Other World Computing, USA

Users of Apple computers that want to make their Mac faster, or add a solid state drive, external storage, more memory, and want to acquire accessories for their iPod, iPhone, or iPad, like to shop at the Other World Computing online store macsales.com.

OWC has been serving technology users for 24 years and now operates a modern distribution warehouse with an efficient order fulfillment system, all powered with electricity generated from an on-site wind turbine. OWC was the first technology manufacturer with a distribution warehouse in the US to become 100% on-site wind powered. This innovative green thinking supports OWC’s business philosophy, which revolves around getting the most from existing resources.

Our solution

An existing order fulfillment configuration was not providing the required results for OWC, so a new design was developed and implemented by Dematic. According to Ryan O’Connor, Operations & Logistics Manager with OWC, “The solution development engineering process, offered by Dematic, was particularly insightful as the Dematic design was ideal for our situation”. The new system is engineered to accommodate one million customer orders per year and is designed for expansion as order processing volume increases.

OWC ships orders to over 100 countries, with a majority going to customers in the United States. A batch of customer orders received from the website or via telephone sales is downloaded to the order fulfillment system every 20 minutes on average. Warehouse staff performs discrete order picking using plastic totes to gather the items with one tote per order. Typical orders contain 1-3 line items which equates to about 3-5 pieces. There are in excess of 2000 active SKUs available in the inventory; each item is labeled with a unique bar code. When an order is picked complete, it is delivered to one of nine pack stations where each item is scanned as it is packed. 

The results

Technology users, especially Apple product owners, are part of a culture that expects high levels of performance, and OWC supports this expectation at every level including the pick, pack, and ship system. From order accuracy to order processing speed and sustainable practices, the system engineering at the OWC operation meets the challenge. Order accuracy is measured to be at 99.99%. 

Validated customer orders with available stock, ship the same day as the order is received. The system footprint is compact and is reduced in size compared to the previous configuration. Order fulfillment capacity has increased by 50%. Using energy efficient conveyor technology, the electricity required by the convey and sort system has decreased by 40%. Furthermore, the conveyor system provides quiet operation making the environment more comfortable for the warehouse staff. The pack and sort subsystem is modular and scalable; it is designed for fast and easy expansion as future growth is predicted to be robust at OWC.

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