For more than 30 years, Classic Distributing & Beverage Group Inc. has served as the beverage distributor for the Greater Los Angeles area. Supported by a 250,000-square-foot warehouse, the company distributes a wide selection of imported brands, craft beers, non-alcoholic beverages and waters. The company also ensures seamless distribution of its beverages to high-profile sporting events at locations such as Dodger Stadium and STAPLES Center.
One of the biggest challenges Classic Distributing faced was reducing the time spent pulling orders for distribution. Its warehouse uses voice picking, a paperless order-picking solution designed to keep the operator’s hands and eyes free to make order picking more efficient. However, even with voice picking, the company realized their operators were spending an increased amount of “lost” time while operators got on and off their forklifts during the order-picking process.
Working with its local Jungheinrich® dealer, Classic Distributing agreed to evaluate the Jungheinrich EKS 110 low-level order picker, which would be used to retrieve their warehouse orders.
“The Jungheinrich EKS 110 order picker stood out the most because of the equipment’s footprint,” says Alex Hernandez, manager of distribution and IT at Classic Distributing. “The order picker is the perfect size to maneuver orders easily through the pick line. It fit our operation with the perfect ease.”
Soon after implementing 15 Jungheinrich order pickers into its facility, Classic Distributing noticed improved performance – with an increase in pick rates from 17% to 22%. The order picker uses precise, responsive three-phase AC technology, allowing for extended run times – resulting in considerably fewer battery charges and greater up-time than the previous product used.
“The increased battery life has been essential to our productivity,” says Dan Chilson, fleet and facility manager for Classic Distributing. “Our operators are more efficient when they aren’t having to stop and charge the battery. In turn, they are able to pick more per hour.”
The EKS 110 order picker, with lift heights up to 181 inches, is designed to extend the operator’s accessible pick positions beyond the floor level to provide access to more product SKUs. Unique to Jungheinrich’s product line, this is a lower cost alternative to a high-level order picker when picking is limited to the first few levels of racking.
“The Jungheinrich EKS’s lift height played a huge part in our warehouse efficiency,” Hernandez says. “The fact that the order picker can reach various heights is instrumental during the order-picking process.”
The optional premium drive and lift external controls also benefit Classic Distributing’s operators, allowing them to advance the truck and lift the pallet to a comfortable picking height.
“The operators appreciate the jog button feature that advances the truck forward,” Chilson says. “This feature also prevents operator fatigue as our employees are not having to constantly get on and off the machine.”
“We’ve heard very positive feedback about Jungheinrich from our operators,” Hernandez says. “In fact, we’ve recommended the product to other distributors.”