AuchanDirect.fr – a subsidiary of the French food retailer, Auchan – is delivering an average of 2,800 online grocery orders per day from a new distribution centre equipped with automation from KNAPP.
The share of grocery sales made online in France in 2017 was 5.6 per cent, placing the French market second among EU nations for grocery ecommerce, behind only the UK (7.5 per cent). To meet this growing demand and face the challenge of delivering orders on time to its customers in the Paris area, AuchanDirect opted for logistics automation at its new DC in Chilly Mazarin. Located on the southern edge of Paris, the 12,600m2 facility prepares and delivers online orders directly to customers’ homes within 24 hours.
Picking directly into bags
The new DC features KNAPP’s E-Grocer solution, a system designed specifically for the online food retail sector. Combining automatic and manual systems in order to ensure that orders are processed in the optimal way, E-Grocer comprises the OSR Shuttle™ solution for storage, picking and dispatch buffering; ergonomic Pick-it- Easy workstations for order fulfilment; and automatic stacking machines. Ambient goods, fresh foods and fruit and vegetables are all picked directly into bags suspended within totes – with three bags per tote and different colour bags for the various food types – in three different temperature areas, with frozen products being picked separately into special cool boxes.
Totes sequenced for picking
Incoming goods are decanted at one of 11 stations and then conveyed to the appropriate warehouse area. Fast-moving items are picked manually from pallets and flow racking into totes on a conveyor system, with the help of hand-held RF devices. Fast-movers are grouped into batch orders to streamline the path through the warehouse and optimize picking times. Medium- and slow-moving items are stored in the OSR Shuttle™ system, which supplies source totes in the correct sequence for order picking at the 12 Pick-it-Easy workstations. The picking process uses pick-to-light technology and the operator is guided through each order with the help of an intuitive user interface. Fruit and vegetables are picked directly from shelving into the bags of totes transported on a trolley, with totes then returned to the OSR store.
In addition to the main OSR Shuttle™ system – which features 34,816 tote locations over 16 levels – there is a separate OSR Shuttle™ store for fresh goods (10,880 locations) and another OSR Shuttle™ for ambient goods (4,096 locations). The latter is also used as a dispatch buffer, with completed orders being stored here until they are ready for dispatch. As soon as the orders for a particular route are completed, the totes are automatically retrieved from the OSR Shuttle™ in the fresh food area and/or from the dispatch buffer OSR Shuttle™ store and automatically stacked in reverse delivery sequence.
In addition to the logistics systems, KNAPP also supplied the software including its KiSoft WCS and KiSoft SCADA solutions.