The Right Combination of Forklifts and Technology Increase Productivity and Efficiency in Nine-Level Racking

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (SGWS) is a family owned and operated supplier and distributor of alcoholic beverages. Starting from a small bottling operation in Texas in 1909, the company has expanded to a team of over 20,000 employees, distributing more than 150 million cases of wine and spirits annually across 44 U.S. markets, the District of Columbia, Canada and the Caribbean. The company continues to grow, expanding its Lakeland, FL distribution center from 800,000 to 1.2 million square feet to meet growing customer demand.

With the expansion of the Lakeland, FL facility, SGWS knew additional lift trucks were a must and they wanted to make the most of the additional floor space. With that in mind, the company implemented very-narrow aisles with nine levels of racking. The additional height required lift trucks that could accommodate the lift height and capacity while meeting the company’s throughput requirements. SGWS selected Crown’s TSP Series turret trucks,  along with additional technology options to meet the capacity and throughput demands.

SGWS is also eager to consider new technologies that provide a competitive advantage. The company decided to install Crown’s InfoLink® fleet and operator management system to take advantage of the benefits of a connected fleet. SGWS also wanted to streamline the process of moving pallets from high-bay storage to its pallet conveyor, so it  decided to push the technical envelope by using the TSP Series’ optional Auto Fence feature to enable operators to approach and place pallets directly on the conveyor. The Auto Fence technology controls speed, lift height and access based on location, enabling SGWS to program the trucks so that operators could complete the maneuver without risking damage to its equipment.

SGWS also selected the optional Auto Positioning System (APS) for the TSP Series, which guides the trucks along the most efficient path to each pick location. Along with a significant 20 percent increase in productivity, the company also discovered there were training benefits of the APS system.

“The definite advantage of the auto positioning system is that it levels the playing field, so a new employee who begins versus one who has been doing it for six months, within a short amount of time they should be able to meet the same productivity standards,” noted Michael Eljaiek, a warehouse manager for SGWS.  “It has reduced the training time from six to eight weeks down to four weeks.”

Tackling a major warehouse expansion can be quite a challenge, but with the right mix of lift trucks and technology, the end result can be more efficient and productive in a number of ways. To learn more about SGWS’ experience with the TSP Series, automated technologies and InfoLink, visit the customer results on

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