Projects / Retail / Distribution / SPAR trusts WITRON
Twenty years ago, SPAR Austria invested in an automated logistics center for the first time in the company’s history. The Austrians were pilot customers for WITRON technologies and new service models, and after three expansion stages, longstanding and new technology continue to work together efficiently - the components fit together, and the processes interact perfectly. The growth is forcing the logistics experts to decide on further expansion and Smart Data plays an important role. SPAR continues to focus on adapting logistics processes to the requirements of the SPAR stores.
Customer: SPAR
The SPAR Austria Group is a Central European retail group and its core business also operates in the countries of Northern Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia: in the shopping center sector also in the Czech Republic and with Hervis additionally in the Czech Republic, Romania, and Bavaria. With REGIO, TANN, and the Schloss Fels winery, SPAR also runs three of its own production operations.
Wels, Austria
Industry sector
Retail / Distribution
200,000 cases pick performance / peak day: 300,000 cases
Special features of the project
SPAR was the first customer to order the DPS 20 years ago. Here, stacker cranes take over the order-related staging of the storage totes in the pick front. Depending on the order structure, these are provided as needed in a static or dynamic manner. The SPAR employee working at ergonomically designed picking workstations picks the goods indicated by a pick-by-light system and places them into the provided customer tote. Additional scanning of the EAN code and an integrated weight check eliminate picking errors. The conveyor system transports the full totes to an Order Consolidation Buffer (OCB), which is responsible for sorting according to customer, store, and tour. “Just-in-time” for delivery, the totes are then removed from the OCB, stacked, palletized, and transported to the dispatch area. The old figures: Wholesale units per day: 67,000, 7,000 items and shift operation for some 1,500 SPAR stores that always need to be supplied without missing items and with a high service level - this is the philosophy of SPAR. Today, SPAR is able to handle 200,000 wholesale units on an average day and even 300,000 wholesale units on a peak day - thanks to the customers, but also thanks to the OPM (Order Picking Machinery) - the fully automated storage and picking system that went into operation in 2016. “We now have a semi- and fully-automated central warehouse for a large amount of dry goods”, explains Thallinger. Some 4,000 items, especially large-volume products of the central warehouse, were moved from the DPS tote warehouse to the new OPM warehouse sector and picked by eight COM machines onto roll containers in a store-friendly and error-free manner - including the top item 2017: CapriSun - Orange. What is special: Once the order has been received, the systems calculates the position of the items on the roll container based on the size and weight of the packaging unit, and then arranges them according to a perfect stacking pattern with as few gaps as possible. The OPM system also consolidates totes with customer orders that have already been picked in the DPS and large-volume cases for the same customer onto a roll container. This optimization and exact stacking process allows the shipment of more products on roll containers. This means up to 66,000 additional dispatch units picked daily by the OPM system in the third construction stage of the central warehouse in Wels and which are supplied to currently some 1,600 SPAR stores of different sizes throughout Austria and to some neighboring countries. Based on the new storage logic of the goods in the new and old warehouse area (large-volume items are now stored in the new construction area), the filling degree per tote in these storage areas can be significantly increased (1998: 3.8 wholesale units today: 6.2 wholesale units). The outbound rate in this area is increased by an additional 20 percent.
Was or is the facility in Wels a warehouse for slow movers? Those responsible no longer want to hear anything about the “slow-moving” warehouse. Twenty years ago, during the first project meetings, the central warehouse was designed or named as such, but the reality soon turned out to be different. The assortment is not typically divided into A, B, C, but into volumes based on the total delivery quantities. This means: In addition to slow moving products, the experts from Upper Austria also supply fast moving items such as chewing gums or cosmetics - and they are getting more and more of those.
Customer opinion
We now have the right storage and picking area for each item with its individual characteristic and supply quantity. WITRON is the “Lego” system of intra-logistics. All components, whether old or new, can be easily connected with the conveyor system, and yet each part is autonomous and designed for a specific purpose.