Swisslog was contacted for consultancy to identify a future-proof solution that could deliver the e-commerce success that Schenker and its customer Lekmer.com required. Detailed analysis determined that CarryPick would be the best solution, one of the technologies within Swisslog's Click&Pick portfolio designed specifically for retail applications.
“Together with Swisslog, we have developed an inventory management solution that is unique for online businesses in Europe. This is designed to deliver levels of productivity that exceed all manual solutions in the industry,” says Anders Holmberg, Strategic Business Development Manager at DB Schenker Logistics AB.
DB Schenker is a global leader in transportation and third-party logistics. Present in 140 countries around the world, DB Schenker maintains a strong focus on quality, customer satisfaction and sustainability. The company is currently strengthening its position in e-commerce by investing in innovative, future-proof technology.
As such, CarryPick - a ground-breaking e-commerce solution - has been installed in its Swedish facility, located just outside of Stockholm. CarryPick was installed to accommodate Schenker's e-commerce customer Lekmer.com. As the Nordic countries' largest online retailer for children's products, Lekmer.com requires intralogistics that meet the strict success criteria for e-commerce.
As a third-party logistics supplier, it was important to DB Schenker that the solution could also be easily adapted to future customers and product line changes.
CarryPick is a goods-to-person solution that consists of three modules: a Mobile Rack; a Mobile Robot (a 'Carry'); and a Workstation. Working together, the automated 'Carry' robots transport the Mobile Racks to the Workstations.
With this modular design, it is easy to upscale or downscale the system according to changes in the market or business model, and there is little need for construction work in the installation process. It also allows for a quite unique redundancy with little downtime.
"We wished to automate in order to raise productivity, without raising the costs," says Anders Holmberg, Strategic Development Manager of DB Schenker Logistics in Sweden.
With plans to offer the solution to several other customers, Schenker is already looking at ways to build a mezzanine on top of the existing CarryPick park. With added lifts, Mobile Racks, 'Carry' robots and Workstations, the new operation will provide even greater capabilities, allowing DB Schenker to make the most of its high-tech and highly efficient solution.
Developed for e-commerce
To win the e-commerce race, it is of utmost importance to offer short response times and effortless return handling. E-tailers must also eliminate human errors, like inaccuracy, whilst remaining flexible to adapt to constant changes in the market. CarryPick is developed to do just that.
The 'Carry' is a mobile robot that navigates through the warehouse using barcodes fastened to the floor. Each transports the Mobile Racks to and from the Workstations, and are equipped with both lifting and turn-on-the-spot technology. They also tunnel under the racks as part of the system's intelligent path planning for optimum time and power utilisation.
These robots offer a unique redundancy, 24/7, because they automatically charge themselves inductively, either in power loops while they are working, or on power plates when they have no orders to collect. If a robot needs attention from a service technician, it travels to a separate service cell. This solution lets the technician service the 'Carry' without any downtime of the system.
The Mobile Racks are mobile storage solutions, that can be easily adjusted to accommodate a wide variety of goods, from boxes and cartons to pallets and even hanging garments. It is approximately two meters tall, so the CarryPick solution can be installed in any facility with a height of only three meters or more.
To save time and resources, the CarryPick solution includes centralised Workstations, where operators handle picking, packing, replenishment and returns. The process is effectively coordinated by Swisslog's software, and the operator is guided by a pick-by-light system that is easy to follow and learn.
Brains of the Operation
Swisslog's software is the brains of the operation, ensuring effective path planning and battery management for the mobile robots; the coordination of picking, packing, replenishment and returns at the Workstations; and also interfaces with the customer's own ERP.
“It often shows that the logistics solutions that best meet the demands for a sustainable development are the most cost efficient. This is the basis for all our work – locally and globally,” says James Sharples, Managing Director at Swisslog.
Swisslog's Click&Pick portfolio is a modular concept that can be tailored to meet existing requirements and flexibly adapt to changing customer needs and business models in e-commerce and omni-channel sales. The entire portfolio is based on intelligent technology and innovative design to fill the success criteria for e-commerce.
The reason CarryPick was the best choice for DB Schenker Logistics, is because of its unique position in third-party logistics. As a 3PL business, you can never know what your next customer will demand from your system or even what kind of products the customer sell. The fact that CarryPick can be adjusted to a very wide range of heterogeneous articles at the same time as being fast and easy to upscale, downscale or even relocate, makes it a good choice for DB Schenker Logistics.
“We aim to leverage and implement the CarryPick solution in selected markets worldwide for customers with large online business, who are looking for faster order processing and significant productivity/efficiency improvements at lower handling costs,” concludes Tim March, Head of Consumer VM for Contract Logistics at DB Schenker.
- 24/7 availability
- Easy to learn work processes
- Attractive total costs of operation
- All-in-one workstation