Sigma Healthcare has automated operations at its new Perth and Brisbane distribution centres (DCs) with the Dematic Goods-to-Person (GTP) Picking Solution.
The pharmaceutical wholesaler switch to automation stemmed from previous supply chain challenges from legacy systems at other DCs, which were restricting the ability to continue to improve service delivery to customers.
Paul Brown, National Operations Manager, Logistics, Sigma, says warehouse and logistics have been an area of significant focus for Sigma over the past three years.
“With the pharmaceutical market as competitive as it is in Australia, it was clear that we needed to optimise these two new DCs to accommodate current and future demands on our supply chain,” he says.
The system is an automated picking and buffering sequence solution. Orders are picked, buffered, and then sequenced to delivery vehicles in the specific order required.
Paul says for Sigma, this process optimises the entire picking and delivery process by organising orders accurately and efficiently, and at a much faster rate than manual operations.
“By optimising these new DCs through automation, it was clear that this kind of technology was a natural step forward for Sigma as a business. Pharmacies are constantly pushing Sigma as their sole distributor for increased service levels, which were just not achievable at previous operation rates,” he says.
“By initiating a more innovative approach to picking operations, we can make the most of our two new DCs with advanced automation technologies ensuring the highest efficiency.”
The Dematic solution operates in a temperature-controlled environment, which is required for select pharmaceutical products that must be stored between 2° and 8°C.
Darren Rawlinson, Regional Solutions Development Director, APAC, at Dematic, says the solution’s design was catered to or Sigma’s distinctive storage requirements.
“There are some products that require refrigeration and others that need to be stored in a vault or highly secured environment – with both having a lot of regulations around them,” he says.
Sigma and Dematic will host a virtual tour of the automated DC in Brisbane on August 4 to provide more insight into the automation project.