The future of intralogistics is in IT

Wolfgang Albrecht

Wolfgang Albrecht,
Director IT Solutions,
SSI Schäfer

IT, and particularly software, has long played a pivotal part in intralogistics. In fact, the industry would grind to a halt without it.

There is scarcely an intralogistics product or device that doesn’t have a controller, sensors, or software. No warehouse – and definitely no distribution centre – can get by without a warehouse management system (WMS).

Read more: Quo vadis IT?

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Storage Systems in Asia — Part II: From Man to Goods to Goods to Man

Lagerautomation-in-AsienAfter much hesitation, companies in Asia are beginning to adopt automation in the warehouses. While some automation in the warehouse to improve the order pickers’ lot may seem like a no brainer, as order picking is time consuming, Asian operators have preferred to rely on manpower. In the past it was easy to fill warehouse with low cost foreign labour where their numbers could be increased during the peak seasons and reduced during lull periods.

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Storage Systems in Asia — Part I: Then and Now

Brian Miles, Managing Director / SSI Schaefer Asia

Brian Miles, Managing Director SSI Schaefer Asia

How time flies. We are approaching the end of yet another year. I like to pause to reflect on the past – where we were and how we have developed since as an industry in Asia.

I came to Singapore in 1984 when the Asian miracle was unfolding. Fuelled by strong exports and rapid industrialisation, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, powered ahead at unprecedented growth rates, earning them the nickname the Asian Tigers. China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand joined their ranks a little later. It was a heady time for the region.

Read more about the development of storage systems in asia.

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Fascination logistics – developments in intra-logistics industry

Rudolf Keller

Rudolf Keller, CEO

Recently, somebody asked me whether I would recommend a career in intralogistics to young graduates. The answer was a resounding yes – which is why I would like to highlight a few aspects of this extremely innovative, dynamic and fast-moving industry here.

Hardly any industry has in recent decades so rapidly changed as the warehouse logistics. Increasingly complex processes require efficient solutions and technologies to keep up with the frantic pace. This trend will continue – especially in terms of the keyword “industrial 4.0″. Let me show you below a few aspects of a highly innovative and rapidly developing industry.

Read more about the challenges of intra-logiostics and development processes in the logistics industry.

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Think! The goods to person principle does not solve all problems within a distribution centre

solar_dsc_0898_konterFormer IBM CEO Thomas J. Watson first used the one-word slogan, ”think”, in an address to employees at National Cash Register (NCR). Later, IBM even registered it as a trademark, and it remains part of Big Blue’s brand portfolio to this day.
Why have I used this motto as the heading of my blog post? Well, it’s a bit neater than “A warning about over-optimistic hype”, don’t you think?

This is the topic I’d like you to think about.

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How to work better with barcodes

scannerWe know what you’re thinking: “Barcodes are old news!” And yes, they have been around for a long time. The first barcode was patented by Joseph Woodland in 1952, and they have been used in distribution and retail for more than thirty years. Today’s barcodes are more effective and reliable than ever – but expectations have also risen. This means understanding how barcodes work is very important if you are to make the most of this technology.

You know how it is: you are at the checkout, struggling to pack your bags as quickly as the cashier scans. Sometimes you manage it – but never in supermarkets like Aldi in Germany or Hofer in Austria. How can they scan items so much faster?

The secret is in their product barcodes. Let’s take a look…

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The Pareto Principle and how to live without it

80-20-RegelUsing the Pareto Principle

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.




The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

The value of designing an intralogistics system based on these principles becomes much less, however, if you cannot predict which the fast and slow movers will be, or if they change frequently. This is apparent in more fashion or consumer oriented businesses, where products may have a relatively short lifetime. A new fashion item may be designed, a certain quantity put on sale, and sales volumes achieved. Depending on the success of the design, the feedback from the market, the weather, and many other factors, this item may sell quickly this week, then slowly next week – and it is difficult for the retailers to predict beforehand.

This sets warehouse designers with a challenge – as the tried and tested Pareto Principle may not be used to design the DC. The operator still wants to be able to pick efficiently, but without relying on predicting the fast, medium and slow movers for next week.

There are different approaches possible to addressing this. What are they?

How is that possible? And more importantly: how can you achieve the same? Click here to continue reading!

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How to Find the Hidden Treasure in Your Logistics System

British_Museum_Alton_B_HoardIt is done. The new distribution system is in operation for a couple of weeks now. It passed the acceptance procedure and the supplier’s team has hit the road after a successful run-up. Was that all? What’s next?

Well, if you do it right, you can now start a phase in which you increase the profitability of the project far above your budget. We are talking about raising efficiency by 20 to 50%, compared to design specifications! By the way, these are not made-up numbers, but instead have been achieved in a variety of optimization projects with our customers.
How is that possible? And more importantly: how can you achieve the same? Click here to continue reading!

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How to Model Your Goods-to-Person Picking System for Maximum Performance

4 Steps to Winning the Race of Order Fulfillment

Just like race car engines, storage and retrieval engines must be designed properly for optimum performance.

Car enthusiasts know that a vehicle’s performance is dependent on many variables. Engine horsepower, for example, is one important factor but means very little if that power does not get distributed efficiently to the wheels. Similarly, there are many storage and retrieval engines in the marketplace today, all with a wide range of potential throughput horsepower. But regardless of the potential power of your storage engine, the overall performance of a goods-to-person picking system may suffer greatly from poor design. What are the most important points in designing a goods-to-person picking system? Read on

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Why Ergonomics Makes a Difference in Warehouse Logistics

In a recent blog post about guided processes, we already talked about how important workplace design is in distribution logistics. The combination of hand, eye and common sense is still the most valuable resource in a distribution centre. Ergonomics therefore, is not a feel good factor, but instead the linchpin in designing work processes and especially workplaces.

Adherence to ergonomics verifiably improves the three dimensions that every industrial performance needs to concentrate on: cost, quality and time (or speed). Ergonomic workplaces lower costs, lead to higher quality and in most cases reduce the throughput time of stock orders. At SSI Schaefer, the result of this knowledge is merged under the brand name ergonomics@work!®. Read on to find out why ergonomics is so important in modern warehousing.

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