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„All-in-One“: Order Fulfillment at a new level

Fit for the future with WITRON: scalable - flexible - cost-efficient - ergonomic

Photo: Witron

Photo: Witron

Photo: Witron

Photo: Witron

Photo: Witron

Parkstein, Germany. The need for innovative logistics processes remains high: The world of retail is turning faster and faster. Product ranges are expanding quickly, delivery cycles become even shorter, new products, trends, and services are developed almost daily - and logistics experts have to find sustainable and cost-efficient solutions for these requirements. Due to these complex requirements, WITRON embarks on a new era of E-Commerce logistics. With a solution that is suitable for all system sizes and industry sectors, almost all business models, SKU ranges and supply channels, with short order cycle times, integrated returns handling, ergonomic, flexible, scalable, and thus highly cost-efficient. With its “All-in-One” system, the automation integrator from Parkstein has brought Order Fulfillment to a new level. 

The requirements of consumers addressed to retailers in almost all industry sectors become more extensive and more complex. Many customer demands represent enormous challenges to the logistics experts. With the new “All-in-One Order Fulfillment” concept, WITRON uses the benefits of practically proven functionalities and processes for all items and distribution channels (store delivery, E-Commerce, Omni-Channel) in one integrated system and thus offers the ideal solution from ambitious start-ups to established retail giants. AIO is a new WITRON development that benefits from the experience of 2,000 successfully implemented logistics projects. 

 “All” stands for...

  • all processes: From repacking the goods (if necessary), via the order picking, through to consolidation - thanks to the intelligent design, “All-in-One” combines these processes in a compact manner, which are oftentimes separated in many conventional solutions. 
  • all SKU ranges: Regardless of whether it concerns fast or slow movers, special offers, piece picking, or small cases: the dynamic assignment of the items to the respective picking workstations offers the decisive advantage. While a SKU change from fast movers to slow movers requires a considerable organizational effort within conventional systems, it is done dynamically and fully automatically in the AIO system. Through intelligent and efficient relocation processes, these current measurements of the respective items are saved in the system.  
  • all daily scenarios: Due to the permanent and flexible access to all products, it is possible to handle unplanned order peaks and planned sales promotions at the same time and without any problems. Thanks to this high flexibility, it is possible to cover both average days as well as seasonal peaks such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, or Christmas within the same system, cost-efficient, and staff flexible. 
  • all business models and supply channels such as store delivery, home delivery, or pick-up points: The flexibility of the system allows the operation of all supply concepts. For the retailer it is no longer important if the goods are delivered to the customer at home or to a store. The returns handling, regardless if returns are received from the store or the end customer is also integrated in a cost-efficient manner. 
  • all system sizes and changes: Thanks to the modular design, the “All-in-One Order Fulfillment” is suitable for almost all company sizes. The flexible scalability allows an ideal adaption to the growth and changing business processes of the company. It is possible to start with a basic solution that grows with the customer’s business. Additional aisles, storage locations, items, functionalities, workstations, mechanical elements, etc. can be added seamlessly and without special efforts. 
  • all industry sectors: “All-in-One Order Fulfillment” is not focused on specific industries. Regardless of food, near-food, non-food, pharmaceutical, or parts distribution. The flexible concept of the solution can be adapted to every application.  
  • all order picking variants: Whether small-volume orders are being picked directly into the shipping carton at multi-functional and ergonomic workstations or store orders from a variable pick front are picked into the store tote at zone workstations. “All-in-One” supports a wide range of options. Even more: The solution determines the “most cost-efficient pick” for every order by comparing all order parameters and considering “family group” specifications.  

“One” stands for  

  • the integration of all these logistical processes and challenges in one system, which - controlled by the software - always provides the most efficient way out of the compactly designed “All-in-One” storage center via order picking, and through to dispatch. All storage levels are constantly linked with one other thanks to high-performance mechanics systems developed by WITRON.  

Processes that are handled in two separate warehouse sections and need to be consolidated extensively in a conventional logistics environment are covered by “All-in-One” in only one integrated system. The result: significant efficiency and performance increase of the picking and packing processes as well as considerable investment savings. The consequence is shown in an extremely compact design, short and transparent material flows. Thus, only a minimum of conveyors is required.

The basis of this innovative solution is the intelligent distribution of the goods in the AIO storage center, which is used to pick goods from totes and/or cartons directly into the respective dispatch unit. The use of state-of-the-art stacker cranes such as DML shuttles (Dynamic Mini Load) ensures a permanent optimization of the goods distribution in all warehouse aisles.  

With the new “All-in-One” system, WITRON is able to significantly improve order picking in the fast mover area and increase the pick performance using a Multi-Order-Picking concept, which allows the parallel picking of several customer orders at innovative zone workstations. More important is workstation ergonomics through continuous developments like the supply of order and storage totes especially adapted to the picker, as well as the individually adjustable height of the workstations.  

For all picking variants, WITRON’s portfolio offers successful functionalities and processes that have proven to be cost-efficient and ergonomic in practical use - regardless of whether picking is done into totes or directly into the shipping carton. The smart picker guiding system supported by a RFID wristband ensures an optimal use of the picker. Flexibility is given through the possibility to dynamically use personnel depending on the workload: On days with “normal” workload, a picker can work at several workstations, while several employees can be used per workstation or pick zone on peak days. In addition, the pickers are able to complete orders consisting of slow and fast movers in one work process without having to log in or log off from different workstations. Thanks to RFID, the pickers are automatically identified in the respective area. The short distances to be covered by the pickers and the innovative, multi-functional order picking principle ensure maximum ergonomics. Considerably shorter order cycle times are the result. The RFID-based and integrated access monitoring immediately shows the picker possible pick errors and avoids them according to the “Poka-Yoke” principle. After prior quality control and repackaging, if required, returns can be easily reintegrated into the inventory via the reverse order picking principle. So-called “value added services” can also be integrated and processed without any problem. 

WITRON’s warehouse management system  especially developed for the fulfillment sector plays a central role in the “All-in-One System”. This is because the WMS controls and optimizes the entire material flow, from the receiving area and through to the route and dispatch management. It also includes all strategies and processes for a sustainable returns management. It has also an overview of the entire supply chain - according to the principles of Smart Logistics 4.0. All changes in the vertical and horizontal process chain (e.g. master data, inventory, machines, orders, SKUs, stores, tours, distribution channels, frame conditions) flow permanently and directly into the logistics process ensuring a fluid logistics with high efficiency and flexibility. This is reflected, for example, in leading-edge and pro-active control station functions, which generate action recommendations for the retailer in a system-controlled manner.