Jun 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By David A Kolman
A number of trailers have rear 5,500-pound capacity, large platform, rail-style liftgates from either Maxon or Waltco. This type of liftgate was chosen because it provides a level ride throughout the platform movement for better load stability.
Six refrigerated Hino and International straight trucks have a 260-horsepower diesel engine backed to an automatic transmission. The trucks have 26-foot refrigerated Kidron bodies and Thermo King reefers.
Four Freightliner trucks have 16-foot refrigerated Kidron bodies and Thermo King refrigeration units. These vehicles, equipped with 180-horsepower diesels and manual transmissions, make up Cheney Brothers' Cheney Express fleet, used for “emergency orders.”
“Emergency orders are instances where a restaurant or hotel, for example, forgets to order something or enough quantity,” explains King. “We can have their emergency order delivered ASAP. It is another service we provide.”
All equipment, on a six-year lease, is assigned to the 375 fulltime drivers who are issued uniforms. Every vehicle has a backup beeper. Tractor trailers are being outfitted with Eaton Collision Avoidance Systems, the latest addition to the fleet's repertoire of safety measures.
“Our biggest challenge now is fuel,” says King. “We recently cut back the governed speed of our trucks to 55 mph, and we're exploring biodiesel to see if it is a viable option for us, our customers, and the environment.”
Orders come in daily until 5 pm, with order selection beginning at 7 pm. The company uses a voice-directed order picking system from Vocollect to speed up the process. The Vocollect system has six different languages, which helps direct the Cheney Brothers diverse warehouse workforce.
Order pickers have a wearable computer with a headset and microphone. They are instructed by voice on what items to pick and where to pick them. They must verbally confirm their actions back to the system.
Among the benefits of this system, says King, are increased accuracy and productivity and reduced training time because of the verbal prompts. Moreover, by literally talking the selectors through their orders, there is no need for cumbersome lists or traditional data capture methods.
“One of the nice things about our warehouse management system is that it allows us to go back and track any selector and see what they did during their shift. This helps us identify any problems and allows us to be proactive with any issues that may arise.
“We have different productivity goals for each section of the warehouse — dry, cooler and freezer, and if these aren't being met, we can work with our selectors.”
After completing their orders, the selectors machine shrink-wrap them and then move them in a staging area. From here, loaders place the orders onto the appropriate truck in the proper sequence. Trucks are staged to and from the loading docks by a night crew.
The Riviera Beach facility has 38 loading docks; the Ocala facility has 57. Typically, says King, some 60,000 to 70,000 cases are shipped each day from Riviera Beach; 40,000 to 50,000 from Ocala.
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.