Unloading Liquor Bottles with Destuff-it™


At a liquor distributor’s multiple inbound shipping docks, internationally-sourced shipments of floor-loaded cases of vintage wines were being unloaded manually. The fragile and expensive product required manual handling to prevent damage. To unload the cases from shipping containers, typically two workers pushed and pulled coupled sections of their host powered flexible roller conveyor into position. As unloading progressed, workers pulled the conveyor further into the container. This labor intensive work demanded repetitive lifting, twisting and carrying to the conveyor system. Additionally, workers reached overhead to grasp ceiling-height cases.

On average, 1,920 containers were unloaded annually. Each container had an average of 1,148 cases. There were two 8-hour shifts working daily at a burdened labor rate of $25 per hour. Typically two workers unloaded containers. In addition, shipments often contained mixed SKUs of product arranged in an irregular stack. While unloading, workers manually sorted the cases to manage product for the benefit of workers upstream in the warehouse. Relocating the conveyor system to the staggered multiple docks was time consuming and strenuous. Excessive pushing, pulling and repositioning was required to snake the conveyor path for product transfer.

The company’s health and safety committee had determined an ergonomic intervention was required to address multiple MSD injuries caused by the demands of the manually-extensive work. They also sought to reduce unload times and increase their centers warehouse capacity.


The Solution

Automated unloading was explored, however, it was expensive and the potential for damaging the product due to mishandling was high. By introducing the Destuff-it™, the company realized over 100% productivity gain as well as several ergonomic benefits for workers. Overall, the company experienced increased productivity, shorter unload times, increased warehouse capacity, reduced worker fatigue and injury, and an overall enhanced workplace. It was so well-received by workers, there was a clear preference in using the machine over the traditional unloading method. Because the productivity metrics showed the Destuff-it was so effective, the company ordered additional devices for their other facilities.

  Conventional Unload Method  Unloading with the Destuff-it™
No. of People for Current Unit Rate 2 1
Average Time to Unload Container 2 hours 1.77 hours
Container Unload Rate (per hour) 575 650 
Total Man Hours to Unload Container 4 hours 1.77 hours

After analysis was completed by the retailer, they stated that using a Destuff-it would save the company $121,000 annually.