Mouser Electronics has been leading the way in the use of state-of-the-art automation to keep its sprawling global distribution center humming and its hundreds of thousands of global customers supplied with the right products at the right time.
“Advances in automation are having a transformative effect on many areas of industry, and warehousing and logistics are certainly no exception,” says Pete Shopp, Mouser Electronics’ Senior Vice President of Business Operations. “Across a broad range of activities such as picking, packing, and loading pallets, robotics is greatly enhancing our operations. Assisted by IoT technologies, wireless systems and digital tablets, our 1,000-plus warehouse employees are working more efficiently now than ever.”
Shopp says more advancements are underway with the recent completion of a massive new 125,000 square-foot addition to the distribution center. Mouser also has several I-Pack machines, a sophisticated automated packing and boxing system that can process up to 14 orders per minute, and is currently adding the OPEX Perfect Pick system.
“Because we deliver single quantities of components, we will always rely on employees for the special handling that those small orders require. Our adoption of start-of-the-art automation acts primarily as a means of boosting efficiency, productivity, accuracy and speed,” says Shopp. “These new systems can also be a positive driver of more sustainable operations and improved customer satisfaction, too. As sensing and robotics technology improves, we will see even better automation to allow us to work smarter.”
Mouser’s massive automation in distribution center, located on the 78-acre campus of its corporate headquarters in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, handles a vast inventory of more than 1 million unique SKUs for products from over 1,100 manufacturer brands. Processing tens of thousands of orders weekly, most within 15 minutes, and combined with a strong commitment to customer service, Mouser employees are handling the technological advancements with great success, Shopp says.
In recent years, the distributor has made substantial investments in state-of-the-art automated equipment to process orders with exceptional efficiency and accuracy. Today Mouser employees operate 55 vertical lift modules (VLMs), the most at any company in all of North America. VLMs — essentially giant vertical filing cabinets, complete with shelves and an automated elevator — store tens of thousands of electronic components. The VLMs deliver the parts directly to the employee workstation, vastly increasing efficiency and floor space.