Vermont Teddy Bear Upgrades Their TCI System

The Vermont Teddy Bear Company, the pioneer of the Bear-Gram gift delivery service, recently completed an upgrade to their existing Tech Conveyor picking, packing and shipping system. Increasing SKU counts and order volume had pushed the existing picking and packing operation to its limits. A third pick module needed to be added to accommodate the SKU increase. Vermont Teddy Bears picking SKU quantity had more then doubled as a result of their growth in the sleep apparel market with their new Pajama Gram products. While on the Bear side of the business, the SKU count had remained level. The significant increase in Pajama Gram SKU and order quantity necessitated a change in the existing picking and packing operation. Because of the number of pick locations and physical constraints in both the existing Bear and Pajama Gram pick lines, it was determined that the lines needed to be physically switched. This in itself would have been an easy task had Vermont Teddy Bear not had to pick orders from both lines during the relocation. A phased in approach was adopted allowing for the segmenting of the pick lines and the relocation of carton erectors, flow rack, shelving, conveyor and product in designated areas or sections. This phased in and segmented approach allowed for a smooth transition without impacted the picking operation.

The existing packing and dressing area required a similar modification, again while keeping the operation up and running. The conveyor that feeds completed orders to the two pack area sort lines needed to be switched. Again, phasing in the modifications and working during off hours allowed for a smooth transparent system change.

The final phase of the project was the addition of a third pick line and the merging of that line into the outbound shipping system. A weekend tie-in allowed for the complete installation of the new line without having any impact on the existing operation.

The new system changes were once again put to the test during Vermont Teddy Bear’s Valentine’s Day blitz, the company’s single biggest shipping holiday. The system changes allowed both Pajama Gram and Vermont Teddy Bear orders to ship accurately, well dressed and on-time.