Global 3PL Picks Apex Solution to Beat Rising Costs | Apex Project Spotlight

Order Processing Solutions - Apex Warehouse Systems

Joliet, IL is the fastest-growing city in the Midwest and the 12th fastest growing city in the U.S. among cities of more than 100,000 people. Joliet is also the home of a bustling distribution center for a major Global 3PL. Rising labor costs and the need to increase throughput motivated this customer to seek new storage and picking solutions to meet anticipated processing goals. The Apex team delivered – with a simple, cost-effective reconfiguration that more than doubled daily order picking capacity while decreasing annual labor costs by 20%.


Project Specs:

Pick Area

Order Processing Solutions - Apex Warehouse Systems
                                                 Carton Flow with Tilt Trays
  • Carton Flow:
    • Converted full pallet to carton flow
    • Gained 1200 pick locations for fastest movers
  • Industrial Shelving for slower-moving SKUs:
    • Widened aisles from 3’ to 7’
    • Extended shelving runs
    • Converted item picking to full order picking with mobile cart
    • Designed for two-way picking to increase efficiency

Pallet Storage

  • Converted 192 full pallet positions into carton flow
  • Added full pallet storage above carton flow rack & shelving to maximize vertical cube space

 Warehouse Safety

  • Installed safety netting above the pick area to protect workers from reserve pallet inventory stored above.


Increase Pick Rates – Decrease Labor Costs – Optimize Existing Space

Order Processing Solutions - Apex Warehouse Systems
                                                                    Shelf Bin Storage

The main component of the plan was to create a high-speed pick and pack operation centered around carton flow storage. Carton flow is a cost-effective gravity flow storage system ideal for moderate to fast-moving SKUs picked by case, carton or individual item. It is simple to use and has several features to help workers improve pick rates particularly over static storage solutions. Apex added tilt trays to the carton flow which improves ergonomic positioning and helps workers identify SKUs more quickly and accurately.

Apex also relocated existing industrial shelving to the new pick line area for slower-moving SKUs. The new layout created long and wider aisle space (from 3‘ to 7‘) to allow for multiple order pickers and carts to work simultaneously.

Lastly, Apex reconfigured a bulk pallet storage area with repurposed pallet rack to take better advantage of verticle cube storage.


Order Processing Solutions - Apex Warehouse Systems


The Net Effect

Apex presented 3 options to meet the customer’s aggressive throughput goals. The option that exceeded requirements at the lowest capital cost was to convert existing pallet storage areas to fast-pick carton flow combined with a revamped static shelving using wider aisles. The result…

  • 250% increase in daily picking capacity
  • 20% decrease in annual labor costs

The Apex team was able to quickly evaluate the customer’s concerns and overlay them with sensible and cost-effective solutions. Existing components were repurposed where possible to improve material flow and throughput for this very busy logistics company. Call Apex today to speak with our systems experts about your operational needs and warehouse distribution goals.