4. December 2020

OmniPick®: German book wholesaler Libri relying on TGW pocket sorter

  • Highly automated system for German book wholesaler Libri and publication service provider BoD
  • Accelerated deliveries and extremely fast lead times of just 20 minutes on average
  • Lowest Total Cost of Ownership

(Marchtrenk, Austria, December 4, 2020) Both part of the same company group, Libri and BoD are relying on TGW's innovative pocket sorter OmniPick®. The German book wholesaler is benefiting from extremely fast lead times for express orders. An average of just 20 minutes is all it takes from when the books are produced until they are unloaded into the order tote. The highly automated system in the town of Bad Hersfeld in the German state of Hesse is scheduled to go live in autumn 2021.

Libri (Latin for "books") has been active as an innovative partner in book sales for over 90 years. As an affiliated company of the German media service provider, BoD (Books on Demand) is the European market leader in digital book publication. The company specialises in print-on-demand services and is a production and sales provider for publishing companies as well as self-publishing authors. BoD produces its books using digital printing and in order quantities down to a single book. In contrast to traditional edition printing, this method is extremely flexible; however, it creates new intralogistic challenges.

OmniPick® accelerates deliveries

At the moment, the BoD range comprises more than four million digital titles that can be printed and subsequently despatched within 24 to 48 hours. For this purpose, however, some of the books have to be transported 400 kilometres from the BoD production site near Hamburg to Libri's logistics centre in Bad Hersfeld. To make the process faster, BoD and Libri are establishing a new print-on-demand and logistics centre in Bad Hersfeld under the name PLUREOS.

"I am very grateful that we were able to win over Libri with our technology's benefits", says Christoph Wolkerstorfer, CSO of the TGW Logistics Group. "OmniPick® is the smart solution for omnichannel business models. The particular advantages lie in the high flexibility and the low total cost of ownership."

Unique Offer 

"By creating our PLUREOS print-on-demand and logistics centre, we are providing the book market with a type of service that is unmatched anywhere else in Europe". Those are the words of Yogesh Torani, Managing Director of BoD, and Jörg Paul, COO of Libri. They add, "In automatic processing for single books, OmniPick® helps to ensure that, going forward, we can produce books and deliver them to the book retailer overnight. There will no longer be any difference in timing when delivering a book from storage versus a new print." 

How the system works

The printed books are handed over from the production line and transported to a loading station that automatically loads the pocket sorter with one book each. In the next step, the pockets with the BoD books are transported to the dynamic buffer, which provides space for 19,000 pockets. First, a presort buffer groups them into sorting runs before the final sequencing takes place in the matrix sorter at the end of the line. Then the books are transported to the packing workstation and repacked into Libri shipping containers. 

Dr. Markus Nave from MALORG Consulting was a collaborator involved in planning the highly automated system. After it was found to be technically and economically infeasible to implement a traditional warehouse system for the BoD business model, Libri opted for OmniPick® as a flexible solution.

Efficient central order consolidation

An average of just 20 minutes is all it takes from the production of the books until they are unloaded into the order tote. OmniPick® makes it possible to achieve efficient central order consolidation. It makes no difference whether the items come from automatic or manual picking areas or whether they have already been stored in the OmniPick® (e.g. returns or fast-moving items). They are all sorted, made available and packaged together.

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