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Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits Lakeland, Florida distribution center

How the World's Largest Wine & Spirits Distribution Center Ships 25 Million Cases Each Year

Chris Bratten | 20 August 2019

Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits is the largest wine and spirits distributor in the U.S. with operations in thirty-five states. After consolidating all the inventory and functions of its Florida facilities into a single location, Southern Glazer’s Lakeland, Florida facility is now the largest liquor spirits and wine distribution hub on the planet, standing at an impressive one million and ninety thousand square feet.

To maximize the space and productivity of this location, Bastian Solutions and Southern Glazer’s worked together to develop an advanced material handling system that could manage more than twelve thousand SKUs supported at this facility. Every year this facility ships twenty-five and a half million cases of premium spirits and wine.


Business Objectives

  • Consolidate the tasks of multiple facilities into a single hub servicing the entire state of Florida
  • Increase material handling system capacity and order throughput
  • Improve order accuracy for better customer service
  • Increase picking efficiency
  • Increase storage capacity and eliminate the use of outside warehouse storage

Material Handling Solutions:  

Voice Picking

Voice picking is designed to keep an operator's hand and eyes free, allowing them to focus more on the task at hand. Each operator is equipped with a mobile device or voice dedicated terminal and a headset with microphone. A barcode scanner (wired or wireless) can be added to increase accuracy and productivity. Easy-to-understand voice prompts direct operators to locations and instruct them as to what task needs to be performed. Multi-modal feedback via an operator's voice, a barcode scan or direct text entry provides additional operational flexibility.

At SGWS, voice picking is utilized for individual bottle picking for mixed SKU cases. Delivering more picking flexibility within the facility


Label Picking

In the full case picking areas, picking labels are generated to direct the operators to pick locations, label the cases and get them onto the conveyor system. The labels are printed in pick location sequence to help operators efficiently walk the pick modules and keep the case sequence optimized for downstream sortation and loading into the trucks. Although this solution isn’t cutting edge, it’s very cost-efficient and flexible.

Intelligent Software & Processes

Southern Glazer’s Lakeland facility required upgrades to its existing warehouse control system to support the material handling system expansion. Bastian Solutions' ExactaBEV software merges four standard waves into a single picking wave to increase picking efficiency. The expanded conveyor system is controlled by ExactaBEV to merge and re-sort the picking waves back out into the standard wave sequence prior to the main shipping sorters. The trucks are still loaded in the correct, reverse-stop sequence to maintain delivery efficiency, but the pickers are significantly more efficient; being able to pick those four waves in a single pick path through the warehouse.

If the new conveyor system is the heart of the Lakeland expansion, the software upgrades from Bastian Solutions provided the brains to deliver the increased picker efficiency, accuracy and overall system throughput required to transform the facility into the largest wine & spirits distribution center on earth.


Human Machine Interface

Southern Glazer’s Human Machine Interface, or HMI, provides easy access to real-time information such as system status, shipping and sortation statistics and live video monitoring. Multiple 3-D screens display a detailed view of how the system is operating, and color association for conveyor sections make the information easy to comprehend.


With the right people, processes, and material handling solutions; SGWS can now accommodate their customers better than ever before.

  • 25.5 million cases shipped every year
  • System manages over 12,000 SKUs
  • Increased storage capacity from 2.2 million cases to 6.4 million (~190% increase)
  • 22% increase in overall cases picked per hour
  • Forklift traffic minimized using automated pallet conveyor systems for replenishment
  • Two 5-level pick modules handle 80% of nightly order volume with minimum footprint and operator travel time





Author: Chris Bratten

Chris is a Logistics Consulting Manager at Bastian Solutions, based in Louisville, Kentucky. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and a MSME from Purdue University. Since starting with Bastian, Chris has developed and maintained strong relationships with his clients; designing solutions and supporting system integrations.


Bryan Leung says:
9/8/2019 08:34 AM

This is incredibly fascinating! I've been in wine retail for 10 years and I'm just getting started this year studying the supply chain and Inventory Management side of the industry. I'll be taking a wine distribution warehouse tour tomorrow with your solutions and results in mind. Thank you!

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