High-Speed Material Handling Systems From Lockheed Martin Help Returns Processing Center Run Efficiently, Smoothly
OWEGO, NY, 12-FEB-01 -- ReturnBuy, Inc., the innovation leader in returns services, relies on integrated, high-speed automatic sortation and material handling systems designed and installed by Lockheed Martin to process and resell merchandise quickly and accurately from a newly opened processing center in Columbia, S.C. The commercial distribution business of Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego deployed the $4 million, custom-built operation for ReturnBuy in less than 16 weeks. The size of about five football fields, the two-story, 250,000-square-foot Returns Processing Center (RPC) is equipped with more than 1.5 miles of integrated conveyor systems and is designed to process approximately 30,000 items per day.
ReturnBuy uses technology to create new dynamics for the returns industry. It significantly increases resale revenue on returned products, captures valuable returns data, and helps merchants improve customer service by enabling faster credits and refunds. Instead of shipping a product back to the retailer, a consumer sends the item to a ReturnBuy warehouse, sparing retailers, distributors and manufacturers from inventory-clogged warehouses. ReturnBuy uses a technology-based process to evaluate the product's condition and resells it through a variety of channels such as eBay.
Our two-story facility along with our compressed delivery deadlines were real challenges for this project, said ReturnBuy Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Rogers. Lockheed Martin did everything it said it would do. We're very pleased with how smoothly everything was deployed, and in particular how well schedules were kept. Meeting deadline dates is rare on system integration projects.
The scope of this project was broad, explained Leo Laurendeau, business area manager for Lockheed Martin's commercial distribution organization. It included installing innovative material handling systems to convey material between floors as well as between tasks that range from receiving, staging, storage and retrieval to quality evaluation and reshipment. We also deployed linear sortation systems because they are low-cost and easy to maintain, yet provide extremely reliable performance.
Another highlight of the installation by Lockheed Martin included writing all of the software for controlling the material handling and sortation systems, Laurendeau added. We designed the control systems around common graphic user interface (GUI) windows, icons and menus so operators could use the controls intuitively and with minimal training.