What is the importance of a warehouse management system?

Emanuel Kelly, Implementation and Customer Services Manager, CartonCloud presents his tips in how to choose the right WMS. 
A good Warehouse Management System (WMS) will allow you to optimise your administration, customer and floor processes. Provide real-time and historical visibility at the touch of a button. Help strengthen your relationship with your customers and improve revenue recognition. Often less tangible but equally important is the positive impact on team morale resulting from improved business performance and reduced ‘stress events’.

  • Unable to account for customer stock holding
  • Losing time and money running on-demand stock counts and checks
  • Drowning in paper and spreadsheets
  • Wrong products and quantities sent to customers
  • Constantly have to sort through boxes of paper and spreadsheets to find history on movements
  • Struggle to find the information to accurately invoice customers
  • Administration and labour costs blowing out
  • Customers demanding real-time visibility
  • Customers want to integrate order processing from their systems
  • Losing valuable time calculating charges for your customer invoices

These are regular issues for our customers who are moving to a Warehouse Management System for the first time.
Before selecting a WMS, establish what is important to your business and business customers; be clear on what key business issues need to be resolved by moving to a WMS. Not all WMS platforms are created equal: just like people, WMS platforms have strengths drawn from experience. You may struggle to find a system that meets all of your wish list items within your budget or available time. Where a feature is not available check that the alternative options are operationally viable and/or this feature is on the development roadmap.
Some key things to think through (by no means an exhaustive list)

  • What is your budget
  • How quickly do you need to transition onto the new WMS
  • Do you have resources with the capability and available time to implement the WMS or do you need direct implementation assistance / training
  • Does the WMS need to automatically invoice your customers
  • Do you need to manage and invoice for multiple Units Of Measure (bottles, inner and outer cartons, layers, pallets etc)
  • Do you need to scan, manage or capture product barcodes, serial numbers, pallet IDs or SSCC, batch codes, manufacturing codes and/or expiry dates etc
  • Do you operate in multiple environments e.g cool store and ambient, small bin, racked and bulk storage, stock split over multiple warehouses
  • What do you need to be able to report on for your customers
  • Do you need system integration with customers, internal business systems and/or accounting systems
  • Do your customers need to be able to access the WMS to report on stock holdings, raise orders, and/or check if goods have been despatched
  • Do you need to manage on road jobs; on forwarders or your own vehicles
  • Do customer provided documents need to travel with the goods
  • What level of support does your team need from the vendor

Once you have a short list, request demonstrations showcasing how your business needs will be met; ask for case-studies and references from similar industries.
Whilst the benefits of moving to a good WMS are huge, you will need to dedicate resources, cost and time to the transition; it is important to make the right selection first time.
 
Emanuel Kelly, Implementation and Customer Services Manager, CartonCloud
 

Almondco and LINX – together investing in regional NSW’s almond industry

LINX Cargo Care Group supports its customers and their plans and visions for future sustainability right across Australia.
In regional NSW, Griffith’s almond industry has expanded over the last two years.  LINX continues to enhance its transport offering with our customer, Almondco Australia Limited, to help them meet the industry’s increasing volumes.
As a sign of its commitment to Almondco and its expansion planning, LINX has invested in co-branded trailer curtains on its B Triple Trailers. “The colourful trailers are highly visible on local and interstate roads to South Australia and we are proud to showcase our combined investment and support for the almond industry in regional NSW,” Anthony Jones, CEO, LINX Cargo Care Group said.
“Almondco are proud to be partnering with LINX to bring real value to our grower members both in the Riverina and further afield. It is important for our organisation to align ourselves with providers such as LINX, who not only have a demonstrated capability to provide superior service but also the capacity to grow with us into the future,” Brenton Paige, Almondco Australia Limited’s Group Operations Manager said.
Almondco’s manufacturing plant in Hanwood, NSW demonstrates they are here for the long haul and LINX is excited to keep their supply chain moving as they grow in the region.

The I-curve – from MHD magazine

The Amazon effect
Industry experts are still divided on the impact services like Amazon Prime will have on the retail sector. Many believe the behemoth doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself in Australia, and that consumers are unlikely to get on board – however Woolworths CEO, Brad Banducci, calls it out as a new benchmark in terms of consumer expectations of delivery.
“We think Amazon Prime is the key vehicle, we see them being successful with that in the US and we will simply need to be better at on-demand,” he said, in line with the news of Woolworths-owned Endeavour Drinks Group’s 4.5 percent sales increase. “F18 was the year of pick-up for us.”
In the US, more than 50% of shopping journeys start with Amazon – and there’s no reason to believe Aussies won’t follow suit.
Amazon’s logistics, product range and deep knowledge of its customers pose a significant threat to Australian retailers. The e-tailer knows everything about its customers, to the point where it can predict what they will buy based on past transactions, and what they might like to buy in the future.

“Unless you’re using data effectively, you’re fighting with one arm tied behind your back.” Jonathan Reeve.

According to speaker, author, e-commerce fulfilment consultant and General Manager of Eagle Eye ANZ, Jonathan Reeve, local businesses are too focused on selling. “What I’ve seen over the last 17 years is that 80% of everyone’s attention has been on the digital challenge of selling,” he says. “The physical challenge of actually getting the products to the consumer has been given 20% of their attention.”
This trend needs to be reversed, says Reeve, as customers are buying an experience. They want cheaper and more convenient delivery, and that is what Amazon is providing.
With the entrance of Amazon, the continued presence of eBay and local operations like Catch.com.au, e-commerce in Australia will continue to grow rapidly whether we like it or not. To survive this surge, retailers must enhance their ability to collect, analyse and store data, and collaborate with other businesses and consumers to offer better service and better delivery.

“Customers are buying an experience. They want cheaper and more convenient delivery, and that is what Amazon is providing.” Jonathan Reeve, General Manager, Eagle Eye ANZ.

The changing face of brand loyalty
According to Councillor Susan Riley, who is responsible for the City of Melbourne’s Small Business, Retail and Hospitality portfolio, “customers come back [to boutique stores] because they like you and they know they’re going to get the service they want. Online doesn’t provide that.
“Online is a real issue for Melbourne. So many customers come in to the store – look, feel, shake – and then go buy it online,” she says.
But brand loyalty looks very different than it used to. The in-store/online balance is key for small businesses – they must become more experiential, so that people will come in-store for the activities that surround the buying experience, as much as the buying itself.
Retail industry executive at Telstra Gareth Jude said: “Based on our studies, Australian retailers achieve up to 20% attachment rates on sales for click’n’collect. Customers buy online then come in-store – and because of the great service and experience they’ve received, they decide they need to purchase something else while they’re there.
“Boutique retailers can complement their physical, in-store experience with an online presence and function.”
While Councillor Riley may be concerned about the notion of a “city of empty shops”, e-commerce provides a significant value-add for physical retailers. As Localz’ CRO James Westlake explains, when you use Woolies’ click’n’collect, you go in to pick up your shopping – but you browse around and shop in-store first before picking it up. Or even if you don’t, by the time you get home, you’ve forgotten something you needed to include in your order.
“Brand heritage now is a reduced value compared to convenience,” he said. “When a retailer gives customers back the time they were going to lose [by enabling them to shop online], they reward the business by doing more shopping. Gifting customers this time is what creates brand loyalty.”
Mr Westlake refers to UK clothing company, River Island, as another example.
“River Island has repositioned itself as a tech company that sells clothes, so it can fulfil customer journeys. It realises clothes are its commodity – but its ability to form a relationship with its customers and help them with their lifestyle is what maintains brand relevance and loyalty.”
For High Street stores, brand is something that keeps their customers coming in the door. But now shoppers can come in the door, try something on, then go online to buy it – with next day delivery included and at a lower price than in-store.
Today’s retailers need to consider brand value versus convenience. If you’re relevant to your customers at this moment, they will like you. If you’re not relevant, the customer won’t be interested.
So, what is the answer for small and medium-sized retailers who can’t count on brand loyalty to get customers through the door (or clicking online?) According to Localz’ Louise Robertson, they need to become more experiential.
“Where you used to find a coffee shop on the high street, today you’d find a coffee shop in the back of a hairdresser’s, or with art on the wall,” she said. “Businesses are merging and becoming more experiential, which is critical for them to reinvent themselves. It’s not good enough to do what they did 20 years ago.”

 “We think Amazon Prime is the key vehicle, we see them being successful with that in the US, and we will simply need to be better at on-demand. Brad Banducci, CEO, Woolworths.

Data is knowledge is power
Consumers want complete control over their experience – and to provide this, businesses must know their customers intimately.
The key to getting e-commerce right comes down to data – and lots of it – about your customers and their habits, likes and preferences.
“As a retailer, you can always serve your customer better if you know more about them than the next guy,” said Telstra’s Gareth Jude.
Major e-tailers are continuing to turn data on its head, in stark contrast to the early periods of e-commerce when companies gathered plenty of information about their customers but didn’t know what to do with it. Businesses implemented complex CRM systems – only to have the data lay dormant.
“There’s a competitive imperative to get data right,” continued Mr Jude. “If you’re not doing anything with your data, Amazon, Alibaba and all the rest of them certainly are. And they’re going to eat your lunch.”
Jonathan Reeve concurred: “Unless you’re using data effectively, you’re fighting with one arm tied behind your back.”
Computing power and analysis are readily available as services – so there’s no excuse for Australian businesses not to be leveraging them. “Many technologies are converging, and there’s a lot more processing power available,” said Charles Edwards, Manager of supply chain management consultancy GRA. “This enables us to drive more insights from data with more data collection points, and we have the technology and computer power available to analyse it.
“It’s all about driving insights from consumer behaviour.”

“Boutique retailers can complement their physical, in-store experience with an online presence and function.” Gareth Jude, Retail Industry Executive, Telstra.

Over the horizon: the inevitable consumer mindset shift
The irrational, emotional, uneconomic Australian consumer is coming – and local businesses need to be ready. Although we might be reluctant now to share our data, the mindset shift is just over the horizon. It’s a journey that will organically happen.
Mr Edwards: “The first time I used an Uber, I thought – ‘I’d never get in to a stranger’s car!’” But his mindset changed as soon as he used the service and was amazed at its accuracy and cost-effectiveness.
Furthermore, there’s already a cognitive dissonance around how consumers share their data, and who they share it with. NBN Co’s Megan Park exclaimed: “Everyone’s opting out of MyHealthRecord – but they’re sharing their whole lives on Facebook!”
Pressure from consumers is also now being felt in the field services arena, with everyone wanting to know who, when and where their service will be delivered. The increased criticism and regulation of the European utilities is sector is driving a flow-on impact, and confidence in the Australian utilities sector is at an all-time low.
“Expectations of service delivery and parcel delivery are becoming converged,” said Localz’ regional sales director for A/NZ, Gareth Phillips. “Customers want more control and visibility of what they experience when they have their internet connected or their solar panels fitted. The Iconomy conversation is an important one for utilities and service companies to be involved in, as much as retailers.”

“Customers want more control and visibility of what they experience when they have their internet connected or their solar panels fitted. The Iconomy conversation is an important one for utilities and service companies to be involved in, as much as retailers.” Gareth Phillips Reg, Sales Director, Localz.

Online retail is only going to grow, and it remains an opportunity to be lost for local brands if they don’t take control of their own destinies and make the most of the data and the delivery services they have.
Australian businesses need to get their data analysis and deep learning right to give irrational, emotional and uneconomic consumers command of their delivery experience.
Localz’ Louise Robertson concluded: “It’s all about the human. Whatever technology we put around them, it’s all about emotions and data.”
Part 1. of this article appeared in the January-February issue of MHD Supply Chain Solutions magazine, which you can read here: https://bit.ly/2TZ3qnB. For more information visit www.localz.com.
 

National rollout of Miele

Due to healthy growth in the Australian market, premium European appliance brand, Miele, needed to increase its warehouse and distribution capacity.
As a result, they completed the national rollout of their distribution network with new larger warehouses strategically located in Sydney and Brisbane. In line with its brand promise, “Immer Besser”, which means “Forever Better”, Miele chose to work with Stow Australia (Stow).
Stow was successful in winning the contract to design and install the racking for both new warehouses, having previously designed, installed and regularly inspected their Keysborough warehouse, which was opened in 2016.
A ten-year view was applied to the planning process, and plans had to allow for a substantial increase in throughput during that time. “We sought greater capacity while simultaneously strengthening consumer service and improving our operational efficiency,” Mark Bateson, the Operations Director Miele ANZ, said.
Stow Australia was successful in winning this contract because of Miele’s satisfaction with Stow as the incumbent supplier, the value offered in the proposal and the alignment of the Stow and Miele brands.
The racking design for both new sites was a non-standard configuration due to the Euro pallets used by Miele and Stow ensured design compliance to Australian standards. The design encompassed more than 7,500 pallet locations across both sites; 2750mm beams with larger spacers were needed to allow enough space for the larger Euro pallets.
As part of the quality design, Stow was the only supplier to include steel mesh decks as part of their proposal, in line with WorkSafe recommendations, with safety-yellow beams and European-certified end frame protectors. Stow also provided a 20-year warranty on all the new racking components, subject to annual inspections being done by Stow.
Miele is extremely happy with the final product and Stow’s communication and service during the process. Martin Bates, Stow’s National Sales Manager, said “Stow are very proud to continue our relationship with Miele.”

Room to grow

Women in Industry sponsor Rockwell Automation is committed to ensuring that all its employees have room to develop and grow. Logistics & Materials Handling caught up with recently appointed logistics manager Jigna Kumar about her new role and her experience working at Rockwell Automation.
How long have you been in your current role?
I took over the Logistics Manager role a couple of months ago. I’m new to this role but I have been at Rockwell for about eight years. I have always worked around customer support and it makes sense for both Logistics and Customer Care to work hand in hand.
What does a standard day for you look like?
There is not often a standard day when you deal with customers usually but right now, I am focussing on getting to know my stakeholders, I have been spending time with my team, mainly getting to know them as I have never been directly involved with the logistics team before. From a business perspective I am connecting with our internal and external stakeholders, including our transport partners. I want to get an idea of where we are at, what we are doing well and what we can do better.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been a few career highlights within Rockwell Automation. One of the biggest changes we’ve had here at Rockwell Automation was centralising work to India. This was a project with not just systems and processes perspective, but also the people and culture side of things. When I moved to a process lead role few years back, it gave me an enormous opportunity to meet more people and different team globally. I was also nominated for Professional Women’s Council (PWC) Annual Recognition Event in the category of Mentor Champion. And now the journey continues.
What do you like about working at Rockwell?
Rockwell is a great company with so many diverse employees. It is not just focused on work but on its people development. Personally, the South Pacific team is like a small family to me– “you never think coming to work as a task”. I migrated from Malaysia about ten years ago and Rockwell is the first company I have joined in Australia. Eight years down the journey, I am still as passionate and energised like I was on day one.
What do initiatives like the Women in Industry Awards and Conference mean to you?
I think this is a great platform to get groups of women to acknowledge, discuss, communicate and share experiences. It’s also breaking through the mindset of people feeling certain industries are male-dominated. I come from a non-technical background but I found a great career path in an industry and technical focused company. There is nothing impossible and it’s all about what we want to do.
How does Rockwell demonstrate diversity?
When I joined the company in 2010, I met many people from different backgrounds who had been at the company for a very long time. One of our company focus is to diversify our team, whether it’s based on gender, age or background. We celebrate many events throughout the year, like International Food Day, Lunar Year, Halloween and many more. Even Pet Day was celebrated in the last couple of years. It feels great to see so many people from across various countries and cultures under one roof.
What are you most looking forward to in this new role?
I am very excited moving into this new extended role. This is a great opportunity to learn and understand more about the logistics sector of the business. Whether it is sourcing, supply planning, transport or warehouse, there is a lot of opportunities to meet more people, to learn and share ideas with. Connecting with people has always been my forte and I am looking forward to more.

Australian Trusted Trader

Senator Linda Reynolds, Federal Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, discusses the Australian Trusted Trader initiative and how it can help logistics businesses smarten up their supply chain as well as gain reputational and commercial benefits.
According to Austrade, Australia is now in its 26th year of consecutive annual economic growth. Australia boasts the 13th largest economy, and is forecast to realise average annual real GDP growth of 2.9 per cent of the next five years.
In 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that Australia recorded a $2.2 billion trade surplus, which is the highest ever for a calendar year. The country’s two-way trade in goods and services also hit a record high of $854 billion in 2018.
Australia’s demonstrated economic resilience, adaptability and record of steady growth is underpinned by its ability to import and export goods safely and in a low-risk environment, says Assistant Minister Linda Reynolds, Federal Assistant Minister for Home Affairs.
Export growth
Australian Trusted Trader (ATT) is a program co-designed by industry and the Australian Government in response to the increasing volumes of freight crossing the Australian border. It is free to join for businesses small and large.
“This program has been initiated to do a number of things. Firstly, facilitate the movement of trade across our borders. The people who the Government has a degree of trust in can get their imports and exports approved far quicker with this accreditation. So, it gives a much faster and efficient service,” Assistant Minister Reynolds says.
Assistant Minister Reynolds says that as supply chains are becoming increasingly complex and as the country faces ever increasing border threats, this initiative allows the Australian Border Force (ABF) to focus on high-risk, unknown or illegitimate traders rather than the law-abiding businesses. “It frees up our officers to concentrate on those whom we may want to more closely exam,” Assistant Minister Reynolds says.
“ATT was designed to keep Australian businesses competitive in international markets through streamlined customs processes, while enabling ABF officers to focus on other goods and traders that are unknown or pose a greater risk to Australia,” the Minister says.
Currently there are over 300 businesses accredited with Australian Trusted Trader status, with many logistics providers included in this list. For Assistant Minister Reynolds, there are a number of added benefits for businesses to become accredited by this initiative beyond efficiencies and time savings.
 She believes that being accredited also demonstrates to international customers the business’ own government believe that they are a reputable company, which has huge reputational and commercial benefits. 
In addition, the Australian Government has signed Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) with Canada, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Taiwan, Korea and Singapore, and is currently progressing negotiations with the US, Japan and Thailand. As well as being one of 77 Authorized Economic Operator programs recognised by the World Customs Organization.
According to Assistant Minister Reynolds, when businesses become accredited they are also presented with a rare opportunity to thoroughly assess their supply chain.
“Quite often businesses who have applied for the Australian Trusted Trader program do more work on the integrity of their supply chain overseas to minimise any risk. This has been a great benefit because there are many issues around slavery overseas. In order to become accredited, you need to demonstrate that you have a very robust supply chain,” she says.
Mutual benefits
This program has enabled industry, the ABF and the Government to work closer together. “Being accredited gives businesses access to a dedicated ABF account manager. This is a first point of contact with someone who they know and who knows their business,” Assistant Minister Reynolds says.
It also gives businesses a seat at the table to work with government and border control to improve processes.
“A lot of the feedback I have had from businesses is very positive on the relationship side of things. Many of the businesses tell me that a lot of the issues they wanted improved have been actioned as a result of this relationship,” she says.
Another area the Minister is particularly proud of is the recent updates to the program in terms of the process for businesses to apply. “I am very pleased that the ABF and the Department of Home Affairs have worked closely together to streamline the process, which cumbersome to begin with,” she says.
To be eligible for ATT, a business needs to have a two-year trading history, an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be financially solvent.
Importers, exporters, brokers, and freight forwarders involved in the movement of physical goods across the border are all eligible and Assistant Minister Reynolds urges all businesses, large and small, to apply.
“If businesses have the relevant information and accounts in good order it can take as little as an hour to complete the application form online and then the ABF will visit the business and validate the information that has been provided,” she says.
For Assistant Minister Reynolds, there are great benefits for smaller businesses too. She recalls the 300th accredited business was a small business based in Perth with only 12 employees.
“Small businesses are time and resource poor, so this accreditation allows them to get their goods over the border quickly and with less expense,” she says.
This accreditation is part of a broader trade modernisation program that Assistant Minister Reynolds is responsible for. “I think international trade is changing globally, and very quickly. We have to do things faster, cheaper and with more risks. Any reduction in red tape is a good thing. With this initiative, we want to make sure that we match the processes elsewhere in the world and keep up with the pace of change to keep Australia a global business leader,” Assistant Minister Reynolds says.

Transforming Galipo Foods through voice-activated automation

You need to be able to adapt to thrive in the business world. No industry reflects this hard fact more than logistics. Enterprises spanning multiple industries need to keep abreast of new ways of working and the latest technology trends – without this insight, outdated operations will eventually grind productivity down.

When Galipo Foods began its working relationship with Cohesio, it was turning over around $45 million annually. Working through paper-based operations, including in ordering, picking and stock take, the business was reaching peak efficiency – for what they were using.

Seven years later, Galipo now makes $110 million every year using Cohesio-designed warehouse execution software and voice-activated solutions for streamlined productivity.

“This enterprise partnership has been one of our greatest successes, with more opportunities for automated operational growth on the horizon,” says Nathan Narayanan, General Manager for Galipo Foods.

Improving operations on more than paper

Current Head of Innovation, Rizan Mawzoon engaged Galipo through a past working relationship. “We started talking to Cohesio Group about potential solutions that could help streamline operational processes while expanding production,” added Nathan. Galipo had toyed with the idea of switching from paper in the past but hadn’t found a partner who could help them make the leap.

But the bureaucracy and inefficiency of strictly paper-driven operations were beginning to become too great a hindrance. With paper, Galipo found their limitations in:

Increased likelihood of human error from misreading data sheets. Additionally, any attempts to address these issues usually ended with increased printing costs.

The operational cost of paper and printing, which was becoming an increasingly glaring and unneeded cost for the business.

Less effective stock take, ordering and item picking. This came from having incomplete data to hand with a limited paper system.

These ineffective components of paper-based work meant Galipo had to make a change.

Implementing automated change

In 2011 Galipo Foods began consultation to find a warehouse execution system that would suit their operations.

Their unique structure meant the enterprise system needed to be service- and customer driven, not locked into a rigid set of protocols.

So, in 2014, Cohesio Group went back to the drawing board and designed a bespoke system framework that was mapped onto existing operational processes and optimised to include cutting-edge voice technology.

The impact was instantaneous. This initial bespoke solution is now a staple solution for Cohesio Group. Gone was the risk of human error in misinterpreting datasets or misplacing records. Cohesio’s software digitised the warehouse execution system process seamlessly, storing all data in an easy-to-access portal. The voice-activated technology, meanwhile, enabled Galipo employees to access any operational data needed instantly, hands-free. This saved a great deal of time when picking items for delivery and conducting stock audits.

With these voice-activated changes up and running, Galipo’s operations have gone from strength to strength. Over the last four years, the organisation has seen internal business errors dip from around 5 per cent across the supply chain to just 2 per cent. This has dropped the business well below the industry average for operational errors and represents tens of thousands in savings year-to-year. This efficiency has been reinvested into the enterprise, with warehouse productivity and stock turnover doubling without any additional hires.

But Cohesio’s in-house developed software and voice-activated automation have done more than just improve Galipo’s way of working. It helps the organisation stay competitive as South Australia’s largest food service distributor that is still locally owned and operated. Cohesio has also helped Galipo maintain high standards of service over the last near-half decade. The organisation was voted the Number One Foodservice Distributor nationwide in 2014, 2016 and 2017 by the Foodservice Suppliers Association of Australia. Voice technology as key to these successes.

The Cohesio team is thrilled to have helped Galipo Foods expand over the last few years, and looks forward to implementing more automation and supply chain solutions.

Something new in the forklift market

Bringing with it new technology like lithium-ion batteries and state-of-the-art automation, Jungheinrich Australia is ready to make a lasting impact on the Australian forklift market.
Over the past 35 years not a lot has changed in the Australian forklift market, according to Grant Stewart, Sales and Marketing Director of Jungheinrich Australia. “There has been gradual technological tweaks over that time, but in general, everything has followed a market-driven standard that is as simple as asking customers what type of units they would like and how many,” he says.
Internationally, however, things have moved on. In Europe, Asia and elsewhere, rather than simply selling forklifts, suppliers offer complete warehousing ‘solutions’,” Grant says.
“The Australian market has now reached something in the order of 20,000 units and it’s ready for a change. It’s time for Australia to catch up with the rest of the world,” he says.
Jungheinrich Australia
As Stewart explained, the company began life three years ago when its German-based parent company Jungheinrich Group purchased a local dealership.
“After three years of strategy and planning, we are now ready to change the face of the Australian materials handling sector,” Grant says.
With 30 years’ experience in the industry, Stewart has held senior positions with international responsibilities within the material handling industry in Australia. His most recent role was as a Director of this country’s largest forklift company in Australia.
“I was actually retired, but the opportunity to come on board with Jungheinrich was enough to make me change my plans. The game-changing potential of their technology was something I couldn’t resist,” he says.
As Sales Director, Stewart oversees a team of five state-based sales managers who together boast in excess of 200 years’ experience in the electric forklift market.
In addition, the company recently welcomed David Calleia –  who previously headed operations at one of SE Asia’s largest OEMs, and himself has more than 30 years’ experience, as its Key Account Manager, in turn David has put together arguably the most experienced team of industry professionals available. They include Michael Harris, Chris Burns, Luis Astudillo, Johan Nieuwland and Brian Power and Calleia is still looking to employ more industry leaders.
With the majority of his team now in place, the company is ready to go to market.
New technologies
Jungheinrich Australia’s plan to bring Australia’s materials handling market into the 21st century rests on three key factors –  lithium-ion battery technology, automation and intralogistics.
The example of a major Australian retailer, which used to run forklifts equipped with traditional lead-acid batteries but recently converted to Jungheinrich lithium-ion battery powered units, illustrates the benefits of this lithium-ion battery technology.
Before the change, the operation required three batteries per truck to get through each shift. To do that, they needed to store two batteries, while the units were in use. With more than 100 units on site, they needed enough storage space for 400 batteries, as well as enough (skilled) labour to charge them.
“On the three-shift operation it would take half an hour to 40 minutes to change a battery and set it up to get charged. That’s two and a half hours non-recoverable labour before anything starts,” Grant says.
After changing to lithium-ion batteries, they could actually run three shifts on one battery. Unheard of in this country, this made it possible for the customer to immediately cut those extra labour hours.
Automation is another key development that Jungheinrich Australia brings to the market.
For example, the company’s automated guided vehicles (AGVs), available in either full or semi-automated models, can eliminate the need of an operator for the vehicle for those very repetitive tasks of moving product in a production or warehouse facility over the same path. These AGVs could be seen as the way of the future of MHE.
Jungheinrich has also introduced another semi-automated vehicle which is their ECE225 low level order picker with EASYPILOT remote operation. This order picker will follow the picker around the warehouse aisles therefore eliminating the need for the operator to jump in and off to move the vehicle to the next pick spot. Like Lithium-Ion batteries, they offer impressive efficiency improvements in terms of picking items, labour cost etc.
Then, the company’s warehouse management system, which enables communication between trucks, allows companies to fully integrate their operations.
One-stop materials handling provider
Jungheinrich Australia’s upcoming introduction of an intralogistics department is set to transform it into Australia’s first one-stop materials handing provider.
Far from a simple forklift supplier, it will become an intralogistics provider with the capacity to find Greenfield sites for clients, then build, automate and equip it with everything from racking, forklifts and cranes to software.
“Unlike the rest of the market, Jungheinreich Australia offers integrated solutions. It’s not about the forklift. It’s about the solution, the service, and the consulting,” Grant says.
Rather than delivering a single quote, the company works with each new customer to provide the best possible solution. Because their portfolio includes manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic forklifts, they have no bias for any of these options.
“If the right truck is an internal combustion model , we’ll use our internal combustion model, but if the right truck is a very narrow aisle turrow truck, that’s the way that we’ll go,” said Stewart.
In terms of automation a staged introduction is also possible. Customers can purchase a standard truck, then we can semi-automate it and then we can automate that same unit.
“A staged introduction means less disruption to a business in terms of things like cutting half an existing workforce overnight. It allows for more gradual change,” Grant says.
The Jungheinrich Group
An international market leader, Jungheinrich employs 18,000 people in 40 countries and sold 125,000 forklifts worldwide last year.
One advantage of dealing with Jungheinrich is that the company is able to negotiate contracts that cover the entire global operations of large organisations. In other words, they can service the needs of these customers in Europe, Asia, the US –  and wherever else they operate –  under the one umbrella agreement.
Now, Jungheinrich Australia’s introduction brings this capacity to the Australian market.
With this in mind, the company is particularly targeting larger ‘key accounts’ across all industries. Indeed, according to Stewart, the company has already had some major wins in this area.
However, as he was quick to add, this focus in no way diminishes the company’s dedication to its other customers.
“Our commitment to all customers, regardless of their size, is one of the main reasons we are a global market leader. However, because we live in a globalised world, we also recognise the importance of  guaranteeing our key accounts worldwide sustained quality as well as continuity of service,” he says.
“Recently we met a customer who said one of our main competitors had offered to fly him to Japan or the US to talk to their experts in semi-automation.”
Their response said it all.
“We didn’t need to put him on a 15-hour flight. We put him in the car and drove him 15 minutes to the next suburb to talk to our semi-automation expert,” Grant says.
Sounds like that ‘something new’ has well and truly arrived.

The future is electric

Zowell’s electric materials handling solutions are set to arrive in Australia through a new partnership with agriculture specialist Vin Rowe. 
The global forklift truck market is high-growth industry, with an anticipated 6.4 per cent growth forecast for the period of 2019-2024, according to the Global Forklift Truck Market – Technologies, Market Share and Industry Forecast 2024 report by ResearchAndMarkets.
One of the key trends that is positively influencing the growth of the forklift truck market is technological advancements which help improve forklifts efficiency and productivity.
Geographically, Asia-Pacific dominates the global forklift market due to a rise in urbanisation and industrialisation, according to ResearchAndMarkets. China’s fast-growing e-commerce sector is leading to a significant drive in the demand for more technologically and economically advanced forklift trucks.
A key aspect of these advancements is the rising adoption of the electric forklift truck, which is a major contributor to this growth as more and more businesses make the switch to electric solutions.
Graham Rowe, Director  at Vin Rowe recognised this industry as a significant growth sector, with an emphasis on electric materials handling solutions.
“Our initial interest in this sector was the electric forklifts as we believe that as this technology advances there will be requirements for any warehouse to operate an electric only fleet,” Graham says.
Graham’s background is in agricultural machinery distribution, and his business, Vin Rowe, has been operating since 1961. “We are primarily an importer and distributor of agricultural machinery but we started to become interested in the materials handling sector as a lot of our customers were using forklifts in their sheds,” Graham says.
The business currently provides a large range of the latest agricultural equipment to the Australian farming community. They have more than 50 years’ experience servicing this industry. “We understand the importance of a fast and reliable parts service and stock extensive range. Our fully qualified service technicians service all models of machinery and equipment,” Graham says.
Vin Rowe is now moving into the materials handling sector, with the backing of more than three generations of expertise, experience and reputation. Having been trusted by the best European agricultural manufacturers for many years, Vin Rowe is now entering a new venture with Zowell, a Chinese manufacturer of electric materials handling equipment.
A new collaboration
In late 2017, Vin Rowe initially trialled some of Zowell’s best-selling electric forklifts to get an idea for how the products perform. “We trialled them as we didn’t want to put them straight out to the market. After a few months of using the product we were really impressed and Zowell then approached us to work with them in presenting the range at an exhibition in Melbourne,” Graham says.
Zowell has more than 15 years’ experience in the materials handling sector and is focused on research and development. The products are designed with comfort, stable operation and efficiency features.
The range that Vin Rowe will bring to Australia covers a series of products that includes electric counterbalance forklift trucks, electric reach trucks, electric reach stacker, electric power pallet jack, electric lift stacker and electric tugger. The products are used in a variety of warehouse applications across almost every sector including automotive, food and beverage and medical.
Made in China, serviced in Australia
The Vin Rowe team pride themselves on their ability to offer a great service to any product that they distribute here in Australia, something that the business has been doing with agricultural products for more than 50 years.
“One of our technical engineers went over to China to be trained on the entire products that we will be distributing here in Australia. We now have staff who can service and repair the Zowell products locally,” Graham says.
Vin Rowe is Zowell’s only distributor in Australia and is responsible for introducing, selling and offering the after-service for the full range of Zowell’s material handling equipment.
Zowell will continue to support Vin Rowe in training its engineers so that they can continue to offer ongoing service and sales support. In addition, Zowell will visit the Vin Rowe team in Warragul, Victoria twice a year to continue training and development.
So far Graham has been very impressed with the way that the relationship with Zowell is developing and he is excited to get the products out to market.
“We can see that the future is electric and we wouldn’t want to be left behind. We’re excited to bring these new products to Australia,” Graham says.
 
 
 

Solving the puzzle of fitting more pallet spaces into less area

Return on Investment (ROI) is becoming a more common concept in evaluating material handling equipment and storage solutions. Company owners and shareholders are asking ‘how can we fit MORE into LESS?”
In the Australian market, company executives are expecting more and more from their investment with greater density and increased retrieval speeds. One way to achieve this has been with a deep-lane storage solution, but historically this has been overlooked because it was economically impracticable – until now. Thanks to the latest generation of Stow’s pallet shuttle systems (sometimes referred to as satellite racking) this is now a genuine option.
The pallet shuttle system is ideally suited for companies storing a large number of items with a small number of SKUs, including cold storage (meat and beverages), agribusiness and large items.
The pallet shuttle system consists of a shuttle – specific rack and an automated mobile
shuttle. The shuttle is a self-powered device that runs on rails in the storage lanes to autonomously load and unload pallets. The only human intervention is via a remote control that is used to select the mode of operation and start/stop. The Stow Atlas system complies with the European FEM and Australian Standards, and the quality is assured to ISO 9001. All components have been thoroughly tested in specialised laboratories and are very cost-effectively produced in Stow’s fully automated manufacturing unit to a high – quality standard.
More and more companies are opting for automated storage solutions, such as shuttle racking to improve productivity with less manual handling required. Stow installed the Atlas Shuttle and selective pallet racking for Select Harvests, encompassing over 22,000 pallet positions. The Atlas shuttle is unique to Stow and Stow is one of the only storage manufacturers world-wide that manufactures their own pallet shuttle system in-house so it is fully integrated with Stow racking solutions.
As explained by Select Harvests’ Project Leader, “the Stow Atlas pallet shuttle is the best solution for us as it automatically picks up heavy pallets in a row and takes them to the desired destination. We opted for shuttle racking to maximize the area available in our warehouse. As we’ve had experience in the past with satellite systems, we know this solution works. We deal with many contractors in all aspects of our business. But I would say that our experience with Stow has them up there with our best major contractors … some who have worked with us for years.”
Stow’s Atlas II Shuttle System has considerable developments upon the original Atlas Shuttle design. The shuttles productivity and speed are increased ensuring maximum warehouse efficiency and productivity. Coupled with these product improvements are the smaller, more powerful and longer lasting 48v Lithium Yttrium batteries. These batteries have been developed to increase usable time up to 16 hours per battery recharge and decrease the batteries recharge time down to 3 hours.
Stow Australia has completed/is in the process of completing a number of Stow Atlas II Shuttle Installations for clients including:

  • Gundagai Meat Processors in NSW
  • Australian Lamb in Colac, Victoria
  • Nolan Meats in Gympie, QLD
  • Remedy Kombucha in Melbourne
  • Fujitsu in Sydney
  • WINC Stationary in Sydney and Melbourne
  • Timberline Bathroom Products in Armidale, NSW

As a global manufacturer, quality and innovation is at the heart of the Stow brand. Averys Stow continues to invest heavily in automation and quality assurance processes. We are in the final testing phase for the Stow Atlas III, which has several new features and benefits, including:

  • Precise DC brushless motors with integrated drives for better finetuning, fast and secure data communication and less maintenance
  • Modular embedded PC with faster processing speed, improved connectivity, secure backups, simulation of various situations, onboard diagnostics and expandability for future needs
  • 16 enhanced sensors, overhang detection, status lights and indicators for improved safety and operator usage
  • Better protection and online charging of the batteries.

At Stow Australia, we provide industry-specific products and solutions. This includes high quality European designed and manufactured pallet shuttles, pallet racking and beams to bear heavy loads, multi-level mezzanine storage areas for small parts, variable sized racking for odd-shaped stock and deep lane storage solutions for parts that don’t need to be accessible at all times.
Are you searching for the most efficient deep-lane high density storage solution? Talk to the experts. For more information about our products and services, visit our website or call us on 1800 438 786.

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