To cope with the boom in online orders and new customer expectations, textile specialists are successfully automating their warehouses. Explanations with Isabelle Dubois, Managing Director of Element Logic.
It’s no secret: the rise of e-commerce during the health crisis has exacerbated the challenges facing the logistics industry, as well as evolving customer expectations, both in terms of delivery times and quality of service. In addition, the current international context favors supply disruptions. To deal with this, you need to “optimize your warehouse management to focus on sourcing new products and improving the customer experience”, advises Isabelle Dubois, general manager of Element Logic, a company specializing in warehouse automation, which saw the its turnover has tripled in the last three years, along with that of some of its customers. This optimization in the management of the warehouses involves, in particular, a greater storage capacity, necessary to anticipate a possible shortage, for denser spaces in order to reduce costs, with at the same time a more precise management of the stock and an increase in the rate… that should not be done at the expense of working conditions… An equation that at first glance seems difficult to solve, but whose solution requires automation.
AutoStore, the densest storage system on the market
Historical integrator of the AutoStore system, Isabelle Dubois details the advantages: “It is a “cubic storage” type system that allows to reduce the space between the boxes as much as possible. It is the densest solution on the market, ahead of the shuttle, miniload or exotec systems. Here, all the robots circulate on a grid fixed to the ground and take the right products directly to the operators, which represents a significant gain in efficiency and working comfort. In addition, AutoStore adapts to all building shapes and system capacity can be increased by adding new boxes or robots, without disrupting current operations. » Software modularity, AutoStore can work with all warehouse management software (ERP/WMS) and WCS Element Logic Software. “We also provide our customers with equipment peripheral to the automation system: forming/closing machines, conveyor systems or AMR robots”, adds Isabelle Dubois, specifying the limits of the system: “Products must fit in 600mm x 400mm x 400mm containers weighing maximum 30kg, and the system operates between 0 and 35°, although the tests are being carried out in freezing conditions. »
Textile sector: why automate your warehouse?
An automation system that has something to interest mass distribution after players in cosmetics, electronics and of course clothing.
Isabelle Bion adds: “ With our automation solutions, we know how to meet all the specific needs of the textile sector: stock density to have diversified references in terms of colors or sizes, for example, product rotation between collections per season, management returns (main point because the number of items to be replaced in stock can reach up to 30% in some companies) and, finally, the multiplicity of types of items, with clothes and accessories that fit in crates and others that must be hung on hangers, which requires a warehouse equipped with different storage areas, with consolidation to be done in the same order. »
And with e-commerce sales proliferating in recent years, Element Logic customers who have passed the automation milestone are showing unequivocal performance: Ready-to-wear manufacturer Styleboom Fashion has reduced its storage space by 4,500 to 1,300 mtwomultiplying the order processing speed by 6. The same goes for professional clothing specialist New Wave, which has reduced its storage area by 8,000 mtwo for a 300% increase in productivity, or at Bergfreunde, an outdoor equipment brand that has multiplied its collection of articles by 5.
As for the ROI question of an automated warehouse? “It takes an average of 4 to 5 years to make this investment profitable and, at best, a year and a half when the warehouse is completely manual”, indicates Isabelle Dubois, citing the results of a white paper published by Element Logic back in to classes 2022.
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