The Challenge

With 120 stores, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is a storied company and is the Mid-Atlantic’s largest retailer of closeout, surplus, and salvage merchandise.  Averaging about 40,000 containers per day in a facility that was not designed to house a state-of-the-art warehouse control system, installing a fully customized Cirrus WCS was no easy task.  When Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in Pennsylvania called upon Cirrus Tech to create and integrate a Cirrus Warehouse Control System (WCS) as-well-as Cirrus Programmable Logic Controls in their distribution center, the Cirrus Tech team rose to the task.

The Approach

At Ollie’s the process begins the night before when all the carton labels are pre-printed for the pickers and packers. There are two main picking lanes and each lane has two levels. The pick-to-light process in these lanes is vital to their operation. First, the picking lanes are stocked with the items going out that day. Once an operator scans the item, the light display reports how many items are required for each WAVE. Operators pick, label and deposit the product onto the conveyor that will cart the item off to the spiral lifts. Once the spiral lift carries it to the second level, it then heads straight down the line to the lane merge.

Of the 4 merge lanes, individual lanes can be given priority over other lanes based on product flow, product type, barcode information, routing priorities, or as a first in first out situation. After the merge they are sent towards a barcode scanner just prior to the sorter.

Convincing Results

The Cirrus Inventory Control System and PLC software intelligently monitor these barcodes to allow Ollie’s Bargain Outlet to determine which shipping lanes each barcode is assigned to in the fulfillment system.

Our Cirrus WCS and PLC Software solutions enables Ollie’s Bargain Outlet to easily accommodate increases in orders, while utilizing automation to dramatically reduce handling and packaging costs. The result is a Cirrus WCS solution that meets the client’s growth expectations and dramatically reduces labor costs while increasing order fulfillment accuracy.

If you would like more information about automating your warehouse, contact Cirrus Tech.


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By choosing “The Crane” ASRS System from Cirrus Tech, we have gained efficiencies through our entire warehouse; how we receive, rotate and shuffle back stock, cycle count, pick and replenish pick locations.  The real surprise was the efficiencies gained on the load building side. Cirrus Tech’s “Crane,” Cirrus WMS and Cirrus Directed Picking have helped us in all areas of the warehouse.

Jose Rivera

Company Name : J. J. Taylor Companies, Inc.
Designation : VP of Administration

Choosing Cirrus Tech to implement, manage and support our Cirrus Automated Case Picking System has turned out to be one of the best decisions we've ever made.  Cirrus Tech's commitment to partnership, coupled with their exceptional 24/7 support is best in the industry by a mile.  We are proud to be partners with Cirrus Tech.

Nick Economos

Company Name : Eagle Rock Distributing Company
Designation : President

The Cirrus Tech Crane System not only saved us from doing a costly expansion, it also helped us organize our warehouse in a manner that put efficiencies in places that we would have never realized by building a new warehouse.

Brad Nichols

Company Name : Eagle Distributing of Shreveport, Inc.
Designation : CEO

The Cirrus Tech Crane System provided our company an opportunity to consolidate an entire warehouse (Norfolk, NE) into the existing warehouse here in Fremont, NE.  It will incorporate 5 years of growth while providing less than a 5 year ROI with the efficiencies of the system.

Bruce Nelsen

Company Name : Eagle Distributing, Inc. in Nebraska
Designation : CEO

The Cirrus Crane System will increase our available pallet storage significantly. When we take into account the organization and many efficiencies the system will bring, this will be a real game changer for us in our warehouse.

Jeff Knight

Company Name : Cherokee Distributing Company
Designation : General Manager

The Crane System is the right fit for our operation. We will be able to build the expansion, place The Crane System inside of it and maximize the clear height to go 5 pallets high in the system. Because of the additional space savings, we will be able to absorb another operation into our existing building and still have optimal room for future growth. Cirrus is the industry leader in Crane System implementations in the beverage industry and we look forward to our partnership for years to come.

Rodney Long

Company Name : Long Beverage, Inc.
Designation : President

We’re confident that our new partnership with Cirrus Tech will provide critical support to the realization of our long-term strategic goals. In the near-term, the Cirrus Tech Crane System will play a key role in to our efforts to modernize our warehouse and delivery operations. As we look towards the completion of our new facility, our investment in the Crane System will result in a substantial one-time construction costs savings while providing a platform to realize impressive reoccurring annual warehouse efficiencies.

Frank Sourbeer Jr.

Company Name : Wilsbach Distributors, Inc.
Designation : President

The Cirrus System will provide our company with many years of growth along with excellent annual efficiencies that will allow us to best serve Birmingham and the surrounding areas. We are pleased to partner with a like-minded company like Cirrus Tech as partners in warehouse automation. We are looking forward to the implementation of our new system.

Louis Maisel

Company Name : Gulf Distributing Company of Birmingham
Designation : President

With Cirrus Tech's HLA approach to automation, our company is able to take advantage the best automation for our environment today (The Cirrus Tech Crane System) while giving us a vision and the ability to add components down the road that will provide our warehouse with a nearly fully automated solution. It is exciting to have a road map to full automation that we can grow into over time.

Frank B. Fuhrer III

Company Name : Frank B. Fuhrer Wholesale Company
Designation : CEO