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Case Study soft-carrier

soft-carrier has automated its logistics systems for goods arrivals, stocks warehouse, picking and dispatch facilities

Case Study soft-carrier
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    soft-carrier has automated its logistics systems for goods arrivals, stocks warehouse, picking and dispatch facilities.

DISTRIBUTION CENTRE FOR OFFICE SUPPLIES


The soft-carrier Computerzubehör GmbH is a european special distributor for  offices supplies and IT-accessories. The range of items extends far beyond pure computer accessories. Virtually everything that can be required for an office is offered by the company to its customers. The 7.000 m² storage area handles 42.000 articles that must be put together in a variety of orders and delivered within 24 hours to customers throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

soft-carrier has focused on high customer service, and a continuous optimization of its internal business processes, as well as adoption of modern technology.  This has led to high company growth since its foundation in 1986.

As a result of the powerful expansion and guarantee fastest delivery in good order and condition, the management make a decision to build a modern distribution center. The result is that  soft-carrier has automated its logistic systems for goods arrivals, stocks warehouse, picking and dispatch facilities.

REQUIREMENTS & PREREQUISITES

  •     daily delivery of approximately 1,000 different articles
  •     large volume delivery and small picking
  •     8000 order items per shift
  •     short delivery times
  •     “hassle-free“ picking
     

SOLUTION

To adjust the logistic system to the constantly increasing demands, management took the decision to divide the entire automated material flow and warehouse system development into several construction phases.

At goods arrivals the small volume articles are re-packed into storage totes and large volume articles are placed on pallets. Finally both goods types are transported via the relevant conveyor lines to the appropriate storage areas. The goods can be tracked via the control system by means of the barcodes on the totes and pallets.

The warehouse of two areas. The pallet warehouse is comprised of 2,700 storage positions in a channel storage rack, three pallets lengthwise in one rack position. Efficient handling is assured by TGW stacker cranes each 7.5 m. height in two 80 m long aisles. A crossways transfer car takes on the distribution of the pallets in the aisles at the warehouse approach zone.

The tote storage positions are placed at both sides of the pallet warehouse area and comprises 12 aisles. The 600 x 400 x 400 mm stock totes are aligned in double depths in the rack pockets. A long drawn-out conveyor system loop in the approach zone supplies the separate aisles and links the warehouse with the goods entry and the picking places.

Supply of all 13 picking positions is automatic. Each stock tote goes to the picking position exactly when its contents are required for a customer order. Staff receive precise information via a computer screen at the picking area on how many articles they can remove from the grey stock totes to place in the coloured target totes for packing. By this means six pickers can deal with around 900 picks an hour.

The coloured target totes for the packing area are then moved on to packaging where the entire customer order is checked once again and placed in a dispatch carton. The dispatch label that has already been generated during the course of the picking procedure accompanies the target tote for the packing area to the workstation there and is available for immediate use. After the label has been fixed to the carton it continues on to dispatch. Here the packages are secured once again by double hooping  before continuing on the dispatch route to the customer. The courier and express service containers that are to be fitted with the current dispatch loads are then waiting at the goods issue gates.

Express deliveries are collected again between packaging and dispatch on buffer lanes until the express trucks dock at the goods issue gate or until a dispatch container is added as a final dispatch container. The collected express packages are started up at the push of a button and loaded directly to the transporter or container to ensure that they can be unloaded as priority packages for accelerated treatment from the transport vehicle by the haulage contractor.

TGW TECHNOLOGY EMPLOYED

soft-carrier has committed itself to the 24–hour delivery principle. TGW has taken special account of short routes as the soft-carrier defined objectives for all workstations and of ergonomic considerations as a way of ensuring that problems do not arise in the picking area. TGW reacted to the available space conditions by coming up with extremely precise and creatively planned conveyor lines and an installation that is space saving in the extreme. A finely interwoven network of totes and pallet conveyor lines, rack aisles and picking positions covers the premises today.

At the pallet warehouse each stacker crane is equipped with a muli long satellite vehicle as a load handling device. The installed 4-mast crane reaches a travel speed of 2,5 m/s and includes an onboard control system. The load handling Muli satellite vehicles travel under the pallets and  transport the pallets into or out of the storage based on lengthways storage of the pallets in the rack.

Each rack aisle at the tote storage is served by a 7.5 m high single mast stacker crane of the Mustang type. The double depth Combi-telescope load handling devices installed on the Mustangs assure an extremely efficient storage and retrieval of the stock totes plus rapid handing over to the conveyor systems.

Our references

TGW Logistics Group

TGW

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