KNAPP solution ensures efficient automation for Spanish online grocer

13th March 2015

Logistics BusinessKNAPP solution ensures efficient automation for Spanish online grocer

With a range of over 7,000 items, delivers fresh foods, ambient goods, frozen items, drinks and toiletries directly to customers by the next day at the latest. Due to its expertise in high-performance single item picking, the company chose KNAPP to design and realise a future-oriented automated logistics solution.

Grocery e-commerce poses considerable challenges for intralogistics – such as the need for minimum throughput times, flexible and efficient picking and detailed stock management for the entire product range. With the E-Grocer system, KNAPP has developed the ideal automation solution for these specialised demands. One of the key success factors for has been the picking of items directly into the assigned shopping bag. Handling the broad range of products across several temperature zones was an additional challenge, with the various article groups differing in terms of their storage period and type, therefore requiring separate storage and picking.

Voice picking from pallet for fast-movers

Fast-moving articles are stored in a manual picking area, to be picked directly from the pallet into the shopping bag, which eliminates the need for depalletizing. The fast-moving articles are combined into batch orders, thereby optimising the path and time for picking several orders simultaneously. Empty containers are automatically provided to the picking staff from the empty container buffer via conveyor. The articles are picked directly from the pallet into bags suspended in the order containers, which are then conveyed by picking cart through the fast-mover area. The manual picking process is guided by KiSoft Voice, KNAPP’s voice-directed order picking system. After the fast-moving articles have been picked into the order containers, they are transferred to the OSR Shuttle™ system via conveyor, where they are temporarily stored until the order has been either completely picked at the goods-to-person workstations, or is ready to be dispatched.

Two OSR Shuttle™ stores

Medium- and slow-moving articles, meanwhile, are stored in KNAPP’s OSR Shuttle™ system. Two OSR Shuttle™ stores form the heart of the warehouse – one is used for ambient goods and the other for fresh foods and as a dispatch buffer. The OSR Shuttle™ store for ambient articles has two rack lines and totes are stored double-deep in 9,216 locations, while the OSR Shuttle™ for fresh food has three rack lines with totes stored single-deep in 4,680 locations. The assignment of goods to a specific storage location and the storage of the containers in the right temperature zone is handled fully automatically by the central warehouse management system, KiSoft WMS, and its subsystems.

Pick-to-light technology

At the five highly ergonomic Pick-it-Easy workstations, either empty totes from the empty container buffer or containers with partial orders coming from the manual area are provided for picking. Goods required for orders are retrieved from the OSR Shuttle™ system and orders are fulfilled at the workstations using pick-to-light technology. Completed order containers are then stored in the OSR Shuttle™ dispatch buffer until required for loading. As soon as the orders for a route are completed, the order containers are automatically retrieved in the optimal sequence from the dispatch buffer and conveyed to an automatic stacking machine.
Using various checking mechanisms – including automatic weight check scales – KNAPP has successfully implemented its zero-defect-warehouse philosophy at the facility. The e-tailer processes about 1,000 orders a day through the distribution centre for same-day or next-day delivery to its customers.