Relationship Focus: LD Products
LD Products is a multifaceted printing and office supply company focused on exceptional customer service and the highest quality product offering. Located in Long Beach, California, their 110,000 square foot LEED-certified headquarters houses an array of inventory such as ink, toner, and other office products. LD Products is a company centered on accurate order fulfillment, cutting-edge print offerings, and unmatched customer support.
“How we help our customers is just giving them good, quality ink,” said Chris Ferrer, Director of Warehouse Operations at LD Products. “One of the key founding aspects of the company is the customer service. We pride ourselves on making sure the customer has the best experience they can.”
Hytrol and the integration partner worked with LD Products to create an energy-efficient automated material handling system capable of growing with the company. While meeting all of the standards to qualify for LEED-certification, the new system allows for future expansion, including increased capacity, accuracy, and speed.
“We ship approximately 3500 to 8000 orders a day, depending on the day of week,” said Ferrer. “We’re probably looking at over 10,000 SKUs in a day that make up those orders. Before we added the system, we were shipping over 25-to 30,000 orders a week, but it required almost 60 people to do that in our manual system. Now with the automation, we are down to 28 people in the operation itself.”
The system is comprised of many energy efficient and unique applications of Hytrol technology. A key component of the system is the use of Hytrol’s E24™ 24-volt technology, which is used to transport totes and shipping cartons from an A-frame system to one of several areas, including the consolidation put-to-light system, manual small package area, and the USPS packing area.
Ferrer said, “The E24™, the EZLogic® technology—it just seemed like it was more versatile. It was more plug-n-play. It just seemed like it was going to be more reliable for us. When our integrator introduced us to Hytrol, it just seemed like it was a good, solid company, it had been around for a long time, made in the United States.
“One of our biggest things that we promote here within our company is it’s a US-based company. The fact that Hytrol was right here was a big selling feature for us.”
“The new operation has given us an overall of 30 percent more output on a daily basis based on the order flow. The first place that we saw the changes who were impacted the most was the A-frame unit. The A-frame unit required 15 people in a manual process with the same type of layout to fulfill all of the orders through there. We were able to reduce that down to two people.
“The second part is also in the pick-to-light area—that is our toner products—that required 10 people to actually do that job in a manual process. That only requires, again, two people now.”
Because the system integrates seamlessly with the customer’s warehouse management system and the WCS (Intersort WCS), orders are quickly transported based on quantity, location, cube size, shipping carton size, and shipping carton weight. Ferrer said the integrator brought ideas to the table that his team hadn’t yet thought of.
“We actually had an initial layout in mind. It probably only had about 30 percent of the automation that we actually have in place now. So they were able to bring a lot of good ideas—a lot of automation that we weren’t even aware of. They helped us actually envision what our growth plan was going to be.”
By working with the integration partner, LD Products was able to implement a material handling solution that accommodated an increase in throughput, as well as their unique variety of SKUs. The intelligently-designed system allowed LD Products to reduce their workforce by 53 percent. In addition to the technical benefits, the company was able to utilize Hytrol’s wide variety of training opportunities to provide the necessary support for the system.
“The fact that I was able to go online to the Hytrol videos and access them anytime, whether it was at night at home or just here during the day, just made it a lot easier because I was able to find the information we needed, or at least give us a direction. And there was a lot more information on the Hytrol stuff than I realized.”
The objective for Hytrol and the integration partner is to create a flexible, efficient, and smart material handling system capable of producing optimal results for the customer. The new system gives LD Products the ability to meet current demands, while allowing for future growth.