Features

Doubling capacity with first stage automation

automation

MHD talks with Michael Masulans, General Manager at ASICS Oceania, and Michael Jee, Sales Director Australia and New Zealand at Vanderlande, about their success in achieving the leading footwear supplier’s first phase of automation at its new facility in Sydney. 

Michael Masulans, General Manager at ASICS Oceania, says that even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, ASICS in Australia was changing its operations and distribution model. 

A leading maker and distributor of active footwear, ASICS has been distributing product via its Sydney base to Australia for 30 years. 

“But during the last decade our business has changed from a pure wholesale business model, where we were doing primarily large orders, to more of a direct-to-consumer model, where there are a lot more smaller orders – and a lot more frequent orders, at that,” Michael says. 

In September 2019, ASICS moved its primary Australian facility to a new build in Marsden Park in Sydney. As part of that process, Michael says that he and the ASICS team devised a multi-step strategic plan – involving various forms of potential automation – to be rolled out in order of priority. After assessing multiple providers for its first stage of automation, ASICS decided that Vanderlande was the best choice, with its POSISORTER solution. 

WHAT IS POSISORTER?

Michael Jee, Sales Director Australia at Vanderlande, says the POSISORTER is a sliding shoe sorter combining advanced conveyance technology with careful product handling. In the ASICS facility it is sorting 2500-3600 parcels per hour, and can reach even higher numbers depending on how it is utilised. 

“It’s been a product that Vanderlande has been selling for more than 30 years,” he says. “Over the years it has continuously developed, and as technology has improved it goes faster and is able to divert quicker. But its core technology has been used across various businesses – from e-commerce solutions to food retail to postal to warehouse automation.”

ACHIEVING AUTOMATION

From inception to implementation, Michael Masulans estimates Vanderlande was able to install the POSISORTER in the new Marsden Park facility in about 18 months. 

He says that previously ASICS’ system was still very manually oriented. 

“In our business there will always be a very large manual component,” he says. “From ASICS’ perspective it’s a matter of combining manual operations with automation to strike the right balance for us and our workers.” 

The POSISORTER means that the ASICS team can batch multiple orders to pick at one time, instead of picking individually, reducing travel time in the warehouse, as well as processing more efficiently in general. 

“Now we pick multiple wholesale orders and thousands of e-commerce orders at once,” Michael Masulans says.

Empirically speaking, the results speak for themselves, he adds. 

“The POSISORTER has reduced our average cost per unit, and effectively doubled our capacity. Whatever we were doing prior to automation, we now have capacity to do twice as much.”

This is the first phase of ASICS’ projected automation roll-out, and Michael Masulans has been impressed with Vanderlande’s work.

Michael Jee says that whatever ASICS’ next steps are in automation, he and the Vanderlande team will be with them every step of the way. 

“That’s what Vanderlande’s success has been built on – fostering and maintaining great partnerships with great companies.”

For more information on ASICS, click here

For more information on Vanderlande, click here

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