Over the past year, Grenzebach and Geodis, a global supply chain operator, have been engaged in a joint project setting up a Grenzebach Goods-to-Person solution for a large consumer electronics customer.
The Goods-to-Person solution has been installed at Geodis’ Nashville, Tennessee campus. It features Grenzebach L600 automated guided vehicles, mobile storage units and picking stations as well as software.
The project has been run as a pilot program, designed to make the jobs of Geodis teammates easier, safer and more productive. Following the success of the pilot program, Geodis is now introducing Grenzebach AGV solutions to additional clients.
‘Pick functions will nearly double’
Eric Douglas, executive vice president of engineering and technology at Geodis, says: “The goal for working with Grenzebach is to make our teammates jobs easier and safer by minimizing travel while also increasing picking efficiency and accuracy – and we’re seeing tremendous results already.
“We’re estimating pick functions will nearly double and that training time for new employees will be reduced by more than 50 percent. This is critical for our clients who need to meet the rapid pace of today’s consumer demands.”
The goods-to-person solution optimizes warehouse operations by both speeding up processing and saving space. The L600 AGVs lift, move and present mobile storage units at picking stations where teammates remain stationary as opposed to walking the warehouse and pulling a pick cart.
Thus, travel paths for teammates are minimized and a safer work environment is provided. The picking stations can be used for both order picking and replenishment. They provide teams with a number of tools to support an efficient, reliable and accurate picking process.
For example, pick-by-light technology indicates to the employee which item to select for the orders currently being picked and points out the respective “on-shelf” storage position. Put-to-light technology indicates in which box picked items need to be placed.
This not only speeds up picking but also helps reduce errors. Currently, the solution helps with order picking for the customer’s retail stores. In the future, it is expected to be implemented for orders from their online shop that are directly shipped to consumers.
Constant improvement, maximum flexibility
A warehouse execution system, a software application, is also part of the Grenzebach solution, and makes the warehouse “think for itself”, says the company.
The software knows which goods are being stored and where, allocates the work intelligently and translates it into travel assignments for the L600 AGVs. This smooth process is constantly being refined through integrated artificial intelligence.
Vehicles are interchangeable and can be added or removed at any time. Thanks to this flexibility, customers can dynamically react to variations in their workload and scale the implemented solution accordingly.
If peaks occur, for example due to seasonality or unexpected situations like the current Covid-19 Pandemic, more AGVs can easily be added.
Also, the system can still be operated manually, for example in case of a power failure. Compared to manual operation, the AGV solution also allows for a denser storage configuration which helps customers saving space.