Dematic sponsors this year's Mercury Awards

According to general man­ager marketing Peter Trotter, sponsorship of this year’s Mercury Awards is in line with Dematic’s support of excellence in logistics and supply chain management.

“We’ve been impressed with the contribution Logistics Magazine has made to the Australian Logistics and Supply Chain industries in a relatively short time,” Trotter says.

“This is in keeping with Reed Business Information’s global approach to this industry sector. We see the Mercury Awards making a valuable contribution.”

“We estimate that the supply chain industry accounts for up to 10 per cent of Australia’s GDP,” Trotter says.

“If this country is to compete on a global scale it is critical that we have effective supply chains. Businesses that examine ways to extract greater supply chain efficiencies, by implementing systems and processes that increase productivity and efficien­cy, should have the opportunity to be recognised. The Mercury Awards do just that,” he says.

“We wish all this year’s entrants the very best.”

Dematic is in the business of helping customers achieve their goals by implementing logistics and supply chain solutions that increase accuracy, improve cus­tomer service levels and provide a significant competitive edge.

“While new technology is often the source of innovation it is not the only source,” Trotter says.

“The most interesting innovations are often achieved by combining several good ideas in ways previously never thought of.”

In the case of Marktkauf, a lead­ing German Grocery Retailer, Dematic developed and patented a new picking concept called Voice Pick to AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle).

The new concept has elim­inated many non value adding tasks and cleverly boosted picking productivity, as the following case demonstrates.

Like all retail grocery industries around the globe, the German market is extremely competitive and price sensitive with major retailers investing in technology in an attempt to keep logistics costs to a minimum.

Marktkauf, one of Germany’s leading supermarket chains recently implemented an innovative integrat­ed system which utilises Voice Picking in conjunction with Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV’s).

The outcome is a 100 per cent increase in the productivity of pick­ers, a reduction in labour costs at the Laiching warehouse and a dra­matic increase in order accuracy.

Marktkauf calculated that during an eight hour shift pickers spent only 3.5 hours actually picking items from storage to shipping pallets.

According to general manager, Marktkauf Laiching Torsten Winter, warehouse staff were spending too much time on non productive functions.

“Employees were stuck perform­ing a number of inefficient tasks that drove up cost pressures,” says Winter.

“Staff was spending time performing functions such as retrieving new pallets from storage, driving pallet movers in the pick aisle, finding locations and con­firming picks and taking completed pallets to stretch wrappers and despatch-tasks that took the picker away from doing the actual pick­ing,” he says.

It was Marktkauf’s objective to eliminate all these non-value adding activities in order to make the picking process in the dry goods warehouse, the cold store and in the fruit and vegetable warehouse more efficient.

Dematic implemented an innova­tive new solution for Marktkauf based on proven technology. The solution seamlessly integrates Voice Picking with Automated Guidance Vehicles and has greatly improved the productivity of the pickers.

The non-value adding activities are now completely auto­mated, allowing pickers to concentrate on the task at hand. The Voice Picking terminals and AGVs are managed by Dematic’s IT software which is integrated into Marktkauf’s existing Warehouse Management System.

The solution was implemented in two phases. In phase one, Voice Picking was implemented to improve the phys­ical productivity of the pickers and replace vehicle-mounted RF terminals.

With Voice Picking, instructions including pick location and quan­tity of items are provided verbally to the picker via wireless termi­nals and headsets.

The picker ver­bally acknowledges the location and the completed picks through the headset. As the picker can travel while receiving picking instructions, picking speed improves and as the communica­tion is hands and eyes free, pick­ing ergonomics are also improved.

Phase two saw the implementa­tion of the AGV system which serves as an intelligent automated pallet mover. An AGV automatical­ly retrieves new shipping pallets and takes away completed pallets to shipping and despatch while the picker is continuously picking in the pick aisle.

Within the pick aisle, the AGV automatically moves with the pick­er to pick locations, as the picker’s pick confirmations direct the AGV to move to the next location.

Even the distance travelled between the pallet and pick locations is shorter as the pallets are always placed next to the picking location.

“The advantage is that every­thing is moving much faster and the picking process is far more accurate,” says Torsten Winter.

“In fact the Voice Picking and AGV solution has doubled picker pro­ductivity, while errors have been reduced by 60 per cent.”

The step-by-step implementation and the ease of use combined with the extensive training of operators has also ensured that employee acceptance is high.

Most impor­tantly the return on investment was less than three years. The success of the solution at Laiching convinced Marktkauf to implement the system at a second Distribution Centre.

“My colleagues have also rolled out the system in Bielefelt and we are very satisfied,” Winter says.

“I would give these solu­tions implemented by Dematic my highest recommendation.”

Are you a leading logistics company? Do you implement leading supply chain services, solutions or technology? Has your team markedly improved your company’s supply chain? Have you recently employed an outstanding young person?

Enter the Logistics Mercury Awards now! Contact Anna Game-Lopata

Entries close 12 October

For more information about the Mercury Awards Click here

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