Fairrington, USA

Fairrington provides innovative logistics and distribution solutions for the publishing industry and the direct marketing divisions of the retail, banking, healthcare, telecommunications and insurance industries.

With 600,000 square feet of warehouse space between suburban Chicago and Central New Jersey, the company provides service to every major metropolitan area in the United States daily, delivering 50,000 pallets each week. From on-line tracking to fully automated sorting systems for periodicals and Standard Mail, to JIT and warehousing to customized supply chain solutions – Fairrington Delivers.

The challenge

Fairrington is an innovator in a logistics process called copalletization. Co-palletization is the process of combining addressed, presorted mail from different sources into pallet-sized drop-shipments. With Co-Pal, mailers can move more pieces deeper into the mail stream and realize destination discounts. The advantages for periodical mailers include a decrease in container charges and the ability to reduce zone and editorial pound charges by entering at the Area Distribution Center (ADC) and Sectional Center Facility (SCF) level. The advantage for Standard A mailers includes the migration of pieces from origin entry (and hence no entry discount) to NDC (Network Distribution Center) and SCF pallets with the corresponding entry discounts. In both cases in-home delivery is improved.

The solution

To support the co-palletization strategy, Fairrington partnered with Dematic, a warehouse logistics engineering firm, to design and implement a system solution that could convey and sort mail for co-palletizing. Fairrington deployed two identical Dematic convey and sort systems; one is located in Illinois and the other is located in New Jersey.

The system configuration consists of accumulation and transportation conveyor, bar code scan tunnel, automatic label print and apply module, 9 sorters with two-way transfer, and 18 accumulation conveyor lanes prior to palletizing. The system is engineered to accommodate both trays and bundles of magazines. Operators manually de-palletize trays or bundles of addressed, pre-sorted mail onto the conveyor system. Each tray or bundle flows through the scan tunnel. The system controls process each scan as the load indexes into the automatic label print and apply module where a new human readable label is placed on each load. The controls assign each load to a destination. The trays and bundles flow on the conveyor to the assigned sort point and automatically diverts left or right. Each tray and bundle is placed on a pallet.

The results

The entire convey, scan, label and sort process accommodates fast, accurate, reliable and efficient building of co-palletized loads. The conveyor network is quiet operating thereby providing a more comfortable workplace for the staff. The modular system design allows operational flexibility along with the ability to expand and change the layout. The system supports Fairrington’s processing requirements for 11 shifts per week. Typical productivity is 12,000 trays or 18,000 bundles per shift. Accurate sorting and processing speed combined with robust system performance allows Fairrington to successfully support their co-palletization service while supporting the overall company on-time delivery rate that runs at over 96%. Fairrington customers get increased postal discounts, improved home delivery of mail, piece tracking to destination, and opportunities to consolidate multi-cell mailings to hit USPS on the same pallet at the same time.

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