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The Future Electronics Memphis Area Distribution Center

Hi, I’m Bernard Betts Vice-President of Distribution Operations here at Future Electronics. I want to welcome you to our Memphis Area Distribution Center a 50 million dollar investment where we bring to you the most automated distribution center anywhere in North America in any industry. It has the ability to ship over 120,000 different part numbers overnight.

Future Electronics Memphis Area Distribution Center in South Haven Mississippi is designed for complex automation. What we have here is a state of the art distribution system.

Before this site was selected, before the slab was poured, before the massive concrete walls were set Future Electronics had a vision; to expedite electronic components to customers around the globe with speed and accuracy. This is not your typical distribution center; strategic lighting, reflective flooring and vibrant color coordination make Future Electronics a user friendly workplace environment.

Nine receiving doors expedite product delivery, as trucks are unloaded merchandise is removed from palettes and sorted by manufacturer on rolling cubes. The cube is then placed on the automation system, first in first out, except for priorities which move up to the front of the line. Conveyers deliver the palettes and merchandise to the palette storage area, miles and miles of racks, 50 feet tall and 600 feet long. Three massive cranes place the palettes in these racks for temporary parking. Though some palettes are stored here, most newly received components continue on to receiving inspection as soon as an opening is created. Elevators hoist the cubes of merchandise to receiving inspection, strategically located directly above the receiving docks. A transfer cart moves the merchandise to one of 22 inspection stations, 11 stations on either side of this conveyor. Here receiving inspectors, wearing electrostatic discharge smocks carefully remove components from the cubes and place them into totes. Again, likes with likes, one product type per tote all within the same date code range and always the same country of origin. Once a tote is full or complete it moves along the conveyor to the OPS Storage Area, the ultimate parking destination.

The totes are stored here in these 50 by 600 foot racks we mentioned earlier. Performed in complete darkness because it’s entirely computerized, completely automated. A customer order comes in; one of the cranes locates and takes hold of the precise tote according to the instructions. There are 23 tote picking cranes plus 3 palette picking cranes.
The product totes are then passed to a second set of cranes we call them sequencers. They supply the right product in the right order to the right picker. Sequencers feed the pick station. Here pickers take products from the totes. Mistakes are virtually eliminated because each tote’s contents are exactly the same. Each product has the same date code range and the same country of origin. Pickers take products from the storage tote and place them in the customer tote. If the customer ordered more than one product type the second product tote arrives and the first tote returns to storage. As each item is scanned and placed into the customer tote Witron tracks order fulfillment and alerts the picker to any customer exceptions or special requests. When the order is complete no consolidation is required. The customer tote continues along the automation system to quality control where it receives a thorough inspection. The components are then removed from the totes and placed in cardboard boxes. The packing slip is inserted in the box along with any other required documents. On the outside of the box a label is applied documenting the content. The dispatch department fills each box with air pillows for product protection. An automatic tape dispenser seals the box tight. Then each box is weighed automatically. During this process Witron consults the transportation management system TEXAS. If the customer has not made special provisions the best shipping option is selected. The box is weighed, booked for shipping and confirmed in an astonishing eleven seconds or less.

The appropriate label is printed and applied; the box is ready for shipping. It moves up the conveyor to the next level, then down the ramp to the shipping dock and directly into the delivery truck.

Future Electronics is a world-class leader and innovator in the distribution and marketing of semiconductors and passive, interconnect and electromechanical components. We operate from 155 offices in 35 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Our commitment to product integrity through automation, proper handling and environmental control is unsurpassed. Future Electronics, a full partner for all your supply chain needs.

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