Supermarket giant Coles has expressed concerns over stock and equipment delivery delays from china that could impact its supply chain transformation.
GPT Group has announced they’ve made a $192.7 million purchase to expand their name in the logistics sector.
Australia’s leading importer and supplier of certified aftermarket and genuine parts has joined the Charter Hall Industrial & Logistics tenant customer portfolio in signing up for a new facility in NSW.
SSI Schaefer has announced its new brand ambassador, Mick Schumacher. The reigning Formula 3 champion, who is competing in the FIA Formula 2 Championship this year, has entered a long-term partnership with intralogistics specialist SSI Schaefer.
Mick Schumacher has been impressing fans, colleagues and the general public alike for years with his stringent quest for improvement. The 20-year-old son of seven-time Formula 1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher, has long since created his own identity. As a member of the exclusive driving field of the FIA Formula 2 Championship, Mick is now one of the best young racers in the world.
“Driving for Excellence” is the clear goal for this partnership. “Mick brings a great passion that impresses us here at SSI Schaefer. Giving everything, gaining experience, and accepting challenges that work towards a solution with intent and hyper focus is what connects our company with him. True to our corporate tagline, ‘Think Tomorrow’, SSI Schaefer looks ahead to achieve the ambitious goals for our customers,” said EVP sales for SSI Schaefer Michael Mohr.
Mick Schumacher has been driving for the Italian PREMA team since 2016. The 2018 European Formula 3 Champion just recently started driving for the Formula 2 team this year and he joined into the Ferrari Driver Academy program that promotes young talents. As a young driver, Schumacher started test driving in April for Bahrain in Formula 1 for both Ferrari and Alfa Romeo Racing. “I’m delighted to welcome SSI Schaefer as a partner because we share the same core values: a down-to-earth attitude, striving for success, innovative solutions, as well as long-term thinking and action. ‘Think Tomorrow’ suits me too,” stated Schumacher.
Various joint activities are planned for the partnership between the intralogistics specialist and the Formula 2 driver. Mick Schumacher is taking part in a panel discussion at one of the world’s largest in-house events in the industry this autumn, with international logistics users, expert discussions, keynotes and live demonstrations of logistics systems.
As part of its company-wide digitisation strategy DHL is further expanding the deployment of Smart Glasses and wearables to support vision picking processes in its warehouses.
As one of the first customers worldwide, DHL will now use the second-generation of Glass Enterprise Edition.
Augmented reality in the warehouse is driving a more accurate, productive and efficient picking process, says DHL.
While user-friendly and intuitive, hands-free picking is providing a positive experience and high approval rating among employees.
The successful use of smart glasses in contract logistics has also convinced other DHL business units. In the future, DHL Express will also use these wearables in its hubs.
“With the second generation of Glass Enterprise Edition, we can now provide our customers and employees with even more powerful, technically optimized smart glasses. The possibility of object recognition is also particularly promising for us in industrial applications. With the corresponding software, it is no longer just possible to read out barcodes, locate products and display the corresponding storage compartment; in future, also complex objects can be identified with the smart glasses. We expect this to lead to further productivity increases from which our employees and our customers will benefit equally,” Markus Voss, COO and CIO of DHL Supply Chain said.
DuluxGroup has committed to a 10-year lease on a new $27 million purpose-built facility in Maddington, Western Australia.
The new facility is being developed by Richmond and owned by the firm’s investment vehicle, Juceda Investments.
DuluxGroup partnered with property and supply chain firm TM Insight to design the property and will now project manage the build of the facility.
The facility is expected to be operational in mid 2020.
The 17,000-square-metre facility will be located at 4 Bickley Road, Maddington. The
development will feature significant levels of racked storage locations to accommodate a
vast range of product types, a mix of recessed loading docks and on-grade roller doors and a cross-docking facility design to create two large staging areas for inbound and outbound
freight, including customer pick-ups.
The state office for the DuluxGroup WA businesses will also be based within the facility.
“This new commitment in Maddington will consolidate multiple operations into a purpose-built facility to enable efficiency of storage, handling and distribution of multiple brands into common end points. This will allow us to support our growth in Western Australia,” Neale Rodgerson, National Distribution Manager at DuluxGroup said.
Milan Andjelkovic, Director at TM Insight, who is involved in the property procurement and
project management of the build, says the location was specifically chosen because of its
optimal positioning for DuluxGroup.
Mirvac has celebrated the official opening of its logistics hub Calibre, in Eastern Creek, Western Sydney.
Calibre’s 22-hectare site includes a mix of flexible warehousing, A-grade office space and advanced specifications with 110,000sqm of floor space across five buildings. Ideally placed to cater to logistics, warehousing and manufacturing companies, Mirvac secured premium brands CEVA Logistics, Miele, Pet Circle, Sheldon & Hammond and ACFS e-Solutions at Calibre, with the Estate 100 per cent leased ahead of its practical completion.
“At Calibre we’ve elevated the standard for industrial and warehouse facilities in Sydney with our focus on quality, functionally and flexibility which will futureproof the estate for years to come. Mirvac drew on its uniquely integrated business model and cross-sector experience to bring the best of office and residential design to an industrial asset, to exceed customer and industry expectations,” General Manager, Industrial at Mirvac, Richard Seddon said.
Treasurer of NSW, The Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP, said the logistics hub was boosting employment in Western Sydney creating hundreds of jobs during construction and on a permanent basis.
Mirvac Group said approximately 450 construction jobs were generated during the development phase with 480 permanent jobs resulting.
Displaying best practice design and sustainability, Calibre has energy efficient lighting, rainwater harvesting, photovoltaic solar, cyclist and end-of-trip facilities and 100 per cent natural lighting to reduce energy bills and create savings for customers.
Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Calibre is located at 60 Wallgrove Road, Eastern Creek at the centre of Australia’s national supply network within the Eastern Creek logistics hub.
The impacts of digital transformation and connected commerce are resounding across industries. The roles of manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, employees, technology and robotics are all rapidly transforming in today’s evolving e-commerce landscape. Changing consumer behaviours and new digital initiatives have also changed the game for distribution centres (DC) and supply chains, which are now expected to skilfully handle large B2B wholesale orders, retail store replenishment orders, as well as urgent, small e-commerce orders.
Some of the biggest shifts in expectations of the DC and supply chain are inline with the flexibility that consumers now expect from e-commerce. Manhattan Associates recently conducted research that revealed 56 per cent of Australian consumers would stop shopping with a retailer that doesn’t offer flexible returns options, and 71 per cent check to see if a retailer offers flexible delivery methods such as home/office delivery, parcel pickup lockers, click-and-collect and express delivery, before shopping online with them.
Today’s supply chain and warehouse need to keep up with a much more demanding omnichannel landscape, which will likely continue to grow more demanding as technology advances and competition rises.
Keeping up with the changing industry
Under pressure from rising consumer expectations, forward-thinking companies around the world are challenging themselves to serve more customers, more quickly, more directly and more personally. And these companies realise that omnichannel distribution projects aren’t just an issue for the consumer-facing retailer end of the business – it is also very much down to supply chains and warehouses to keep up.
In an effort to keep up with the omni-channel, distribution leaders are making unified channel fulfilment a key goal, because it delivers a holistic approach that is capable of factoring in the complexities and uniqueness associated with each individual channel.
Supply chain leaders are now taking note of the benefits other businesses have gained with this approach and are taking action. They have realised it’s no longer acceptable to operate channels with segregated warehouse space, duplicative inventories, excess labour, and redundant automation.
All of these assets are expensive and in order to improve throughput, profitability and customer satisfaction, maximum utilisation is critical. There needs to be continuous optimisation and orchestration of order fulfilment activities across all assets and all channels. That’s why advanced warehouse management systems (WMS) must now also feature an embedded Warehouse Execution System (WES) and Order Streaming capabilities.
Warehouse Execution System
The trend today is that more and more organisations are going down the multi-channel fulfilment route. Tasked with handling more SKU, greater numbers of smaller, more frequent orders, across more channels – all with shorter processing times – distribution centres are under constant pressure.
Rising demand for human labour and resulting labour shortages are driving many warehouses to investigate advanced automation and robotics. The appeal is obvious: automation is not impacted by regional workforce capacity, robots do not get fatigued, injured or sick, and they can work around the clock. Robots are also safer in some cases, helping to manage large, heavy, or hazardous loads to protect both worker health and the company’s liability.
DC robotics are getting more efficient, more sophisticated and faster than ever before, with innovations coming from vendors around the world. The challenge is that different types of automation do not naturally communicate and are often not aware of each other, much less the supporting workforce. In order to get maximum throughput within the DC, the various types of automation need to work together.
“More than ever, warehouse management must be approached with a holistic perspective that considers any combination of human and automation together.”
Previously, there was no standardising of systems and no limitation to the amount of automation – when supply chain leaders introduced automation, they were forced to work with various systems: a warehouse management system (WMS), or warehouse control system (WCS), as well as a warehouse execution system (WES). The systems worked independently of each other and remained largely siloed, meaning fulfilment organisations actually had to work harder to ensure inventories were not duplicated, and resources were maximised.
These legacy WMS were never designed to continuously manage the capacity and throughput across advanced automation, robotics and humans. Now, with fulfilment across multiple channels, supply chains need a lot more flexibility.
“The challenge for the supply chain is that it has multiple flows coming from all the different channels,” said Raghav Sibal, managing director at Manhattan Associates, ANZ. “This has created a need to optimise the flow of products through different channels, as throughput needs to be measured and optimised through each area of the warehouse to be able to maximise the overall efficiency of the operation, with the WMS integrating all systems used in all areas.”
Today, the WES module needs to be built inside the WMS, rather than being patched on later from the outside. Eliminating siloed integration challenges, a WES embedded into the WMS provides a comprehensive, coordinated approach that gives complete command and control of the warehouse.
“The challenge for the supply chain is that it has multiple flows coming from all the different channels.”
Many operations have both human and automation in the warehouse, and whilst automation can be optimised at maximum capacity, a bottleneck is often created in other areas. WES inside the WMS will optimise throughput through each zone or area in the warehouse, both automation and human, in order to maximise the efficiency in each area. The system is able to take into account how long an order has been sitting, as well as orders going through goods-to-purchase, to prevent a bottleneck occurring upstream or downstream, and ensuring operations are optimised.
A fully integrated WMS should work seamlessly with any type of automation, allowing robotics providers to simply plug in to the new system and be up and running quickly.
In a further effort to take charge of omnichannel management and success, many supply chain leaders are looking to Order Streaming, a sophisticated approach to order fulfilment. Order Streaming helps the DC operate with increased speed and flexibility by breaking down the boundaries between wave (bulk orders) and waveless (smaller e-commerce orders continuously streamed) fulfilment. It allows warehouses to use multiple processes to efficiently fulfil orders of any size or type rapidly from a DC of any size or type — both smaller, local, quick-response facilities, as well as larger, regional, high-volume, automated e-commerce sites.
Australia Post’s 2018 E-commerce Industry Paper revealed that in 2017 online spending saw a growth of 18.7 per cent, while traditional retail saw a growth of only 2.5 per cent. Additionally, Australia Post predicts that by 2020, one in ten items will be bought online. With this growth, Order Streaming will become more important in the supply chain to keep up with the increased volume and smaller pick orders from e-commerce.
Order Streaming is a waveless approach and allows smaller orders to be incorporated into the flow without disrupting the efficiency and productivity of the warehouse. Rather than batching orders and dropping them into the DC operation in waves, which will slow down production as smaller or single-product orders have to sit and wait until they can fit into a batch, Order Streaming continuously evaluates the order pool and automatically releases work based on variables such as order priorities and facility processing capacities.
While many types of orders and operations are best served by batch-wave processing, development of a waveless approach has been necessary to respond to growing omnichannel fulfilment promises. Waveless manages every order as a discrete allocation of work, enabling fast, responsive fulfilment for smaller, more urgent orders. It is ideal for direct-to-consumer order fulfilment.
“Order Streaming gives distribution centres the ability to process urgent e-commerce orders throughout the day without disruptions, which is only going to be more important as e-commerce continues to grow and delivery timeframes shrink,” Mr Raghav said.
Another key benefit of Order Streaming is that the system allows retailers to accept online orders later in the day, while still allowing them to turn around and ship orders quickly (often in the same day).
Whether a warehouse relies on a combination of manual and partially automated processes, or a fully automated, robotic system, Order Streaming supports the requirements of adaptive, changeable fulfilment and delivery. Today’s trends toward sophisticated autonomous robotics open an exciting set of opportunities for Order Streaming and its impact on business strategies.
Allowing for future growth
More than ever, warehouse management must be approached with a holistic perspective that considers any combination of human and automation together. Coordination and collaboration across discrete pieces of advanced automation – as well as the human workforce – only gets more powerful when those systems are integrated with each other. The combination of an embedded WES and Order Streaming capabilities makes today’s advanced WMS one that enables total visibility across the DC, complete flexibility for automation growth, as well as continuous analysis and maximum utilisation of all resources.
As e-commerce trends continue to emerge and impact supply chains, supply chain leaders must find ways to modernise their DC operations in order to remain competitive in the face of new pure-play e-commerce start-ups, international brands, and other omnichannel enterprises. Advancements in technology, equipment, and operational best practices will certainly provide opportunities and inspiration.
Achieving omni-channel success
Manhattan Associates’ customer Country Road Group completed a successful roll out of Manhattan’s WMS. The technology deployment was a key component of a business transformation project designed to deliver a unified brand experience for customers across channels and to drive ongoing business growth.
Country Road Group’s business and sales channels have evolved in complexity and scope as the company expanded its operating footprint. With over 700 stores and a growing online operation, the retailer had outgrown its outsourced logistics services model and recognised the critical need to take greater command of its supply chain. The company made the strategic decision to invest in a new DC and chose Manhattan’s system to orchestrate goods flows through the new DC.
Head of supply chain Australasia, Country Road Group/David Jones Peter Fouskarinis commented: “The Manhattan solution has enabled us to optimise our store replenishment and online order fulfilment processes, resulting in improved product availability and customer satisfaction.”
The Manhattan system’s advanced fulfilment logic for wave management, constraint-based selection and real-time replenishment has been critical in helping Country Road Group realise its omni-channel commerce goals. The system eliminates costly physical counts with auditor-approved cycle counting, and stores can now provide same day fulfilment as a result of a new cross-docking approach.
For more information contact Manhattan Associates on +61 2 9454 5438, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.manh.com.au.
Don’t worry, contrary to the terrifying Daleks portrayed in the long-running Dr Who series, robots are not taking over the world or the universe! In reality, they are more analogous to the friendly droids of Star Wars’ 3-CPO R2-D2 and BB8. They are loyal and faithful servants to their human and non-human masters.
This is good news for distribution centre operators, because the Star Wars ‘droids’ have morphed into a new generation of reliable DC robots that are revolutionising the logistics world!
Research from market intelligence firm Tractica reports that the worldwide sales of warehousing and logistics robots reached USD1.9 billion in 2016, with growth in coming years its projected to reach USD22.4 billion by the end of 2021. Manufacturers of robots can therefore expect unit shipments to increase from 40,000 in 2016, to 620,000 units annually by 2021 (reference: www.tractica.com).
But who is buying robots? Traditionally, it was manufacturers with repetitive production processes, but the robotic landscape has broadened to include distribution centres, mines, hospitals, hotels, casinos, offices, mines and others. In fact, any application where a process can be automated.
Should you use them in your DC?
In this article, I will briefly touch on the 13 most common types of robots that are being used in distribution centres, along with their characteristics and uses. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it may help in working out what robots could be beneficial in your situation.
Firstly, how do you classify robots? Particularly as there are so many variants. The Tractica report lists the following four in the context of distribution centres.
- Mobile robot platforms: automated guided vehicles (AGV) and autonomous vehicles.
- Shuttle automated storage and retrieval systems: ASRS, featuring in-rack robots.
- Industrial robotic manipulators: typical robotic arms that can be applied to countless applications.
- Gantry robots: robots that run on overhead structures.
“If you are looking at robots as a solution, be sure to do your homework in terms of analysis, application and return.”
But what do they do, and how do you know if you would benefit from one, or more? To assist, I’ve developed a table that lists the types of robots and applications in warehousing facilities. Bur first here are some definitions that may be helpful.
Generally used for transport of goods within a set path or circuit. May be guided by rails, lasers and sensors. These have been around for many years, but AGV technology has advanced and is far more affordable, reliable and applicable to many types of mobile equipment.
Used within racking systems to place and retrieve stock. The racking maybe serviced by automatic conveyors or AGV, or manually by an operator.
Autonomous mobile robots
These are free-path robots controlled to operate on the best put-away or picking path. Using sensors and cameras, they can navigate around a DC where people are working. They are ideal for goods-to-person and task-to-person applications.
These are used in automated storage and retrieval systems for pallet handling. Yes, they have been around for many years, but they are a robot, nonetheless. They typically run on fixed-path rails systems.
Mini-load stacker cranes
Related to the larger stacker cranes, mini-load cranes run on fixed rails installed within racking. They can achieve high rates of replenishment and picking and are now able to pick cartons, object and eaches to totes or conveyor belts.
Industrial robotic order picker
Using conventional robots with articulated arms for picking and palletising/ depalletizing etc. has become common place. In recent years, visualisation technology has enabled robots to see and pick stock in units. If the robot does not have the right gripping device to pick items up, it merely changes to the right one, and continues picking.
And now some common operating modes:
Where automation or a robot brings goods to a human for order picking purposes.
Where a robot brings a receptacle and picking intelligence/information to a picker, so that the picker can pick the required goods to specific order bins on the receptacle. (Amazon makes use of task-to-person robots in some locations.)
Automation or robots bring goods to a robot for order picking purposes
Person to robot
A person brings goods to a robot for specific orders or sortation and delivery by the robot to a consolidation or packing zone. These robots can typically include tilt-tray devices for feeding goods into staging bays or directly to cartons.
Now that you know the common types of robots and operating modes, the charts should make some sense in terms of application. What is hard to define is the cost for automation and robotics. This is complex and depends on many factors too numerous to cover here. However, the evidence suggests that robots are becoming cheaper, reliable and easier to justify than ever before.
If you are looking at robots as a solution, be sure to do your homework in terms of analysis, application and return. If you do, you may be relieved that Dalek’s will not conquer your operation. Instead, be pleasantly surprised that robots may be more economical than you realise.
Mal is manager, consulting with the Logistics Bureau, where he works with local and international organisations to guide them in specification preparation, establishment and review of outsourcing contracts. He holds qualifications in engineering, business operations and logistics. For more information contact Mal on 0412 271 503 or email email@example.com.
You can read the rest of MHD magazine March-April issue here:
Warehousing pressures are driving substantial investment in augmented reality, voice technology, and people tracking. Spending on AR in warehousing alone will reach over US$23 billion by 2025.
Demand for warehousing facilities has been steadily increasing thanks to the strength of international trade and the continual growth of e-commerce. With customer expectations for rapid delivery rising, warehouses are struggling to process the increased volumes of goods passing through facilities in time. The problem is compounded by labour shortages and staffing challenges. The need to adopt technology to alleviate these issues is driving significant investment in augmented reality (AR), voice-directed picking, and real-time location systems (RTLS) for workforce analytics.
By 2025, global spending on AR in warehousing will reach over US$23 billion, US$3.3 billion will be spent on voice solutions, and RTLS will grow to 500,000 implementations for people-tracking across all verticals, according to ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies.
“Fulfilling higher order volumes is difficult when warehouses are struggling to hire and maintain staff, and automation is cost-prohibitive for many distributors,” said senior analyst at ABI Research Nick Finill. “Warehouses are therefore increasingly using digital tools that can empower the human worker, deliver efficiency gains, and also reduce the time it takes to induct new or temporary staff.”
Augmented reality is finally starting to gain mass appeal in industrial sectors, thanks to maturing technologies and demonstrable ROI from early adopters. Voice-directed technology represents a considerably older technology but is also undergoing a technological revolution thanks to deep learning-based voice recognition that vastly improves ease-of-use and reliability. Voice is being leveraged to assist the warehouse workforce by providing operational instructions in a clear and hands-free way.
The drive for digitally-enabled workforce productivity in the warehouse is incorporating the human worker into the Internet of Things at a rapid pace. The increased use of RTLS technologies, such as Bluetooth Low Energy, Wi-Fi tracking and RFID, are allowing warehouse operators to analyse productivity of the workforce as well as the movement of physical assets. Workers can be monitored in a way that respects privacy while generating valuable operational data that can drive workforce efficiency over time.
Companies such as RealWare, Kontakt.io, Panasonic, Lucas Systems and TopSystem are providing warehouses with a wide range of technology products that can provide incremental advantages. Driving productivity in this way can be an attractive alternative to more expensive automation projects, which is a concurrent trend in warehousing with the potential to transform operations in the longer term.
“The combination of multiple devices and technology can have a positive compound effect on workforce productivity,” concluded Mr Finill. “However, companies must be smart about how they integrate multiple technologies within the same stack to ensure they remain complementary and ROI is maximised.”
These findings are from ABI Research’s ‘Devices and Solutions for Workforce Productivity in Warehouse Logistics’ technology analysis report. This report is part of the company’s Intelligent Supply Chain service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Technology Analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific technology.