International accolade: BLG and engelbert strauss receive ELA Award

BLG LOGISTICS together with its partner engelbert strauss is the winner of the European Logistics Award of the European Logistics Association (ELA). After winning the 2015 German Award for Supply Management for the project entitled “Stargate junction – logistics at the interface between humans and robots”, the two companies have now received distinction for this project at the European level, too. Thomas Krüger, Managing Director of BLG Handelslogistik, and Matthias Fischer, Head of Operational Projects at engelbert strauss, received the coveted award in Brussels yesterday evening.

The key element of the concept, which has been proving itself in regular operation at the site in Frankfurt since October 2014, is: people no longer have to go to the racks, but the racks with the goods come to the people. This is made possible by a technical system developed by Grenzebach. “G-Com” is based on the fundamental idea of a mobile order picking warehouse: the racks are moved to a multifunctional, flexible and also ergonomically designed pick station (“stargate”) fully automatically. The transport vehicles used for this purpose (“Carrys”) with a low overall height run under the mobile racks, raise and carry them to the stargates on a defined path. The highly dynamic and flexible solution based on its “goods-to-people” principle has revolutionized the entire field of intralogistics at BLG’s Frankfurt logistics center.

The decisive criterion for the installation of G-Com is, at the same time, the biggest advantage: the scalability or expandability of the system. G-Com can be dynamically adapted to changing market conditions and customer requirements. If, for example, the order volume grows, additional transport units can be used to enhance performance or additional racks can be installed to increase capacity. As compared to the conventional people-to-goods approach, G-Com is also significantly more efficient. Moreover, the system creates stationary, ergonomically designed workstations, supports and takes pressure off its operators in different ways and minimizes unproductive activities, such as searching or covering long distances. Furthermore, this mode of operation closes the gap in automated pallet storage (high-bay warehouse) and automated package storage (automatic small parts warehouse) in the form of automated spare parts storage (G-Com).

On the occasion of the presentation of the award, Thomas Krüger formulated his view of the future requirements in logistics: “We believe that the pick & store system implemented jointly by us and engelbert strauss is an important practical test for many future requirements, particularly regarding the new demands arising from the discussion over Industry 4.0 and Logistics 4.0. In addition to the people-to-goods and goods-to-people systems, robots-to-goods-to-people systems will establish themselves soon in many cases.”

“As a logistics provider, we are frequently only able to boost innovation to the extent permitted by the client. And for this reason we are also extremely grateful that engelbert strauss had the courage and farsightedness to implement this project with us,” adds Thomas Krüger.

Matthias Fischer additionally stated: “Through our logistics system in Frankfurt we have not only found a flexible and economical solution for the challenging task in Frankfurt, but have also developed a pioneering and promising concept for the future.”

About the European Logistics Association (ELA) and the ELA Award
The European Logistics Association (ELA) is an organization encompassing more than 30 national logistics federations in Western and Central Europe and beyond. The members of these national logistics federations are logistics specialists and predominantly come from industry as well as various service sectors. The ELA reaches 55,000 logistics specialists within its network. The organization supports a profession and not a sector and is therefore a neutral body. The ELA provides logistics specialists with a platform for networking and supports professions in the logistics and supply chain segment. To achieve this, the organization confers the ELA Award once a year, the European gold medal in the field of logistics and supply chain. From the finalists of the respective national prize winners the ELA selects the best logistics project and the best logistics professional of the year. In addition, the organization offers a certification program that targets a uniform qualification standard in the logistics sector and maintains an intensive exchange with the European Parliament and different Directorate Generals in the European Commission.

From left: Jos Marinus (President of ELA), Manfred Türks (Chair of the Jury Project of the Year – Former ELA President), Thomas Krüger (Managing Director of BLG Handelslogistik), Matthias Fischer (Head of Operational Projects at engelbert strauss) and Frank Geerkens (Ambassador of the Port of Antwerp) in Brussels.
From left: Frank Geerkens (Ambassador of the Port of Antwerp), Thomas Krüger (Managing Director of BLG Handelslogistik), Vanessa Claessens (BLG LOGISTICS), Matthias Fischer (Head of Operational Projects at engelbert strauss), Dr. Martin Christopher (Emeritus Professor of Marketing & Logistics, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, UK and Chair of the Jury Professional of the Year), Jos Marinus (President of ELA) und Manfred Türks (Chair of the Jury Project of the Year – Former ELA President).

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