When an order is placed, Ingram Micro's proprietary global warehouse management system (WMS) instantly determines the customer's closest ALC based on the inventory in stock. The order is then routed to that ALC.
2. Releasing Order
Orders are prioritized by delivery date and carrier. Our WMS analyzes each order's details, including the location of every item and the most efficient route through the facility for each item in the order. Instantly, labels and packing slips with the location and routing information depicted in text and barcodes are printed out in the appropriate warehouse zone.
Ingram Micro is capable of shipping product at the pallet, full case, or each level within a carton â€“ all within the same facility. Our WMS determines the most economical method and directs the order accordingly. Full-case shipments go directly to Step 7, but pass through the same quality checks as all of our cartons.
3. Carton Size Selection
Our WMS uses an algorithm to determine the right carton size based on the dimensions and number of products to be placed inside, which is both cost-efficient and environmentally responsible. The carton size is also printed on the label.
Inventory from thousands of manufacturers and suppliers is housed in more than 12 million sq. ft. (1.1 million sq. meters) of space worldwide. In most of our distribution centers, we can quickly customize new space with our information systems and processes to scale up to meet increased customer needs.
5. Carton Labeling
The labels applied to every carton feature barcodes containing information about the product and the quantity of items needed for the carton. The labels also bear information that interfaces with our conveyor system to direct the cartons as they move through the ALC. In our larger ALCs, a carton being packed can travel more than 7.5 miles (12 km.) of conveyor system. Scanners on the conveyor read the carton barcodes to direct them to their next stop.
6. Filling the Carton
When a carton stops in a zone, a picker scans the label with a wireless radio frequency (RF) unit that shows the location of the product. Once the product is placed in the carton and confirmed, the RF either directs the picker to another pick in the same zone or tells the picker to place the carton on the conveyor so it can travel to its next stop.
Whenever a carton is scanned, the WMS updates the order status. We always know what is in each carton at all times, where it is going, and when an order is complete and the carton is on its way to a truck.
8. Getting it Right
Once an order is complete, the carton passes over a scale. Our WMS knows how much each filled carton should weigh within one-sixth of an ounce (4 grams). If the weight is incorrect, the carton is diverted for a manual check of the contents.
9. Gift Wrapping
Label information may also include instructions for special handling, such as gift wrapping or printing of personalized gift cards.
10. Keeping it Green
Ingram Micro is committed to a sustainable environment and uses recycled paper as packing material to protect the contents prior to shipping.
11. The Last Stop
The last conveyor scan sends each completed order down the correct loading ramp to a truck or shipping container. Each carton is scanned once more to ensure it has reached its correct destination.