Amazon uses fulfilment centre rooftops to generate clean energy

Amazon has launched a solar energy initiative which will see the e-commerce company install solar systems on 50 fulfilment facility rooftops worldwide by 2020.
The initial 15 solar projects planned for completion by the end of 2017 will generate up to 41MW of power at Amazon facilities in California, New Jersey, Maryland, Nevada and Delaware. Depending on the specific project, time of year and other factors, the company reports that a solar installation could generate as much as 80 per cent of a single fulfilment facility’s annual energy needs. Solar panels installed on the rooftop of the fulfilment centre in Patterson, California, cover more than three-quarters of the 1.1 million square foot building’s rooftop and will power the hundreds of Amazon Robotics utilised by associates at ground-level.
“As our fulfilment network continues to expand, we want to help generate more renewable energy at both existing and new facilities around the world in partnership with community and business leaders,” said Dave Clark, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations, Amazon. “We are putting our scale and inventive culture to work on sustainability – this is good for the environment, our business and our customers. By diversifying our energy portfolio, we can keep business costs low and pass along further savings to customers. It’s a win-win.”

Dematic to build advanced warehouse solution for Sigma Pharmaceuticals in QLD

Australian full-line pharmacy wholesaler and distributor Sigma Pharmaceuticals has awarded a contract to Dematic for an advanced materials handling solution.
Sigma currently services more than 4,000 pharmacies nationwide, with over 15,000 product lines daily. The company has a national network of 15 distribution centres and makes in excess of one million deliveries to customers by road, sea and air each year.
Sigma’s new 15,000-square metre DC in Berrinba, Queensland – due for completion by October 2017 – will feature temperature controlled cool rooms and primarily service the company’s network of pharmacies in Queensland and northern New South Wales.
“Our new Queensland distribution centre is critical to servicing the growing needs of Sigma’s network of retail pharmacy brands in northern Australia,” said Richard Church, General Manager Logistics for Sigma Pharmaceuticals. “The warehouse will enable our business to continue to grow while meeting customer needs with accuracy and speed. We look forward to working with Dematic on this crucial initiative.”
To maximise space and efficiency in the DC, Dematic will manufacture and supply a selective racking capable of storing 6,347 pallets, along with a voice system to facilitate the picking of products in manual areas.

CEVA Logistics opens Australasian HQ in Victoria

CEVA Logistics has officially opened its transport, distribution and logistics hub in Truganina. The facility is the largest in the southern hemisphere and will service clients including General Motors Holden, Continental Tyres, NBN Co, Michelin, Caltex, Accent Group and Mazda.
The $80 million, 166,000 square metre supersite – equivalent to eight MCG playing fields – will employ 250 workers in Melbourne’s west and create around 40 new positions.
CEVA will also operate Nissan Australia’s new state-of-the-art National Distribution Centre.
CEVA joins other major companies such as NewCold Logistics, Border Express, Toll, Linfox, DB Schenker, Silk Logistics and Australia Post who’ve chosen Melbourne as the location for their corporate headquarters.
In a press statement, Minister for Industry and Employment, Wade Noonan, welcomed the news. “Transport, distribution and logistics are some of Victoria’s most important industry sectors, contributing $21 billion annually to the state economy and employing around 260,000 people across Melbourne and regional Victoria,” he said. “The Andrews Labor Government will continue to support the logistics industry in Victoria – a huge contributor of jobs and economic opportunity state-wide.”
“With Australia’s largest container port and a 24-hour, curfew free airport – it’s little wonder Melbourne has become the logistics capital of Australia” said Minister for Industry and Employment, Wade Noonan. “Transport, distribution and logistics are big sectors for our state, contributing billions to the Victorian economy and creating tens of thousands of jobs.”
Member for Tarneit, Telmo Languiller added, “This is an exciting investment for the Truganina area, supporting local jobs and strengthening the state’s logistics industry.”
CEVA employs more than 42,000 people in more than 160 different countries, including around 1,800 in Australia.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Andrew Jenkinson, CEVA’s Vice President of contract logistics, announced that the group handles ‘reverse logistics’, transporting and dealing with defective items returned from stores or car dealerships and warranty issues or replacements of goods.
“We’re very involved in their supply chain. We have assessors in every state who go and inspect and say it’s a genuine warranty claim or not. It’s all processed online.”
Eight B-doubles will be able to unload at once at the new CEVA structures, on continuous loading docks with levellers.
The structures feature 4,000sqm of rooftop solar panels, rainwater storage, smart movement-sensing lights that switch on and off automatically and technology including advanced racking, traffic management and material handling systems. The facility is also trialling forklifts motion sensors that detect the specially tagged safety vests one people walking nearby. This equipment can shut the forklifts down in case of accidents, and can also track their movements and cargo weight to increase efficiency.
The 166,000sqm site is one of eight major sites on Australia’s east coast leased to CEVA by developer and builder Frasers Property Australia.

Mammut raises logistics performance with new distribution centre

Mammut recently celebrated its 150th anniversary with a new 25 million EURO distribution centre (DC) at Wolfertschwenden in Germany’s Allgäu region, 12km south of Memmingen.

In the mid-90s, Mammut had a turnover of around 30 million Euros. Today Mammut’s turnover is more than 185 million Euros.

Accordingly, its logistics requirements have increased substantially over the years, with the company’s distribution centre already having to move twice since its German business was established in 1987.

Mammut previously operated two main warehouses in Europe – one at Seon in Switzerland and one at Memmingen in Germany.

“By 2009 it became clear our warehouses were too small and we started investigating a new central distribution location in Europe,” explained MSG’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, Josef Lingg.

“Since about 70% of our turnover is generated in the EU, we opted for a location directly on the A7 in Germany. In addition to locating the DC on an optimal traffic route for distribution and its proximity to Switzerland, the availability of our experienced logistics staff in Memmingen was an important factor,” he said.

In late 2009/early 2010 Mammut began working on a concept for a new manually-operated DC, which included renting a three-floor, multi-functional logistics building with a total area of 38,000m2. However, projected high operating costs for the DC forced Mammut to revisit the concept before proceeding.

A cost-saving, intelligent logistics solution

In March 2010 Dematic was given the task of checking the manual concept against part or full automation.

“Dematic has earned a good reputation in warehouse technology with excellent order picking and handling services, and presently justifies its market lead in the area of shuttle technology,” said Lingg.

Dematic analysed Mammut’s inventory and order profiles during average and peak seasons, forecast turnover and volume growth up to 2015, and also took into account Mammut’s desire to pick and pack according to item type.

A new logistics concept was developed with a highly automated solution clearly delivering the optimum combination of return on investment (ROI), performance and operating costs.

Dematic’s automated DC concept reduced the space required for the new DC from 160,000 m3 to 130,000 m3, which enabled Mammut to lower the total investment in buildings and logistics from 27.5 to 25 million Euros.

“Construction costs could also be reduced from 22.5 million Euros to 15 million Euros,” Lingg added.

As well as reducing fixed costs, Dematic’s automated DC concept also significantly reduced operating and labour costs. Dematic’s solution also minimises energy use, with only minimal heating and lighting required in the 90,000 m3 Multishuttle warehouse.

From signing the contract in May 2011 to the scheduled commencement of operations on November 1, 2012, Dematic only had 17 months in which to implement the new DC.

Refreshing the supply chain

Mammut took the opportunity presented by building the new DC to optimise its entire supply chain and, with its suppliers, to implement a new uniform packaging concept.

Cartons with snap-on lids in two basic sizes – small (400x600mm) and large (800x600mm) – are geared to the new system,eliminating the need for trays or bins. After picking, the cartons can also be reused for shipping, saving around 200,000 cartons per annum.

Key elements of the DC include:

Inbound goods: Stock is typically received in shipping containers and unloaded onto a telescopic conveyor, where carton weights are automatically checked for accuracy.

Rapid Store replenishment warehouse: All cartons are initially stored in the six-aisle, 140,000 bay replenishment warehouse, which has a total of six RapidStore SRMs capable of handling two small cartons at a time, and can store or retrieve cartons up to three deep per bay. Items required for picking are moved from here into the Multishuttle warehouse.

The warehouse is also utilised as temporary storage for pre-labelled customer cartons, which can be cross-docked directly to the shipping area.

Multishuttle picking warehouse: The heart of Mammut’s new DC is the four-aisle Multi shuttle picking warehouse with 12 storage levels providing a total of 20,000 bays. Each storage level has its own shuttle and each aisle has its own lift, so that put-away and retrieval can be handled simultaneously on different levels, with up to 600 double cycles per aisle per hour. A feature of the system is the first use of Dematic’s new lighter, faster and more economical Multishuttle 2.

“As a result of the new control,communication and sensor concept, the Multishuttle 2 can process the cartons directly without the use of additional trays, and this was an important requirement for Mammut,” Dematic’s Project Manager, Udo Rogowsky said.

Within the Multishuttle system, only items required for orders are kept in stock, which enables the system to be half the height of the replenishment warehouse. Because of this it was possible to house the Multishuttle system on the upper floor, enabling additional space on the ground floor to be kept free for inbound goods and shipping functions.

Inventory staging buffer: A sequencing tower pre-sorts cartons from the Multishuttle system and conveys them in the required order assembly sequence to nearby order picking stations.

“This enables heavy items to be sorted first and then the sorting of clothes according to size and colour, so that they are shelf-ready when they arrive at the store,”  Rogowsky said.

Goods-to-Person (GTP) picking: With the aid of a pick-to-light (PTL) system, up to three orders can be processed simultaneously at each of the four order picking stations. PTL displays indicate how many items must be removed from each carton and put to the relevant orders.

Approximately 400 order lines with an average of three items per line can be processed at each picking station each hour.

Value-added services stations: Some orders must be processed at the value-added services stations, which are situated beside the picking stations and are connected to the conveyor system. Here special tags or customised label sizes and label designs are attached to the goods,coat-hangers are removed or special cartons used.

Packing stations: Orders received by 1.00pm are processed the same day and assembled for shipping. From the picking station, the order goes down by lift to four packing stations on the ground floor. Here the operators insert consignment notes and other shipping documents into the cartons, and label the sealed cartons.

Outbound goods: Cartons are then either conveyed to a palletising station to be shipped by a freight contractor, or to one of two telescopic conveyors in the outbound area for packages going to Germany and Switzerland.

Dematic's system scores top marks

Dematic’s Material Flow Controller (MFC) receives transport orders from Mammut’s Warehouse Management System (WMS), calculates the route distances, and generates and manages transport orders according to priority, sequence and status. In addition, MFC controls the conveyor system and manages system operation, with any bottlenecks, disruptions and system capacity issues considered when orders are issued.

Dematic’s Logistics Cockpit gives the warehouse manager information about the current state of the entire system, and provides the necessary tools to supervise the processes and functions efficiently. 

Commenting on Dematic’s performance Mammut’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, Josef Lingg, said: “it was a great achievement that we could actually start operations with such a complex project on the exact date.”

“Dematic for us is not only a supplier, but a long-term strategic and fundamentally important partner.”

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