Published on June 10, 2021 – Dr. Alexander Bender, Director – Supply Chain Strategy & Execution at Westernacher
In December 2019, Westernacher started a pilot project with a leading fast-fashion retailer. The objective was to implement SAP EWM and integrate it with a leading autonomous robotics solution in which SAP EWM would manage key warehouse functions and the robotics solution would optimize execution of warehouse orders and tasks. Together with our client and the robotics provider, we executed the aggressively planned project on time, under budget, and at a quality level above our customer’s expectation.
In this article, we will outline key elements of the solution, discuss the achieved performance improvements, and describe the positive impact of the implementation methodology.
- Kiva-style rack storage system
- Random mixed storage for online and store fulfilment
- Sorting robots for sorting of fully packed shipping units
- Combined picking area for omnichannel storage and picking
- Advanced high throughput packing workstation
- Manual replenishment area with classical RF integration
- approximately 2,000,000 sqft of warehouse space
- 20 packing workstations
- 150 goods-to-person robots and 20 Flexo sorters
- Around 9,000 racks
- Approximately 4.5 million product masters in the system with about 5,000 in circulation
The objective was to create an integration of autonomous mobile robots for high-speed order fulfilment with SAP EWM. The integration was done using a Web services approach based on a framework approach for future re-usability. Functionally, we enabled advanced performance optimization strategies in SAP EWM to ensure scalability and throughput, direct carrier integration, and error correction capabilities.
After go-live, performance quickly reached over 1,000 picks per hour enabling completion of over 4,000 customer orders per day. In fact, our customer had planned for at least four weeks of ramp-up and decided that they had reached 95% completion after one week.
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