Case Study Fastenal - Manufacturing - Industries - TGW Logistics Group

Case Study Fastenal

Case Study Fastenal

    30,000 packages a day, 260,000 storage locations in the mini-load warehouse, 250,000 SKUs, high density storage

    A screen displays the part number, a quality control number and the quantity to be picked. Once all the items for an order have been picked, the tote is returned to a storage location in the mini-load.

    Trucks typically depart the facility between 10 PM and midnight so they can arrive at a branch location before it opens the next morning.

    Walter Tate, Fastenal’s manager of distribution development: “TGW had the best throughput rate for double deep storage. They clearly were a strategic partner in this project.”

“Growth through customer service” has been the motto at Fastenal, one of the nation’s largest distributors of industrial fasteners, since the company was founded in 1967.

Fastenal’s expansion in terms of store locations, number of products and inquiries demanded a new system to fill the orders for 275 stores in the Great Lakes Region and replenish stock at 13 regional distribution centres around the US.

To accommodate that growth, the Winona, Minnesota-based distributor implemented an automated storage and picking system to turn its 530,000 square foot Great Lakes Distribution Centre in Indianapolis from a regional into a master distribution centre.

Requirements & Prerequisites

  • Goods-to-person picking system
  • 260,000 storage locations in the mini-load
  • Ergonomic and efficient environment
  • Processing of 30,000 packages per day
  • High density storage

Advantages for Fastenal

  • “Touches” reduced from 12 to 2 for each item in the distribution centre
  • High picking rate per worker
  • Fewer stacker cranes due to high velocity
  • Cutting down on travel time in the DC
  • Reduced injuries through ergonomic workstations
  • Improved working moral and less staff fluctuation


New processing of 30,000 packages per day

Combined with other materials handling technologies, including a 13-crane unit load AS/RS with 52,000 pallet locations, the new system is processing an estimated 30,000 packages per day while picking from as many as 250,000 unique stock keeping units (SKUs) each month. Best of all, there is room to grow as the company continues to expand. “High density storage is huge for us,” says Walter Tate, Fastenal’s manager of distribution development.

Therefore, Fastenal values the double-deep handling base and the high throughput rates of the TGW Mustang stacker cranes, which handle up to a 200-pound load and reach some of the fastest speeds in the industry.


Mixed pallets with more than one stock keeping unit (SKU) are scanned at the receiving area and delivered to a workstation for processing. There, operators pack the cartons into a storage tote and make the corresponding entry into the Warehouse Management System (WMS). Once the tote is full, it’s conveyed to the mini-load AS/RS, where the warehouse control system (WCS) chooses a putaway location and updates the WMS.

TGW’s implementation

Now, Fastenal is equipped with 260,000 tote storage positions, 52,000 automated pallet locations and 15,000 locations for pallets in the manual storage. 32 workstations for picking-operators provide enough space for the goods-to-the-person procedures. During peak times, the 500 employees face 30,000 orders per day.


“When we looked at the market, TGW had the best throughput rate for double deep storage, and the speed of their cranes allowed us to use fewer cranes to get the same amount of work done. They clearly were a strategic partner in this project.”