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.”