Swisslog Logistics Automation designs, develops and delivers best-in-class automated logistics solutions for forward-thinking warehouses and distribution centres.
With customers across more than 50 countries, the technological pioneer works with big name companies including ASDA, P&G, Wincanton, Ocado, Unilever, Walkers and Home Bargains.
Swisslog has improved performance for companies in multiple industries including:
• Retail & E-Commerce – improving accuracy, pick rates, and inventory & returns management
• Beverage – delivering greater efficiency and space utilisation
• Food & Temperature Controlled – maximizing throughput for the freshest delivery
• Pharmaceuticals – reliable transport, storage, order fulfilment and quality control.
As a single-source supplier of integrated systems and services, Swisslog covers every phase of planning, design and implementation through servicing over the entire lifecycle of their automated solutions. Swisslog is a member of the KUKA Group, one of the world’s leading suppliers of intelligent automation solutions.
Shane Faulkner, Head of Sales at Swisslog UK spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News.
What are your best-known products and services?
More and more companies are warming to the idea of flexible automation. The Swisslog CarryPick and ItemPiQ solutions revolutionise picking, while ACPaQ fully automates mixed pallet creation. There is also an increasing awareness of the importance of the right warehouse management software. Our SynQ software is dubbed a best-in-class intralogistics platform. It enables insights, optimization and new possibilities in storage and distribution operations.
What new products/services will you be launching next year?
We are really excited about the new capabilities of our SynQ software. Data-driven solutions are driving technology forward, and the market is embracing it. SynQ is a proven software with over 200 references and we are continuously developing this with further releases planned for 2020.
Tell us about your business highlights or a project you have recently completed?
2019 saw Swisslog celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vectura, our automated stacker crane for pallet warehouses. With 575 logistics projects completed in 35 countries, and a total of 3,870 stacker cranes installed – the numbers speak for themselves.
2019 has been one of the best performing years for Swisslog in the UK, with solutions sold from across our entire technology portfolio to leading retailers and 3PLs. Our latest customer connections seeking storage and distribution efficiency are stretched across the globe. For example, we are working with Texet to supply and implement an AutoStore solution in its warehouse in Aarschot, Belgium. The scalable system is controlled by our intelligent SynQ warehouse management software. More recently, we partnered with Toll Group, delivering a 200% productivity lift and a later order cut-off time.
What challenges will the business environment offer to your industry in the coming year? How will you turn these challenges into opportunities?
The growing popularity of data driven solutions has put a sharp focus on specific logistics challenges, and we are looking forward to meeting this demand by continuing to develop our SynQ software platform. We’ve seen an increased interest in solutions that allow users to utilise data to strengthen their operation.
Are you investing in new premises over the next 12 months? What about recruitment, staff development and training?
Recruiting and retaining talent is high on the agenda and we have recently launched a Software Trainee Scheme to help us meet this challenge. We are now looking to expand this scheme into other departments. It is only with the hard work of Swisslog colleagues that our business has become what it is today. We take pride in showing our appreciation for this by investing in our work environments across the globe, to make the workplace as inspiring and ergonomic for our employees as possible.
Do your solutions reduce manual handling and physical lifting?
Most of our solutions allow human workers to focus more on value adding tasks rather than manual handling. This reduces workplace accidents and enhances job satisfaction. Aside from the benefits on workers, our robotics applications guarantee maximum speed, accuracy, and efficiency to warehouse operations. Our comprehensive service portfolio and smart software solutions can also ensure reliable performance and 100% availability.
How do your solutions help customers increase the level of automation in their business?
We have automation solutions available for businesses who want to make small incremental changes to their warehouse operation. Equally, we have systems more suited to those looking for a more revolutionary change. We encourage new customers to automate as much as they can, where it makes sense. Smaller improvements can impede innovation, making them fall behind when competitors transform their own operations.
How do you help customers make optimum use of their existing warehouse space?
The entire Swisslog portfolio aims to make optimal use of space and warehouse capacity. Our space-saving solutions are able to be set up in our customers’ existing warehouse spaces. PowerStore is the ideal high-density pallet shuttle solution for warehouses with low ceilings, fewer unique products and high throughput requirements. CarryPick, on the other hand, is a modular and flexible AGV-based storage and order picking system ideal for forward thinking companies that don’t want to make any constructional changes to their building.
How much do your solutions and products contribute to warehouse safety?
With the use of robotic applications comes increased accuracy, and this means fewer workplace accidents. For instance, in a manual warehouse, forklifts move pallets of goods. Here, there is a risk of human error triggering the truck or pallet to tip and causing life-changing injuries to the driver. However, in an automated warehouse, mistakes are less likely to happen. Even if there was an error, the risk is mostly on the robotics, which can be repaired.
To what extent are you drivers of technological change?
Our aim at Swisslog is to shape the future of intralogistics by introducing a new era of robotic, data-driven, flexible automated solutions that create exceptional customer value. We are constantly looking at new technology to make distribution centres more efficient, and even have dedicated Technology Centres devoted to improving our product portfolio.
How futureproof and flexible are your solutions as businesses change?
In the past, automated warehouses have been associated with rigid systems that are unable to be moved or upgraded. That’s all changed now. Our portfolio consists of flexible and future-ready automation, that has the capacity to be transferred from one site to another when the business grows. Our SynQ software is based on modules, which means functionality can be added or removed as requirements change.”
And finally, if you had to sum up your company in a hashtag what would it be?
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