57 robots operating on 12,500 sq m of warehouse space. 650 shelves, 6 robot loading stations and 7 operating stations. This is part of the automated warehouse of M.W. Ltd. a company specializing in particular in the provision of comprehensive services for e-commerce companies. A company whose 60% shares are owned by M.B.B Logistics sp.z o.o., and 40% by WingSing Supply Chain Co. LTD was established in 2018, and has been using its solutions almost from the very beginning.
The company mainly serves clients from Asia (sales platforms) and producers of consumer electronics. In order to meet all the requirements and expectations of both the Polish and European e-commerce market, the company works closely with the University of Logistics in Poznań (WSL), placing great emphasis on computerization, automation and robotics of the warehouse, the total area of which in a modern warehouse complex is 12 500 sq m. Where did the idea for such innovations come from?
The decision to invest in an innovative robot system, involved in the handling of 75% of the goods stored by the company, was also made due to the modern requirement of flexibility in the environment of logistics operators, the need to minimize costs and shorten delivery times, as well as due to changes in the human factor, that is, the currently observed decline in labor productivity and the aging of the population. The company was looking for a solution dedicated to clients from the B2B and B2C sectors, and also applicable to any type of product. As of today, the company, in cooperation with WSL, conducts research on the effectiveness of the implemented solution.
Our warehouse shelves are constructed in such a way that each type of product is served. Our warehouse includes both small and large products. The robot can carry a weight of up to 1000 kg. We currently provide services to companies specializing in the sale of electronics, the fashion industry, FMCG and household appliances. I can say unequivocally that thanks to the flexibility of the module, we can work with products of any type and size. Universalism is one of the greatest advantages of this technology – says Krzysztof Roszyk, operational director of M.W. Ltd.
The process of collecting data, creating calculations, simulations, mapping and designing the warehouse to choose the best possible solutions lasted 6 months. The main assumption that was to be met by the system was the shipping efficiency of at least 15,000 parcels per day. It was also necessary to remember about the possibility of expanding the system, allocating goods to another warehouse, as well as issues related to service and after-sales service.
The implementation of the system took 3 months, and the first 30 days were spent on reliability, efficiency and effectiveness tests of the selected solution. So let’s take a look at the effects.
Currently, the robots are located in a hall with an area of 12,500 sq m, and the automated system covers 8,000 sq m. The system manages 10,000 SKUs and 500,000 products. The company has 57 autonomous robot units and all operations are managed by a system that intelligently guides the movement of the robots in the most optimal way. The requirement to be able to ship 15,000 packages a day has been met. In addition, the work environment has been designed to allow people and robots to work in the same place. At each of the 7 operating stations, employees can perform three different tasks: picking, put-away and inventory checking.
The robots can work continuously for up to 9 hours. When the battery level drops to 5%, the robot automatically moves to the charging station (10 minutes of charging allows for 2 hours of work), and in the event of a situation in which it does not have the prescribed operation, the robot switches to stand-by mode, saving energy
The system is supported by artificial intelligence, which works on the principle of continuous learning. By systematically collecting and analyzing data, the system itself improves its efficiency, e.g. by arranging shelves with products in such a storage area to shorten the time of product travel to the employee.
The implemented solutions significantly influenced the productivity of operations. The traditional method of complementation allows one employee to achieve a result of approx. 70 – 120 products per hour. The selected system allows you to collect a minimum of 500 products at the same time. This fourfold increase in the productivity of order picking was achieved by eliminating the time-consuming factor, i.e. the movement of employees around the warehouse in order to find the right products. Robotics also allowed to improve the performance of work inside the warehouse. The error threshold is only 0.01%.
It is also worth mentioning the savings generated by the implemented system.
The robots do not need lighting to work, so a large part of the lights can be turned off, which translates into several thousand euro savings per year. We gain from the comfort of work, which is appreciated by employees and influences their turnover. Thanks to the easy-to-use system, created for cooperation in the “man-machine” environment, we have shortened the time of employee implementation, which also brings financial benefits. We have certainly increased our operational capabilities, thanks to which we are able to process more orders. In addition, the company, when implementing the project, takes into account the pursuit of the goal of zero emissions of pollutants and energy savings. In the near future, we have planned further solutions that will allow us to improve the current result – says Krzysztof Roszyk.
The interview was conducted by consultants from the Industrial and Logistics Space Leasing Department at BNP Paribas Real Estate Poland – Klaudia Biedrzycka and Tomasz Gnich.