First of all, can you talk us through the different products and services KNAPP provides?
The essence of what we deliver is highly efficient and accurate storage, order picking and dispatch. Our OSR Shuttle™ Evo – the latest generation of our shuttle storage system – forms the heart of many KNAPP solutions. Developed with our experience from over 25,000 shuttles delivered across 250 shuttle systems worldwide, OSR Shuttle™ Evo is designed for optimum performance in terms of speed, availability, energy efficiency and durability.
Another key technology in many of our retail and e-com solutions is our Pocket Sorter, which combines an overhead conveyor system with matrix sortation to arrange pockets containing picked items into the precise sequence required for dispatch. Other key products are our Open Shuttle AGVs, the KNAPP-Store robotic ASRS, A-frame autopickers, the Pick-it-Easy range of ergonomic fulfilment workstations, our robotic order picking system, intelligent conveyors and the range of garment-handling systems from Dürkopp Fördertechnik, a member of the KNAPP group.
What sets your company apart as a supplier in your category?
First and foremost, I would say it’s innovation. KNAPP has always been committed to investment in research and development but the amount invested is continually increasing – in the past business year, the R&D budget increased by 25% to 48 million euros. This is enabling us to remain a pioneer of intralogistics technology.
Secondly, we are renowned for the quality of our Customer Service operation, which ensures maximum system availability for clients worldwide. We recognize that speed, reliability and a partnership philosophy in aftersales support are very important factors in supplier selection; KNAPP has a reputation for not cutting corners in this area, which is critical for many distribution operations today.
What business sectors are your customers in? Which industry sectors are growing fastest for you?
The key industry sectors for KNAPP are retail, e-commerce, fashion, healthcare, food retail and industry. E-commerce and retail are booming for KNAPP subsidiaries worldwide, while the pharmaceutical wholesale market continues to be a significant source of business.
Which of your core products and solutions are you presenting on your stand at IMHX? Are you launching anything new at the show?
Exhibited for the first time in the UK will be our new Pick-it-Easy Evo workstation, which visitors will be able to interact with in live demonstrations. Developed with experience from over 1000 workstations from our Pick-it-Easy series delivered to date, Pick-it-Easy Evo combines ergonomic design with intuitive operation to enable warehouse staff to work smart, not hard. As well as minimizing the strain resulting from stretching, stooping and lifting, Pick-it-Easy Evo embodies KNAPP’s zero defect philosophy. LED displays and touch screens combine with the easyUse interface to ensure error-free, rapid and efficient processes.
Developed to work in synergy with our OSR Shuttle™ Evo automated storage system, the Pick-it-Easy Evo can either have a traditional connection to the store through a pre-zone or it can be connected directly to the OSR Shuttle™ in order to save space. A multitude of functions can be performed at the new workstation – from standard processes such as picking, decanting, consolidation and returns handling, to customer-specific operations. What’s more, Pick-it-Easy Evo is designed to handle a broad range of goods and load carriers – containers, trays and cartons in various dimensions – with loads of up to 50 kg.
Also featured on the stand will be KNAPP’s redPILOT software solution. This cloud-based software – developed by redPILOT GmbH, a start-up company within the KNAPP group – is designed to optimize warehouse logistics, with all experience gained being used for machine learning. The redPILOT solution helps warehouse operators to use available resources – such as systems, personnel, energy, space and materials – dynamically and intelligently in order to optimize performance in a context of constantly changing factors such as order structure, delivery dates and store optimizations.
Why should busy professionals from the warehouse and logistics industry take time out to visit your stand at IMHX?
As well as touching the physical equipment on our stand, visitors will have the opportunity to experience KNAPP’s virtual reality warehouse with our Pick-it-Easy Virtual system. Equipped with VR glasses and joysticks, they will be able to move around interactively in the virtual warehouse to experience a range of KNAPP automation technologies at first hand. In addition, members of our product development, sales and service teams will be on hand to discuss any potential projects or particular logistics challenges with visitors.
The last IMHX was 2016. How has your business changed since then?
Both the KNAPP group and KNAPP UK have grown considerably in the last three years. KNAPP AG’s net turnover has increased from 582 to 954 million euros over this period, with the number of staff worldwide growing by 50% from 3000 to 4500. In the UK, the number of employees has increased from 185 in 2016 to over 230 today, with this total projected to rise to over 290 next year.
Can you tell us about your major customer contract wins in the last three years? Do these represent new development areas for your company?
A major success for KNAPP UK was securing the order from Shop Direct for the intralogistics systems in its new, automated distribution centre at East Midlands Gateway. This is one of the largest orders ever for KNAPP UK and delivery is progressing well, with go-live planned for early next year. Other recent projects for KNAPP UK have included extensions or upgrades for John Lewis, M&S (Bradford) Alliance Healthcare, Well, Clarks and Phoenix Healthcare, as well as new projects for IKEA and M&S (Welham Green).
Which other countries do you operate in besides the UK? Which overseas markets are most important for you?
The KNAPP group has 41 locations around the world and the fastest-growing markets are currently in Europe and the USA, with a new headquarters building planned for the US. Over the past business year, KNAPP’s sites in Leoben and Dobl (Austria) have both been extended and the group’s capacity in Poland, Slovenia and Croatia – among other locations – has been expanded.
It’s three years to the next IMHX. Where do you see your company going in that time?
The intralogistics world is going to become increasingly digitalized and robotic. KNAPP is delivering this technology already but it will become the norm in UK warehouses and will be honed to a degree that will make material handling automated and streamlined to an unprecedented level across distribution and production operations.
KNAPP UK 01865 965 000
STAND NUMBER: 20D128