Modern Distribution Centres should be Precise and Fast

13th August 2020

Logistics BusinessModern Distribution Centres should be Precise and Fast

Phoenix Pharma has more than 23 years of experience in the pharmaceutical market in Bulgaria. The company is part of the Phoenix Pharma Pharmahandel Aktiengesellschaft & Co KG group, with headquarters in Mannheim, Germany. It’s the largest pharmaceutical wholesaler in Germany and the second largest distributor of pharmaceutical products in Europe.

For its latest project – the modernization of an existing distribution centre in Bulgaria – the company chose STAMH – a leader in warehouses systems, storage technologies and material handling in Center and Eastern Europe. Phoenix Pharma relies on 153 distribution centers in Germany and many sorting centers in Eastern Europe. In Germany, Phoenix Pharma’s has to deliver goods and prepare orders for more than 12,000 pharmacies. This requires extremely fast and efficient intralogistics strategies, fast and reliable picking, and precise order preparation.

One of the main challenges for the STAMH engineering team for this project was the optimization of the storage space. STAMH professionals had to accelerate new orders assembling with faster picking operations, bring better organization and better zones distribution for the operators in the warehouse. Other important goals, related to warehouse automation, were the significant reduction of manual work, the reduction of walking distances for each operator and the reduction of time, needed to search items and SKU’s in the warehouse – ordered by the pharmacies. One of the main goals for STAMH, us always, was the optimization of the storage space achieving more useful space in the warehouse.

Regarding storage space optimization – STAMH installed an entirely new storage system, a combination of three different solutions offered by the company – Carton Flow Gravity Racks – for faster picking and better sorting, Mito Racking Systems – suitable for lighter pharmaceutical products and Conventional Storage Systems for heavier palletized products. In addition, Phoenix Pharma required STAMH to make the preliminary measuring activities and to install new systems, without interrupting all operations in the working sorting centers – new orders kept coming to the distributor.

The STAMH engineering team focused on storage density, fast picking operations and better and precise sorting. Sometimes with more than 10 orders per minute, the distribution centre needed more automated processes to prepare orders quickly, efficiently and without errors. “As you may see, storage activities and order preparation had to be done simultaneously in a very synchronized way,” said Rumen Hristov form STAMH.

All new systems in the Pharma warehouse were organized in a way that each operator had a precisely defined function and work area. This way, each request for a set of pharmaceutical products is now prepared much faster and more efficiently. Less resources are used, and the distribution center can now meet market requirements faster. To optimize the intralogistics strategy for orders preparation and the numerous requests, STAMH engendering team implemented a high technology system of motorized and non-motorized conveyor lines.

The conveyor system was a combination of different solutions. Two types of conveyors were installed near the lower part of the Carton Flow Gravity Shelving System, facilitating thus the picking operations, carried by the operators in the warehouse. This system significantly reduced the distance, travelled by each operator for each picking operation.