The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2015

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Page 97 of 140

april 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  97 The facility, with a footprint spanning nearly the area of 25 Olympic-sized swimming pools, will house in excess of 12,000 SKUs, and, according to company executive Don Harper, 85 percent of the 1.8 million-case capacity will occupy just 40 percent of the building's footprint. That efficient use of space is attributed to the high-density AS/RS system developed for the facility by W&H Systems and Westfalia Technologies, Inc. Through a combination of hardware and software that controls the flow of all movements, storage and retrieval machines known as SRM's—that can operate at a speed of 80 pallets an hour—manage a 37-foot framework of pick modules designed to store pallets 10 deep. According to Paul Laman, Vice President of W&H Systems, in addition to the AS/RS and pick modules the system is comprised of high- rate combiners and sorters, high-speed conveyors, a ware- house control system called Shiraz and other components that leverage W&H's 20 years of experience in the wine and spirits industry. Technology has even improved efficiency in the first-floor bottle room, where voice recognition software enables picks of individual bottles for smaller, mixed-case, express orders. While the scale and level of automation at the Atlantic Street supply center is a first for Southern, the company remains the largest employer in Union City. During the February ribbon cutting ceremony, Union City Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci presented Chaplin and his executive team with a certificate of recognition acknowledging the company as "a generous corporate business partner" and commending the contribution of an innovative, world class-facility to the community. The company also received a joint state procla- mation and certificate awarded by the office of Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski for its important role and accomplishments within the community. Supply Chain Strategy Florida-based Southern, which at more than $11 billion in revenue sits comfortably at 28th on the Forbes list of America's largest privately-held companies, is intently focused on the development of supply chain solutions that ensure a high- degree of integration for its suppliers and customers. Under the direction of Bobby Burg, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Strategy, the company has based the concept for its Union City center on best practices established by regional distribution centers found in other industries and then fine-tuned that model to fit the three-tier system. According to Burg, the facilities are designed to work within a network that optimizes inventory management across all distribution channels and adds value that "none of our competitors can match." In his closing remarks to the officials, suppliers, industry partners, executives and customers who were gathered to mark the company's expanding footprint in California, Chaplin commended EVP, General Manager of California, Jack Brennan, for his 37 years of dedication to and leadership within the organization. Earlier, Brennan had recalled the pragmatic words of the late Jay W. Weiss, a founding partner of Southern, when he visited the construction site of the first Union City warehouse in 1998: "We may have to sublet this place." In light of the company's unprecedented growth and its leading role as the nation's largest wine and spirits distributor and broker, Chaplin said, "Based on the direction the business is going, we're not stopping here. We've got plans for expansion in Southern California and Florida." Executive Vice President, General Manager of California Jack Brennan took the stage and spoke to guests at the opening ceremony of the Southern Wine & Spirits' new Union City supply center. Southern's high-density AS/RS system will house 85 percent of a 1.8 million-case inventory in just 40 percent of the building's footprint.

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