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Wide product range - very short delivery times

Significant increase in small-volume business requires an even higher picking dynamic

Photo: WITRON

Phoenix Contact, a global player in the field of electrical engineering, electronics and automation technology, will once again expand its automatic small parts warehouse (AS/RS), located at its headquarters in Blomberg (Germany). The goal is to significantly increase dynamics and efficiency of the logistics location. More than 30,000 items are already available for next day delivery when ordered by 4pm. The implementation takes place during ongoing operation in the existing facility. The order for the design and realization was awarded to WITRON Logistik + Informatik GmbH. The realization was characterized by a joint thorough design phase of the two project partners. Following productive use of the expansion in the third quarter of 2020, many thousands of packages for small volume orders and totes for larger order will be shipped on a peak day to customers and sales companies located in more than 50 countries. 

The expansion of the logistics capacities is now needed especially due to the permanently growing small order business and the customers’ demand for ever faster delivery times. 

Increase in pick performance

Ten additional multi-functional pick workstations (in total 31 pick workstations) developed according to demanding and ergonomic specifications will be implemented as well. Depending on the order size, every workstation will pick into totes or directly into the corrugated shipping box. Thus, it is possible to pick more than 2,000 order lines per hour, increasing the pick performance by 50%. WITRON’s IT system determines independently the correct shipping unit. Various checking mechanism and innovative terminal dialogs will guide the logistics operator through the process without errors. The storage capacity is also being increased by further automated OPS aisles with 60,000 tote storage locations (in total 253,000 tote storage locations) as well as nine additional stacker cranes (in total 36 stacker cranes).

Parallels to online business: Changed purchasing behavior - high customer service

While customers of Phoenix Contact ordered in large quantities in the past, today, they order in a much more demand-oriented manner from an assortment of more than 30,000 different products. In addition to next day delivery, they usually expect a pre-packaging of the goods as well as Phoenix Contact to take up additional storage and logistics services.

This changed order dynamics have resulted in a significant increase in pick volume. Consequently, an additional redundant module will expand the system designed with two parallel and redundant OPS modules. Thanks to this redundancy, the system ensures a very high degree of reliability, as every item in the assortment is available in every module. Thus, Phoenix Contact can guarantee a high delivery service and maximum adherence to delivery dates even in case of errors, maintenance, servicing, and unplanned volume fluctuations. 

Partner for almost 20 years

For almost two decades, the electronics experts from Phoenix Contact have worked successfully together with the general contractor WITRON from the Upper Palatinate region (Germany). The logistics center in Blomberg (Germany) started productive use in 2001. The core element is the Order Picking System (OPS). Its size and processes were successively adapted by WITRON in various expansion and modernization phases in a flexible manner to meet changing market requirements with high agility. The expansion, awarded at the end of April 2018 is an investment in the sustainable cost-efficiency of the logistics processes of Phoenix Contact.