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Boston Scientific introduces ‘touchless distribution’ at its distribution center

Boston Scientific has offices in more than 100 countries and says it is committed to changing lives through innovative medical solutions that improve the health of patients around the world. 

At the distribution center in Kerkrade, Boston Scientific began automating its distribution center in 2013. The aim of the manufacturer and distributor of medical products is: “touchless distribution”.

The implementation of intralogistics company Inther Group’s Automated Document Applicator (ADA) is an important part of this.

Every year, 24 million patients worldwide are helped thanks to one or more of Boston Scientific’s 13,000+ solutions. From the distribution center in Kerkrade, 60,000 medical products are shipped worldwide every day.

On average, about 5,000 boxes per day. These huge numbers created a need at Boston Scientific for an innovative and fully automatic solution for printing and attaching the packlist on shipping boxes. The choice fell on the ADA from Inther Group.

Automated Document Applicator

Boston Scientific places all documents or packlists on the outside of the shipping boxes.

Previously, attaching documentation to the box was done manually which made for a very time-consuming process.

A very time consuming process. Automation of this process was necessary to cope with growth.

The Automated Document Applicator was the perfect solution for Boston Scientific, specifically because the ADA can automatically print, fold and attach multiple pages to the outside of the box.

Use of the first Automated Document Applicator began in 2017, and soon after, a second ADA followed.

The Automated Document Applicator extracts the correct data from SAP and knows exactly which products are in each shipping box. The correct documentation is automatically printed from here, including a complete order list.

Jack Frijns, director of engineering at Boston Scientific: “With the Automated Document Applicator we can now provide our orders fully automatically with documentation and a shipping label.”

ROI <1 year

Frijns says: “We are in an operation in which we have to ship every order at the end of the day. Failure is not an option here because tomorrow there will be a patient on the operating table who needs medical devices.

“In that respect, high stability is required and the Automated Document Applicator can provide this. This solution is fully integrated inline into the total conveyor system in our DC in Kerkrade.”

Meanwhile, Boston Scientific has purchased a second Automated Document Applicator. With these two machines, Boston Scientific is prepared for the future – and expected growth.

Placing and confirming documentation on shipping boxes manually is a time consuming process. Automating this logistics process can be very beneficial for an organization.

Inther says that, with the Automated Document Applicator, the return on investment is “extremely attractive” and the the cost of the ADA can be “recouped within six months”.

Facts and figures about Boston Scientific’s touchless distribution system:

  • On average 60,000 order lines per day
  • On average 5,000 shipping boxes per day
  • Print/fold up to four pages per shipping box
  • Packlist documents are automatically folded
  • Fully automatic processing up to 400 boxes per hour

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