use of Freezer Space
After 128 years of superior service, growth and success in the wholesale grocery industry, you can bet Smart & Final knows a good thing when they see it. When corporate decided it was time to revamp their existing Port Stockton Foods distribution warehouse in Northern California, Smart & Final management turned to Span-Track by UNEX for carton flow.
Span-Track was already being used in small quantities with great success at Smart & Final’s Los Angeles facility and in their deli operation at their Miami facility. With Port Stockton’s approximately 2800 items stocked in the freezer area and a total SKU count of about 12,000, space was at a premium. According to Bob Glinka, Smart & Final’s Manager/Industrial Engineer, something had to bedone and quickly. “We had far more items than pick slots. Our only alternative was to go vertical. Instead of picking off pallets and putting the pallets in the air, we decided to put case flow in the air and make them fixed locations.”
“We went floor to ceiling with the intention of increasing pick facings.” Glinka aid. “It worked so well on the floor we decided to try it in the air and it worked great. Now we just receive the product, put it on an order picker and stock just like you would a hand-stocked shelf. It’s allowed us to get more facing into the freezer without doing a major overhaul.” Glinka points to Span-Track’s ease of use a key benefit. “Hands down, Span-Track beats conventional flow lanes with the plastic wheels and the clips and the dividers,” Glinka said.
“One of the main reasons we went with Span-Track was that one person can basically change a bay out in fifteen to twenty minutes, when it would normally take two people the better part of a day to reconfigure and re-slot a bay of conventional case flow lanes.” Another reason for utilizing Span-Track was low maintenance.
“We had 60 to 90 bays of plastic wheel flow lanes in Miami and 40-50 bays in Commerce. They’re just a maintenance nightmare keeping them repaired,” Glinka said. “We don’t have to make any repairs to Span-Track.”
“Once we started using the product, we decided not to even look at anything else. As far as I’m concerned it’s the best case flow product out there.”
At the onset, Glinka received input from the selectors and fork lift operators through a series of committee meetings. The meetings were designed to find the best solutions to any problems plaguing the facility. Both management and the workers agreed Span-Track would alleviate the rotating slots nightmare. Glinka said, “The workers loved Span-Track because the product was always at the pick face.” Another benefit Glinka pointed out was that “Span-Track is flexible and user-friendly. It’s very easily interchangeable.” This allows Smart & Final to match Span-Track with the product going into a particular slot. Even large boxes like bread products, which typically exceed 24” in width are easily slotted by putting two sections of track side by side. Plus, because Span-Track loads from the back, you always have strict rotation of your product.
Smart & Final
Smart & Final, with headquarters in Commerce, California, stocks over 11,000 different grocery items, from canned foods and deli items to restaurant and janitorial supplies.They operate 218 stores in California, Arizona, Neveda,Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Florida and Mexico, in addition to two large food service distribution businesses in Florida and Northern California.
UNEX Manufacturing, Inc.
Located In Jackson, New Jersey, UNEX is a major manufacturer of carton flow products, including Span-Track,the original “shelfless” carton flow track. With its ease of installation in ANY pallet rack, its superior flow and its rugged design, Span-Track is “Setting the Standard in Carton Flow.”