Wheeler Brothers

Quick Facts

Deploy voice-directed order selection for conveyable and non-conveyable products
1.8 Million Sq.Ft.
TEAM size
technology utilized
products handled
Automotive Components and Assemblies
Improved picking efficiency with voice prompts

Wheeler Brothers is a subsidiary of VSE and services warehouse fleet vehicles.

VSE is a broadly diversified company focused on creating, sustaining, and improving the systems, equipment, and processes of their customers through core competencies in supply chain management, legacy systems sustainment, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), obsolescence management, prototyping, reverse engineering, technology insertion, foreign military sales, management consulting, and process improvement. Wheeler Brothers is a subsidiary of VSE and services fleet vehicles in their warehouse in Somerset, PA. Wheeler manages inventory at many facilities across the country to facilitate repairs to fleet vehicles. Their largest client is the USPS


The Wheeler Brother warehouse processes stock orders throughout the day to restock the standard inventory at 280 locations for the USPS. They also pick additional orders that are non-stock orders for emergencies and orders that are for other customers.

The Daifuku Intralogistics America portion of the project involved the design, development, testing and deployment of a voice directed work installation for order selection of products in the following areas:

  • Stock Order Conveyable and Non - Conveyable
  • Non Stock Order Conveyable and Non - Conveyable


In the future, the host WMS system will take large orders and break them down into smaller pieces of work for each work zone. Every zone that has a pick for an order will have a separate group of work to complete for that order. The voice system will handle the fulfillment of orders in the picking module as well as in the non-conveyable racking. Orders that contain products from both areas will be matched up after the picking is complete. The host WMS system will combine these orders together using information from the voice system. Shorted items will be handled by the WMS system to address or cancel items as needed. If the Host WMS system does not have a screen to accomplish this work, the shorted items can be available in the Voice System screens.


The Conveyable Stock order area is the largest group of orders to process every day. The WMS system takes large orders for each customer and break them into smaller Control Numbers in order to break the orders into separate work assignments for each picking zone. Operators always start work with a Red Tote. The Red Tote is the controlling Tote ID for an order and is the lead tote for all of the items and totes selected in a work zone. The Red Tote is trailed by other totes that contain items for the order that did not fit into the first Red Tote. When an operator starts an order with a Red Tote, the system asks if the operator wants to select the order in normal order or reverse order. When the operator responds the system instructs him to go to the first picking location. Operators respond with the location check digit and are then informed of the quantity to select.

The operator speaks the quantity that is actually picked and places it into an empty tote for the current order. Operators continue picking product until all of the items for the orders inducted are selected or shorted. The system tells the operator that all picks are complete and the operator captures all Tote IDs for the assignments and pushes the totes onto the takeaway conveyor. The Non-Conveyable Stock Order area operators pick the larger bulky items for stock orders. Operators in this region pick a single customer at a time and may pick multiple containers for that single order. The system does not necessarily have to track each container during selection, but does need to provide all information for the WMS to print a list of the contents of all containers when picking is complete. Wheeler Bros., Inc. The operators induct orders by requesting the next order from the voice system.

The operators start their order by being directed to a pick location. The operator will confirm the location check digit and is told the pick quantity. The operator then confirms the pick quantity; place the item in their container and then move on to the next location. When operators have completely filled a container, they inform the voice system that they are closing a container. The voice system then informs the host WMS system that a container is complete, and the printer designated by the selector. The WMS system prints a container contents sheet for all items that have been picked for the container. This sheet is picked up by the selector and attached to the container so that packing and further processing will be able to identify the items.

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