Electrical wholesalers and warehouse automation specialists create the conditions for 24/7 operation with pick robots
Together with AM Logistic Solutions, the H. Gautzsch Group is testing further automation options for its AutoStore system: By using the new RiCO-bot pick robot, the wholesaler wants to fully automate its incoming goods and thus prevent the shortage of skilled workers.
Achieving maximum article availability with minimal capital commitment and at the same time being able to better plan human resources: These are the goals with which H. Gautzsch works on the automation of incoming goods. For this purpose, the wholesaler has commissioned the general contractor AM Logistic Solutions as a pilot customer to install the new RiCO-bot picking robot, which it intends to use for the complete automation of its incoming goods in addition to depalletizing and storage. The wholesaler will evaluate this usage scenario within the next six months. He checks whether and to what extent all the necessary work steps in his incoming goods department can be automated: automatically opening boxes, unloading full pallets, checking quantities, storing whole containers and partial units at a carousel port in the AutoStore bins, checking and optimizing stock levels. It is also about the best possible configuration of the robot to handle these tasks efficiently. At the end of the evaluation, the company plans to automate incoming goods for system-compatible products at all of its AutoStore systems.
Investment in the best possible customer service
For H. Gautzsch, the complex technology test and evaluation is a logical step in optimizing its customer service. As a specialist provider for the electrical trade, the company organizes the overnight shipping of switch boxes, electrical cables, sockets and the like to companies on site or directly to the construction site. To do this, the company accepts orders by 8 p.m., processes the orders and sends them for delivery by 7 a.m. – in good time before work starts on the following day. The basic requirement for this is that the wholesaler is always able to deliver across its entire range – right through to the C-articles in its portfolio. In order to be able to guarantee this service across the board, the company maintains its own transport fleet for delivery.
Comprehensive process optimization
The company relies on short order cycles for its inventory-oriented warehouse management. For this purpose, all delivered products must be stored as quickly as possible and made available to the customer. Warehouse employees in the incoming goods department have to put a lot of effort into this. “We can hardly find any new staff for these tasks,” reports authorized signatory Kai Möllers, operations manager at H. Gautzsch in Münster.
“That is why the automation of the incoming goods process is an important step to ensure our service quality.” A task that also played an essential role for AM Logistic Solutions in the development of the pick robot: “With the RiCO-bot we are continuing warehouse automation. This gives our customers additional flexibility and speeds up their processes, ”explains Norbert Golz, Managing Director of AM Logistic Solutions. “The holistic approach at H. Gautzsch uses these skills in a particularly efficient scenario.” After completion of the evaluation, H. Gautzsch will roll out the best possible robot configuration at all of its locations and equip all AutoStore ports in incoming goods with pick robots. “We are gradually developing towards 24-hour operation and we still have to find out how this constellation will affect AutoStore. In any case, we will develop a quality advantage for the future with the robots, ”says Kai Möllers.