LCBO’s Durham Retail Service Centre. April 2014

Destuff-It Success

LCBO technological innovation gives other retailers a lift.

(APRIL 2014)—Four years ago, the destuffing platform was a concept in the mind of Bruce Pizzolato, director of the Durham Warehouse. Today, the Destuff-It is a trademarked machine in use at warehouses belonging to the LCBO and other companies in Canada and the U.S.

Container destuffing has long been one of the most arduous and labour-intensive tasks carried out in warehouses. It involves a great deal of lifting and bending that is wearing and could result in injury. Bruce had investigated and trialed various solutions throughout the years, but nothing suited Durham’s purposes.

But the various options that came and went through the years got Bruce thinking.
He mapped out his idea on paper. It was an extendable platform that could lift an employee and a conveyor up and down, allowing for the safe sliding of cases onto the conveyor. It would limit the amount of bending, twisting and reaching an employee needed to do to unload the contents of the container.
Bruce showed the drawing to President & CEO Bob Peter, who thought it was excellent and worth investigating further.

Bruce took the concept to Engineering Lifting Systems (ELS), an engineering group based in Elmira, Ontario, and asked the firm to make the necessary refinements to build a working model. It went through a couple of generations and, after extensive testing, was implemented in Durham and other LCBO facilities.

The destuffing platform is being commercialized outside the LCBO by ELS. The unique device has been sold to a number of Canadian and U.S. customers, ranging from Fortune 100 companies handling consumer goods to third-party logistics companies that handle goods for well known retailers, such as Canadian Tire, Proctor & Gamble and Rubbermaid.

“The Destuff-It is unique in that it positions the operator in the optimal ergonomic position for handling boxes, but also positions the conveyor to allow for efficient, almost effortless transfer,” says Richard Kat, vice president, Sales & Marketing at ELS.

The destuffing platform is another business innovation that showcases the LCBO as a dynamic, progressive, world-class retailer.

In addition to safer lifting and unloading, Bruce has observed an increase in throughput, which rose from a rate of 300 cases per person an hour to 425 cases – almost a 50 per cent improvement.

“Everything we do here revolves around looking at how we can do things differently, and how we can do them better and more efficiently and more ergonomically,” Bruce says. “I’m thankful to Bob and Executive Vice-President George Soleas for their continued support in turning great ideas into reality.”

George gave credit where it was due. “LCBO is fortunate to have employees like Bruce, who are passionate about getting the job done as efficiently as possible and also have the creativity to conceptualize and implement a solution,” George says.

Richard added that the success of the Destuff-It product line has been good for ELS’s business and the Ontario economy, as it required the hiring of new personnel, including engineering, assembly and skilled trades. “Our customers have also benefited by having a safer, more efficient workforce,” he says.

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