Elesa’s new strongly automated Logistics Centre responds to nowadays’ critical situation by setting one clear objective: to be present, timely and punctual. This state-of-the-art plant has very high potential: the company’s punctuality indicators confirm that for standard products 99.7% of shipment dates are met.
Elesa’s new strongly automated Logistics Centre respond to its customers’ needs in terms of customer proximity, timeliness and punctuality in an extremely difficult situation. An efficient service translates into ready availability of products in stock, careful packaging and fast shipping.
A punctual and efficient service is something that is not always easy to achieve if you consider more than 50,000 product codes stocked at the Monza warehouse and the need to ship that day or at least within 24 hours.
“We are increasingly operating as ‘just in time’ suppliers and with very pressed order splitting” pointed out David Sordi, Integrated Logistics Manager. “Many direct customers order precise quantities to equip machines under construction on their production lines, and our components must arrive at their production line the day before. In this way the customer doesn’t have to keep stock, our logistics centre ensures the availability of products and the right delivery times.” Also significant are the volumes generated by our numerous direct customers, both in Italy and abroad who can buy just a single product pack without a minimum spend, which often corresponds to a single part, while the recent introduction of e-commerce has posed new challenges. “If on the one hand e-commerce has opened up a new and promising market, allowing us to approach sectors that we do not often traditionally target, on the other hand, the complexity of all of the logistics activities has increased because customers order even minimal quantities and expect an immediate service and for the goods to always be available in the warehouse. Added to this is also a psychological component that should not be overlooked: if a customer knows that the product is available and he is sure to receive it within the required time frame he is more likely to order it immediately.” said Carlo Bertani, CEO.
A significant investment for a state-of-the-art structure
The new Logistics Centre in Monza required a significant investment; this impressive, state-of-the-art structure relies on the latest technology in this sector, built by the company Incas (Italy), which is part of the German Group SSI Schäfer, one of the biggest manufacturers of warehouse systems in the world. Materials are handled in a completely automatic way via super fast shuttles, used to pick up packages and deliver them to the picking stations. The shuttles move along the various sections of the warehouse covering its entire volume, thus guaranteeing speed and accuracy, in addition to a very high capacity of number of pickings per hour. “It is a newly-designed plant, specifically because of the working methods, in which is the box containing the material that is brought to the operator via the shuttles pending the picking station, is in turn designed to be ergonomic and safe.” explained Sordi. A movement already precise in itself, but assisted for additional safety by a series of control devices: the correctness of the number of parts is checked according to weight, then a video image checks the correspondence of the product, while a laser identifies the exact point where to pick up the part in the compartment of the box. Finally, there is a traditional bar code check.
Advantages in terms of speed of response to the customer
“The system is very innovative and we can already see advantages in terms of speed of response to the customer.” added Bertani. The plant has very high potential that we are already using to a good level. In addition, our punctuality indicators confirm that for standard products 99.7% of shipment dates are met and therefore the promise to the customer and over 98% of the order lines we receive are stock immediately available. Another important factor introduced is a marked improvement in the working conditions of staff who work at a well-organised station: heights are more correct and ergonomic, there is less lifting of weights and antistress mats have also been installed to reduce operator fatigue.”
In addition, safety conditions have been increased since there are no longer any order picker trucks moving between the warehouse aisles.
It should be noted in fact that the material coming from the production area is also moved towards the logistics centre using long motorised conveyor belts and therefore it is no longer necessary to perform transport operations with forklifts.
A more traditional warehouse is used just for products sold in large quantities and for very heavy materials, where wire-guided trucks operate, assisted by a navigation system based on GPS satellite system with Warehouse Management Software (WMS) that identifies the pallet picking areas, speeding up operations and making them error-free and intrinsically safe.