Swisslog 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, Tesco, Wincanton, Ocado, Unilever, Walkers and Home Bargains.
Swisslog has improved performance for companies in multiple industries including:
• Retail, E-Grocery & 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 Falkner, Swisslog UK’s Head of Sales spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News.
What products or services does your company offer?
As a company, we deliver data-driven and robotic solutions for logistics automation alongside reliable, modular service concepts. Collaborating with forward-thinking companies, we are committed to setting new standards in warehouse automation to provide future-proof products and solutions.
Here in the UK, some of our most popular solutions are our flexible automated storage and retrieval systems, PowerStore and AutoStore, coupled with our modular and intelligent SynQ software.
Which industries do your customers operate in?
As experts in global industries such as retail, e-grocery and e-commerce, food and beverage and pharmaceuticals; we help businesses grow by finding the best possible solutions for specific logistics operations. Our consulting and system knowledge is backed by years of experience and the robotics know-how of KUKA.
At the core of our business is a strong commitment to solve the supply chain challenges of our customers.
Do you have any examples of a project you have recently completed?
Despite the obvious challenges, we managed to complete several customer projects in 2020. We recently installed a PowerStore system within a global grocery chain’s UK distribution centre, with our SynQ software forming the brain behind the solution. We also successfully implemented a new fully-automated storage and retrieval solution for Mai Dubai, a leading Dubai-based bottled drinking water company.
In addition, we recently implemented an AutoStore solution for a leading online UK retailer. The solution, which includes 90 robots, 42,500 storage bins, and eight carousel pick stations, frees up the workforce to focus on customer interaction.
Going forward, will the industry be permanently changed as a result of Covid-19 or will it return to how it was pre-Covid?
While the world faces an unprecedented crisis and many sectors experienced a drop in sales, the e-grocery industry experienced impressive growth rates. Consumer behaviours are clearly going to be permanently affected by the pandemic, and so are logistics processes.
With booming online orders and a decline in offline shoppers, many stores and their supporting supply chains had to quickly adjust in line with these changes. What we acknowledged is that overall, delivery of robotic and automation solutions needs to adapt to meet the new requirements of the market. So, we came up with the idea to develop a soft offer logistics model concept—off the shelf automation solutions.
In what areas are you making technological advances?
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. 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.
What is the company’s commitment to social responsibility?
We are advancing supply chain sustainability with energy-efficient solutions and less wasteful processes with our GreenLog initiative. With GreenLog marked products, our customers can be confident they are getting the most energy-efficient solutions for their supply chain.
Our portfolio of data-driven, flexible and robotic material handling solutions enables increased productivity, shorter order cycle times and faster response to change. Those same qualities, supported by an engineering focus on sustainability, enable a wide range of environmental benefits.
Are you helping customers boost the level of automation in their business?
We encourage new customers to automate as much as they can, where it makes sense. 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. Smaller improvements may be attractive due to their low investment, but they can also impede innovation, meaning the business falls behind when competitors transform their own operations.
Do you help customers maximise the 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 AMR-based storage and order picking system ideal for forward thinking companies that don’t want to make any constructional changes to their building.
What industries do you believe offer your business the most potential over the next year?
The e-commerce and e-grocery sectors offer huge potential in the coming years. Recent figures show that there was a 74% growth in average online transaction volumes in March compared with the same period last year. Consumers have likely discovered the safety and convenience of relying on internet transactions, making it highly likely this growth in the sector will be a permanent effect of the pandemic.
We have a wide range of automated solutions available to support the e-commerce and e-grocery sectors with this rise in demand, while allowing them to enforce social distancing guidelines in warehouses.
How futureproof and flexible are your solutions as businesses change?
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. Traditionally, automated warehouses have been associated with rigid systems that are unable to be moved or upgraded. That’s a thing of the past now.
Will you be exhibiting at any major trade shows over the next year?
Due to the current threat of Covid-19, we will be prioritising the safety of our staff and customers. Therefore, we will be continuing our strong focus on digital masterclasses, webinars and virtual tours to provide potential customers with a platform to explore automation opportunities for their businesses.
How would you sum up your company in three words?
Robotic, data-driven logistics
01527 551 600