Macy’s, Inc. Case Study

 

The Problem

Macy’s, one of the Nation’s premier omnichannel retailers with 2012 fiscal sales of over $27 billion, was in need of an efficient Garment on Hanger (GOH) solution for their e-commerce distribution center. They needed to address major areas within garment handling, including:

·       Carton to hang (CTH)

·       Static / dynamic storage with a capacity of approximately 250,000 hanging garments

·       Garment returns

Analysis of situation by TGRG

Macy’s required a solution to transfer boxed garments delivered on a conveyor system onto an overhead trolley system. The requirement was to load and connect the trolleys to create trains and then automatically divert the trains into one of three separate zones depending on the products.  Furthermore, a static dynamic stockroom was needed which included 125 walk isles so that garments could be manually moved from trolleys onto SKU specific areas in the static stock rack. Macy’s also required a return area where return items would be unpacked, inspected, refinished (ironed) and repacked. The finished and packed return items needed to be automatically returned back to the static dynamic stock room.

Solution devised by TGRG

TGRG implemented their center hung trolley solution (diamond rail®) with coded trolleys. A floor supported structure in the garment receiving area was used to support a series of switches and rails which divided into 14 operator stations. Each operator station was fed by its own independent empty trolley line. TGRG selected this option to allow operators to manually pull trains of empty trolleys into their station and continue to transfer garments onto trolleys without having to physically add trolleys into the closed loop system. After a train of 16 trolleys was completed and the zone was selected the train was then pushed into TGRG’s Diamond Conveyor, which elevated the trains to allow a gravity rail attached to the end of each booster conveyor to transport the loaded trolleys over a distance of 470’ to the static dynamic storage area. By using a combination of gravity and powered conveyors instead of continuous powered sections, TGRG was able to drastically reduce the cost of the system.  At the end of the gravity section, the trains were automatically separated into individual trolleys to allow the coded trolleys to enter into their zones individually. The trolleys were transported by using TGRG’s power and free conveyor automatically until a pneumatically operated swing switch opened and allowed each trolley to enter into the zone. An operator then reconnected the trolleys into a train with TGRG’s auto-coupling by simply pushing the trolleys together. Empty trolleys were fed onto a reversed gravity rail and automatically returned into the receiving area to be reloaded again. The returns area was equipped with a state of the art tunnel finisher (steamer) as well as an automatic bagger also provided by TGRG.

Description of implementation

All 3 systems were mostly ceiling supported to allow valuable floor space to be used for other equipment. All systems were wired by using a profibus system for quick plug and play type installation which are easy to maintain and modify. TGRG used preassembled control panels to shorten the installation process.

Benefits to the Customer

Macy’s and TGRG have worked together to simplify Macy’s garment handling by conveying trolleys with gravity, allowing for easy modification due to its modular design, and automating their storage process. TGRG’s diamond rail solution resulted in an affordable and efficient GOH system which improved Macy’s overall operations.

 

Model Uniforms Case Study

The Customer

Model Uniforms, a growing company that started as dry cleaners twenty five years ago, diversified into a uniform rental company that now services thousands of customers in a variety of industries across the Northwest and employs over three hundred employees across three different states.

The Problem

Model Uniforms was faced with a problem in that they had limited space available but they still needed to store approximately 25,000 garments. Additionally, they had to be able to sort the garments by customer and route for delivery, on a weekly basis, to drivers located at one of five loading docks.

Analysis of situation by TGRG

Model uniforms needed a solution to store garments overhead and keep their valuable floor space as clear as possible. After analyzing the existing roof structure and static load calculations it became clear that TGRG needed to implement an independent floor supported free standing structure to support the new overhead trolley system.

Solution devised by TGRG

TGRG devised an individualized solution that not only provided overhead storage for 25,000 garments but was able to accomplish this storage through a floor supported super structure which minimized floor obstructions.  Additionally, TGRG provided ergonomic and efficient loading solutions for five loading docks and two independent bidirectional slope conveyors to convey trains of trolleys between the main processing area and the second floor storage area.  Finally, TGRG installed an empty trolley buffer to keep the trolleys on the track and allow unloaded trolleys to be stored overhead until needed.

Description of implementation

TGRG was able to implement their entire garment handling solution during the Customer’s regular operations without interference. By using a pre-fabricated super structure the installation was fast, efficient and, due to the fact that manufacturing, welding, grinding and painting was done offsite, the installation was very clean. TGRG employed its modular trolley system with bolt and plug connections which allows for easy modifications or expansions in the future. All electrical panels as well as PLC programs provided by TGRG were pre-assembled and pre-programmed, needing only to be connected to the buildings main power supply panels. All 480 and 24 volt connections were made on site to all motors, sensors and safety devices. By making pre-assemblies modular the implementation of all components took only a total of four weeks from beginning of the installation to the hand over.

Benefits to the Customer

In a total period of four months’ time, TGRG was able to design and implement a solution for Model Uniforms which simplified garment handling, increased storage capacity within a limited floor space, simplified maintenance, and aided overall efficiency. Furthermore, TGRG’s unique diamond rail overhead conveyor system provided a safe working environment for its operators.  After implementation of TGRG’s solution, Model’s loading process decreased from 8 hours per day down to 4 hours per day, resulting in substantial labor savings for the Company.

 

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