Superdry and Bleckmann will expand the use of robotic systems following a successful pilot project conducted earlier this year. The test phase of the project has shown significant improvements within the logistics process by using Hikrobot carriers for e-commerce order fulfillment and processing of returns. It involved 20 robots and around 12,000 pick locations, leading to an increase of the order picking and returns processing efficiency by 100 per cent.
Significant benefits have been realized through the implementation of intelligent mini-robot carriers. Next to the expected general boost of logistics efficiency, putaway productivity dramatically increased by 400 per cent without a decline in picking rates. Another advantage is that the solution reduces reliance on labor in a scarce labor market. At the same time it supports warehouse team members and improves the ergonomics of their work. The order picker stays in the area of the individual picking station while the robots automatically select and lift modular pick-walls and transport them to put-to-light stations. Here the system guides the order picker to select the right items and sort them properly for shipment. No more kilometers of walking to pick up merchandise and collect orders. For returns the items are easily restocked to the indicated locations. Other benefits from the robotic goods-to-person system are increased accuracy, reduced costs per pick and greater storage density, which reduces warehouse space requirements.
Bleckmann is constantly looking for first-rate, innovative solutions that contribute to the improvement of its services. Last year Bleckmann announced a European scoop being the first logistics service provider in Europe to use the American robot solution Chuck. However, until recently robotics were very expensive to obtain. Of late the investment is becoming more and more profitable. The simplicity of the robot guidance system allows for fast and flexible layout changes and the inherent flexibility of this modular approach allows for easy upscaling. After the success of the joint pilot project using Hikrobot carriers for e-commerce order fulfilment and processing of returns, Superdry and Bleckmann will expand automation in the fulfilment centre in Grobbendonk, Belgium.
Gordon Knox, Business Transformation and Logistics Director at Superdry explains: “As a multi-channel retailer competing in the fast-moving fashion sector, maintaining high product availability, efficient fulfilment and the rapid processing of returns is essential for ensuring the best possible customer experience. Automation has helped enhance these aspects of our operations.”
Reinardt van Oel, Chief Operations Officer at Bleckmann adds: “Use of robots is relatively easy, fast to implement and brings great gains in efficiency and work ergonomics. Being less reliant on employment in a scarce labor market is another great benefit, especially during peak periods. It all translates into better cost and resource management for Bleckmann and the customer. Together with Superdry we will continue to implement the latest technologies and solutions.”