Automated warehouse and logistics technology leader, Swisslog, believes micro-fulfilment centres (MFCs) are one of the key advances that will enhance supply chain efficiency, by bringing order fulfilment closer to the customer.
Swisslog experts have presented trends, insights and knowledge on MFCs to the Refrigerated Warehouse and Transportation Association (RWTA) conference held in Queensland in March this year.
As a global player in automation, Swisslog has hundreds of automation solutions in operation worldwide, and the company is seeing strong growth in MFCs from its major customers operating in e-grocery and other e-commerce markets.
“MFCs have been expanding strongly since their first introduction in 2018, and this has only been further accelerated by Covid driving more sales online,” says Sean Ryan, head of sales and consulting, Swisslog Australia, who gave the presentation to the RWTA conference, along with Swisslog Senior Consultant – Consumer Goods, Arijit Biswas.
“Companies that employ an intelligent automation solution for their MFC early can reduce picking costs and provide faster delivery times to customers. Once these systems are in place, intelligent software can calculate where further efficiencies can be gained,” says Ryan.
“Traceability and compliance are always major factors in any supply chain, and there are even more considerations with cold chain and refrigerated warehouses, so it’s important to have an automation partner that’s experienced and can provide an individually tailored solution,” he says.
Intelligent software optimises automation solutions
The RWTA presentation focused on trends in the e-commerce industry, which was a $30 billion industry in 2019, a figure which is expected to continue to grow, as more people utilise online shopping options.
“It’s important not just to have the right automation technology, but to have an intelligent software controlling operations to improve cubic utilisation, track-and-trace, compliance and efficiency benefits,” says Ryan.
Swisslog’s SynQ warehouse control system software has been designed as a modular warehouse management system that can optimise processes and efficiency, providing benefits such as:
• Maximising cubic utilisation
• Increasing revenue for 3PL operations comparing same cubic space
• Better FTE (Full Time Equivalent) utilisation and labour savings
• Manages shelf life and best-by dates
• Real-time inventory tracking
• Efficient integration of essential equipment like weigh scales
• Pre-pick orders to maximise your picking process and even out workload during peak times
• Handle and reconcile exceptions and mis-counts
• Easily interfaced to any ERP (SAP, Manhatten, proprietary)
• Track your order through non-automated picking process
• Cold chain compliance
• Data analytics to understand optimisations and performance KPI‘s
“SynQ provides a high level of flexibility and modularity to a broad range of automated warehousing solutions. It gives companies the ability to quickly adapt to new business scenarios, whilst remaining competitive and profitable,” says Ryan.