Last-Mile Handling and Distribution Automated Sortation System for Forward Air Solutions

Case Study Overview:

ETi partnered with Forward Air’s engineering and IT teams to develop a customized automated sortation solution tailored to specific objectives and constraints. As a result, Forward Air achieved a significant reduction in handling costs which enhanced their overall operational efficiency. Delve into the details of this successful partnership.

Client Background:

Forward Air Solutions is a leading ground transportation provider. They encountered challenges related to manual labor requirements for moving cases, inefficiencies stemming from manual sorting processes, and congestion at multiple locations. Recognizing the need for a comprehensive solution, Forward Air sought ETi’s expertise to optimize their operations and improve overall efficiency.

Key Findings from On-site Assessment:

Project Location: Houston, TX

During the on-site assessment, ETi identified several key issues that hindered Forward Air’s operations. Manual labor was required for case movement, leading to inefficiencies and potential errors. The manual sorting processes posed challenges and increased the risk of congestion at various operational locations. Additionally, Forward Air needed a new WCS that could seamlessly integrate with their existing software.

Smart Systems Solutions Approach:

ETi developed a custom sortation solution tailored to Forward Air’s objectives and constraints. Key elements of the approach included:

  1. Single-File System Design: ETi implemented a system design focused on single-file handling instead of bulk handling. This streamlined the sorting process, which improved overall efficiency and reduced labor requirements.
  2. Camera Scan Tunnel: A camera scan tunnel was integrated into the solution, providing flexibility to capture variations in inbound carton labels and placement. This enhanced accuracy and ensured proper sorting based on multiple labels.
  3. Smart Sort Software: ETi’s solution included smart sort software capable of efficiently processing cartons with multiple labels. This intelligent software optimized the sorting process, increasing throughput and reducing errors.
  4. Primary and Secondary Sortation: The solution incorporated primary and secondary sortation systems to further enhance throughput and provide redundancy. This allowed for efficient and accurate sorting, which minimized delays and improved overall operational efficiency.
  5. Real-Time Data Management: The integration of real-time data management systems enabled comprehensive reporting and tracking capabilities. Forward Air gained valuable insights into key performance indicators, which enhanced decision-making and improved overall operational visibility.

System Installation & Implementation:

ETi successfully completed the installation and implementation of the customized sortation solution within a five-month timeframe.

Results and Benefits:

ETi’s customized sortation solution empowered Forward Air Solutions to overcome operational challenges and achieve significant cost reductions. ETi enabled Forward Air to experience enhanced efficiency, increased throughput, and improved operational visibility. ETi’s expertise in automation and optimization ensured a seamless implementation within a five-month timeframe, demonstrating our commitment to client success. For material handling businesses seeking tailored solutions and cost-effective operations, ETi offers comprehensive paths to achieve operational excellence and drive success.


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