According to Vanderlande Industries, automated order consolidation can significantly enhance the efficiency and speed of a distribution centre’s outbound operation. It can also enhance store-friendly delivery and reduce transport costs by optimising the loading of dollies, pallets and roll cages. Material flows from different (order picking) areas come together in an AS/RS. Vanderlande Industries QUICKSTORE HDS shuttle system is a cost-effective solution for short-term storage of order totes. Within a short time period, flows can be sorted and grouped per order, delivery unit or shipment, and then dispatched in the exact sequence required. The result is fast, efficient order consolidation and store-friendly delivery with minimal manual labour requirements. Vanderlande has significant experience in designing and implementing order consolidation systems, including at Tesco in the UK:
Tesco has two dedicated Dot Com Only Stores (DCOS) to handle the picking and delivery of groceries ordered via Tesco.com. Orders coming in from the website were previously processed in Tesco Superstores in the area. Personal Shoppers hand-picked products directly from store shelves, which were then delivered by small fleets of vans based at the stores. Tesco needed to reduce the impact of the Dot Com operation in certain stores while at the same time addressing space constraints for the van numbers in particular geographic areas, with a store-based order fulfilment model. This led Tesco to re-evaluate the potential for a dedicated facility. Tesco selected Vanderlande to explore this potential, which resulted in a successful partnership in 2 facilities in the UK. Vanderlande supplied the material handling and control system for the order consolidation process and the release and sortation of the consolidated orders to the delivery vans.
At the start of the day, order details and van schedules are downloaded from the Tesco Host to the Vanderlande control system. Stock in the dedicated “store” is laid out exactly like a supermarket, except that the “customers” are replaced by order picking staff. Pickers pick product from shelving into plastic customer order crates held on trolleys. A picker can pick up to six customer orders simultaneously, spread across van routes. Completed orders are brought to a manually loaded infeed line, which takes the crates to a consolidation buffer. The consolidation buffer consists of a 3-aisle QUICKSTORE HDS shuttle system. Each aisle is split into two vertical modules, equipped with 6 shuttles per aisle (18 shuttles in total). Each shuttle can access 3 levels of shelving. The customer order crates are spread throughout the HDS consolidation buffer and held until a predefined release time of complete delivery van loads. When empty vans are assigned and directed to a loading bay, the driver will indicate the van’s presence to the HDS to initiate release of all ambient orders destined for that van. The HDS will release crates to be sorted and loaded in reverse drop sequence. On exit from the site the van is scanned and that load deleted from the system. The DCOS in Aylesford opened in October 2008. The second DCOS in Greenford became operational in 2010. This solution is proving to have a quick payback time in freeing up expensive retail sales space in existing superstores and enabling faster growth of Dot Com sales. Other benefits include improved accuracy, traceability and a reduction in product damage.
For further information about Vanderlande’s order consolidation solutions, please visit www.vanderlande.com