Shuttle XP VLMs Launch the Logistics Readiness Squadron at Florida AFB To Success
A Florida AFB is tasked with providing logistical support for launch operations in the Eastern Range of the United States securing national space activities at Cape Canaveral, Kennedy Space Center and Jupiter Island for the Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and commercial entities such as SpaceX. They are responsible for provision of deployment, vehicle operations/ maintenance, transportation, fuel services, material management functions, personal property/passenger travel and in/outbound household goods support.
They accomplish this using a Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) warehouse operation located nearby. Here spare parts such as weather gear, radar repair kits and vehicle maintenance parts are inventoried, secured and can be ready for action in a moments notice. Quick access to accurate inventory is critical in these operations.
Expanding Logistics Support
With launch logistics support well established, the LRS had the knowledge and capabilities to take on the MSRP (Mobility Readiness Spare Packages) inventory for an adjacent Rescue Wing Air Force Reserve Unit. There was just one problem – they didn’t have the space. Adding the MSRP inventory to the warehouse would increase inventory by 25% and require additional space and staff to manage the inventory. The existing warehouse consisted of drawer cabinets holding small parts, racking to store medium sized parts, larger oversized parts were stored on floor pallets or outside and one Shuttle Vertical Lift Module (VLM) provided secured storage for pilferable items.
The LRS had all the ability to support the Rescue Wing logistically, but they didn’t have the space. They expanded the Shuttle VLM technology they were using for secured storage into the warehouse – moving 70% of the medium sized inventory previously stored on pallet rack into seven Shuttle XP VLMs from Kardex Remstar, with the bulky items remaining in pallet rack. With over 3,800 square feet of floor space opened up, they were able to accommodate the MSRP inventory from the Rescue Wing in the existing warehouse.
No Additional Labor Required
The seven VLMs deliver parts directly to the workers, eliminating wasted time spent walking through rows of shelving looking for parts. They report that it takes on average four minutes to pick a part from the shelving area, compared to two and a half minutes from the Shuttle VLMs. The VLMs have allowed them to increase inventory by 25% and maintain logistic support operations without adding additional staff.
No Heavy Lifting
Having parts delivered right to the worker at an ergonomic “golden zone” height (between the knees and shoulders) has eliminated risk of injuries associated with bending and reaching. In the previous racking they were not using the top 2 rows because it was too difficult to carry heavy parts up and down the ladder to store and retrieve them. Now, the space within the warehouse is fully utilized and all parts are easily accessible with the push of a button. In addition, elimination of excessive walking between locations has reduced worker fatigue.
Simple and Easy Picking
Now, whenever parts are needed, a request is sent to the LRS warehouse for fulfilment. The parts request posts to the operations board and when ready to pick, a warehouse associate prints it. As directed by the pick ticket, the warehouse operator picks the items from each zone using a pick cart. When he/she arrives at the Shuttle VLMs, they enter the tray number shown on the pick ticket into the controller. The Shuttle VLM moves to retrieve the tray and delivers it to the operator, allowing them to quickly and easily pick the item needed. Items are delivered to shipping to be routed to another facility or to holding to await customer pickup.
Getting Though Contracting
The LRS purchased the seven Shuttle XP units using the DLA (Defense Logistics Agency) MRO (Maintenance and Repair Operations) contract. They were able to specify to the DLA contractor (Nobel Supply and Logistics) what they needed. Nobel Supply and Logistics then did all of the legwork to get the bids, making the procurement process was quick, easy and hassle free.
There is one additional Shuttle VLM that provides secure storage for items that can be easily pilfered. Previously, these items were stored on shelving in a locked room within the warehouse. With the secure storage room at capacity, the LRS purchased a single Shuttle VLM. They placed the unit outside the room and cut thru the wall of the secured storage room for the VLM access opening.
Now, even though the VLM sits physically outside of the secured storage room, pilferable items within the unit can only be accessed from inside the secured storage room. Only four people have a key to the secured room, so only four people can access the pilferable items within that unit. Moving the small pilferable items into the secure VLM location, allowed space for larger high cost items to be moved into the secured storage area.