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Delivering Best Buy's Supply Chain Transformation

Linda Grady | 03 March 2020

Best Buy is a worldwide omnichannel electronics retailer enriching the lives of their customers though technology. To compete in today’s fast-paced ecommerce environment, Best Buy has revolutionized its supply chain network, creating logistical efficiencies that seemed impossible in the past.

A few years ago, Best Buy was faced with historic corporate challenges as the company met growing competition from ecommerce giants such as Amazon. Best Buy’s response included a redesign of each of its regional distribution centers (RDCs) and creation of metro ecommerce centers (MECs), to better meet customer demands. The strategy required deployment of advanced automation across multiple sites in a very short timeframe.

After an extensive search to find the right software and automation provider to best serve each type of facility, Best Buy decided to work with Bastian Solutions.  Together, our companies integrated automated storage and retrieval technology, conveyor, and warehouse execution software to best serve each facility.  

Key elements of the program include:

AutoStore ASRS

The automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) implemented for Best Buy is AutoStore.  AutoStore was a perfect fit for Best Buy because of its unique characteristics:

  • Storage Density – AutoStore is an ultra-dense solution with four times the storage capacity in the same footprint as manual storage.
  • Natural Slotting – AutoStore inventory is stored in stacked bins.  When a bin is required, the system digs it up to deliver it to the port, and then returns it to the top of a stack.  If the bin is popular, it stays on top, otherwise it will “sink” to the bottom of the stack as other bins are picked and placed on top of it.  This creates a natural slotting effect and means that bins are delivered very quickly to the ports as less digging is required for the most frequently needed bins.  
  • Flexibility – The system was integrated into an existing facility with minimal disruption to operations.
  • Ergonomics – Operators who used to walk miles per day now work at ergonomic ports. Best Buy has a long-tenured workforce in its warehouses and the company values a high-quality work environment for their operators.
  • Inventory Accuracy & Security – Valuable inventory is safely stored in the grid and cannot be accessed without a valid user login.  All movements are tracked, and as a result inventory accuracy is extremely precise.

Bastian Solutions Conveyor

Features of Bastian Solutions advanced line of conveyors include:

  • Quiet Operation – Less noise creates a better working environment
  • Ease of Installation – Rapid and easy installation facilitated the quick implementation timelines of the projects, so that the systems could be up and running prior to peak season.
  • Energy Efficiency – Bastian Solutions conveyor features less energy use and lower operating costs due to the integration of 24V DC motors.
  • Flexibility – Bastian Solutions conveyor has an array of options to meet Best Buy’s specific requirements for operations and ergonomics (guide rails, supports, speeds, roller spacing, motors, etc.).

Exacta WES

Bastian Solutions’ Exacta Warehouse Execution System (WES) is the glue that binds the system together.  The software met Best Buy’s needs because it is:

  • Mature – Bastian Solutions has been developing and implementing the Exacta software suite since 2001.  Almost 20 years of continuous improvement translates to a huge feature set. 
  • Customizable – Because Bastian Solutions develops its own software in-house, our team is able to take on new and challenging customer requirements and incorporate them into the standard software.
  • Easy to Integrate – Exacta has integrated with virtually every WMS and automation system many times, which reduces risks on projects.   Bastian Solutions’ extensive history communicating with myriad types of systems sped up the design and development process and helped us to “speak Best Buy’s language” when working with their WMS.

Collaboration

The most important part of the Best Buy program has been the collaboration and teamwork between our companies’ project management and engineering groups.  A multi-tiered program management strategy ensured consistent and successful execution of multiple back-to-back projects with demanding timelines. Over 100 team members on the Bastian Solutions side contributed to the Best Buy projects and our cohesive approach meant that we were connecting on several levels:

  • Top-to-Top – Bastian Solutions and Best Buy executive teams held regular check-in meetings to confirm the progress of the program.
  • Steering Committees – Best Buy and Bastian Solutions each formed a steering committee which looked at all sites and recommended improvements across projects. 
  • Program Management  Program level leads at each company acted as resources to the site-specific project teams and provided a single point of contact for any key communications between Best Buy and Bastian Solutions.
  • Project Management – Multiple sites were implemented simultaneously for Best Buy.  Each project was fully staffed with a project team and led by project managers, engineers, and site supervisors who were dedicated to the program.  

The Results

By combining the right hardware, software, processes and people, Best Buy has achieved a better supply chain operation, from inventory management and increased order accuracy, to improved lead times for superior customer service and an overall reduction in costs.

During the presentation linked below, Rob Bass, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Best Buy, details his company’s supply chain transformation and provides tips for improving your omnichannel operations.

 

Author: Linda Grady

Linda Grady is a National Accounts Manager with Bastian Solutions.  In her role, Linda helps new and existing clients develop solutions for large scale industrial automation systems.  Her primary areas of focus are partnership management, process optimization, and helping to drive adoption of automation best practices.

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