Hello Michael! You are constantly in contact with our customers, always on the road at trade fairs and directly at the source when it comes to what is currently of interest in warehouse logistics.
What are customers most interested in at the moment in the field of warehouse logistics?
Classic warehouse logistics, which involves the simple storage and retrieval of items or containers, is of course always topical. However, due to online stores and chain stores, companies now have to deliver smaller and smaller quantities. This means that large quantities of a product are no longer shipped, but only a small number. The reason for this is that the warehouses in the stores are becoming smaller and smaller and there is no space to store large quantities of items. Therefore, nowadays people tend to order 5-10 times a week rather than a large quantity once. This changes the entire warehouse and logistics structure. Picking small quantities from their own large warehouses on site no longer makes sense for many companies.
At the moment, the main issues in warehouse logistics for many of our customers are as follows:
- Fast availability of goods must be guaranteed
- Smaller quantities, but many different products are needed
- (e.g. shoes in different colors & sizes)
- High order frequency (orders are placed several times a week)
- Short delivery times of the goods
- Small warehouses in brick-and-mortar stores because storage space is expensive
What are the current challenges?
Order quantities have decreased in recent years, but the number of orders has increased dramatically. Therefore, a well-functioning system that is fed with correct master data is indispensable to process these quantities of orders.
In the meantime, it is handled in such a way that there is a large central warehouse that serves the various stores, branches or even the online stores. Orders are received directly there and, ideally, are processed quickly.
However, these orders usually consist of several different products that have to be picked as quickly as possible.
In a normal warehouse logistics process, this would work in such a way that an employee would have to gather the products from various locations in the warehouse. This, of course, requires a lot of time and manpower. However, in today’s world, both are usually not available in sufficient numbers.
In modern warehouses, therefore, these tasks are now often performed by shuttle systems or automatic small parts warehouses (AS/RS). Automation therefore plays a major role here.
What solution does KHT offer for these challenges?
We have developed an automated warehouse system for our customers that optimizes warehouse logistics to meet current challenges. The system works as follows:
The INDU-Store is an automated storage and picking system that allows items to be put away and retrieved on a per-item basis. Users always receive exactly the one item needed for the specific customer or production order. Incorrect picks are eliminated due to accurate product data. The INDU-Store can be optimally integrated into a warehouse and provides transparency, inventory security and efficient use of space.
It serves as spare parts warehouse, shipping warehouse or automatic storage system for small parts.
Depending on the requirements, the customer receives the desired number of packing stations to process the orders. These packing stations are directly connected to the automated warehouse, which moves out exactly only those products that are needed by the people. All orders can be processed in parallel.
In contrast to miniloads or shuttles, which usually work with classic double cycles (storage and retrieval), employees can concentrate only on retrieval at the moment of picking. It is no longer necessary for them to put goods or containers back into storage. At the moment when the maximum retrieval capacity is needed, it can be used to its full extent. The INDU-Store is always filled in times when there is little retrieval. This is usually done after querying the current stock of goods stored in the INDU-Store.
Furthermore, the INDU-Store has a completely chaotic stock keeping. What this means: There is no air in the INDU-Store and all products are stored at any time in the most space-saving way. Due to different shelf heights, the space is always optimally utilized. The INDU-Store can be built up to a height of 3.60m and therefore needs only little space compared to normal warehouses. So, it is optimal for small inner-city stores.
Also, wrong picks are history with the INDU-Store. Because of the EAN numbers assigned to the products, the vending machine knows exactly which products it has to retrieve for the customer.
The advantages of the INDU-Store briefly explained: Optimal use of space & fastest possible stock removal
In which industries is the INDU-Store mainly used?
Since the INDU-Store is a small parts warehouse and the products to be picked are limited to the size of a shoe box and a maximum weight of 5 kg, mainly customers with the following products use our system:
- Pharmaceutical products
- Fastening technology (e.g. screws)
What is the current willingness in the industry to invest in new technologies?
Many companies have already recognized that it makes sense to invest in warehouse automation, especially in times of staff shortages and rising order numbers.
However, some order logistics companies that work with companies on the basis of short-term orders are still reluctant to make larger investments at the moment because they always process different orders. However, it is important to keep in mind that a warehouse automat like the INDU-Store can be used for countless different orders and product groups due to its flexible design. It therefore brings added value to many different industries.
Michael’s conclusion: The warehouse logistics industry will have to deliver more and more in less and less time and therefore needs easy-to-use systems that support these processes as well as possible. Sooner or later, there will be more and more automation.
Thank you very much for the exciting interview, Michael!