Phoenix Contact: Concept and realisation of a distribution centre in Harrisburg, USA

High logistics standards as far as the USA

The German company Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co. KG is an internationally leading specialist in automation technology. Phoenix is particularly well known for its terminal blocks. More than 14,000 employees work at the head office in Blomberg and in its numerous branches worldwide. Phoenix Contact operates a subsidiary in Harrisburg, USA. This supplies the domestic market, while also assuming the function of a central warehouse for Canada, Mexico and South America.

phoenix contact harrisburg

Phoenix Contact, Harrisburg

The initial situation

viaLog had developed a concept for Phoenix Contact aimed at optimising and extending the logistics centre at the head office in Blomberg. The logistics consulting company used this basis to formulate a concept for a standard warehouse. This was to serve the subsidiaries of Phoenix as a planning basis for extending the country warehouses worldwide. At the same time, the warehouse of the American subsidiary in Harrisburg had come up against the limits of its capacity. The new standards were to be implemented there as part of the warehouse extension.

The task

Phoenix Contact commissioned viaLog with the optimisation and extension of its logistics centre in Harrisburg. This included

  • drawing up a master plan for the plant development over the next 5 to 10 years,
  • designing the new, automated central warehouse,
  • managing the tender for all logistics work sections (Automated Small Parts Storage, Work Stations and Materials Handling) as well as
  • implementing the new logistics standards.

The solution

Corresponding to the standard warehouse concept, the warehouse in Harrisburg received a 4-aisle automated small parts store with approx. 20,000 container locations. An extension enabling up to six aisles with a total of 30,000 was already envisaged in the planning and prepared structurally. Supplementary to this, manual storage areas were established and an automated depalletising station installed for internal restocking. Order picking was converted from the “man-to-goods” principle to the “goods-to-man” setup.

Besides the structural and technical changes, viaLog also optimised IT support for Phoenix by introducing a warehouse management system.

The highlights

High degree of standardisation

Uniform logistics throughout the world was one of the most important aspects for Phoenix. Based on the standardised warehouse layout, a larger version of the warehouse was realised in Blomberg and smaller version in Harrisburg. Uniform containers also simplify cooperation across national borders.

Ergonomic pick- and pack work station

Ergonomic pick-and-pack workstation

Ergonomic work stations ensure optimal working conditions

viaLog designed pick-and-pack workstations specially tailored to Phoenix. These have, amongst others, height-adjustable standing platforms and an optimal arrangement of the work equipment. Furthermore, storage towers allow the source containers to be sequenced.