BLG and engelbert strauss won the competition hosted by Bundesvereinigung Logistik (BVL) with their mobile, scalable and efficient warehousing and order picking solution at the Frankfurt site. Among other things, BLG handles part of the returns for engelbert strauss in a landmarked building there and, in doing so, was the first company in Europe to apply a robot-aided logistics concept. The central element of this new concept, which has been demonstrating its effectiveness in regular operation since October 2014, is that people no longer have to go to the racks, but the racks come with the goods to the people. This is made possible by a technical system developed by Grenzebach. “G-Com” is based on the idea of a mobile order picking warehouse: the racks are taken to a multifunctional, flexible and, on top of that, ergonomically designed pick station (“stargate”) fully automatically. The rugged intelligent transport vehicles with a low design height used for this purpose (“Carrys”) slide under the mobile racks, lift them up and transport them via a defined route to the so-called stargates.
A “wondrous warehouse”
The chairman of the German Award for Supply Management jury, economic journalist and publicist Roland Tichy, stated in his laudatory speech: “This wondrous warehouse, in which 75 Carrys transport the goods from 800 racks to five stargates, at which the staff carries out its work, was set up in an existing building by BLG Retail Logistics for client engelbert strauss. BLG uses the G-Com technical system developed by Grenzebach. The innovation is the pioneering application of this system.” The highly dynamic and flexible solution with its “goods-to-people” principle has revolutionized the entire field of intralogistics at BLG’s Frankfurt logistics center.
The crucial criterion for installation of G-Com is at the same time its greatest advantage: the scalability or expansion capability of the system. G-Com can be dynamically adapted to changing market conditions and customer requirements. If, for instance, the order volume grows, additional transport units can be employed to increase performance or additional racks can be installed to raise capacity. Compared to conventional people-to-goods handling, G-Com is also significantly more efficient. Moreover, the system creates stationary, ergonomically designed workplaces, supports and eases the strain on its operators to a varying extent and minimizes unproductive activities, such as searching or covering long distances. Furthermore, this mode of operation closes the gap in automated pallet storage and automated package storage in the form of automated spare parts storage (G-Com).
Efficient, ergonomic and customer-oriented
For the jury of the German Award for Supply Management the interplay of several factors was convincing and decisive for their selection – technology and customer orientation, efficiency by minimizing distances in the warehouse, ergonomics by virtue of these reduced distances and a lower number of lifting operations as well as mobility, scalability and flexibility of the system which, for its part, can relocate.
In the evening Frank Dreeke, CEO of BLG LOGISTICS, received the German Award for Supply Management together with Matthias Fischer, Head of Operational Projects at engelbert strauss, as well as a team of employees. In his acceptance speech Frank Dreeke stated: “Contract logistics requires system intelligence and innovation for the benefit of the customer. Retail logistics is contract logistics especially close to the customer, no matter whether e-commerce, stationary trade or multi-channel. And finally: good logistics is taken for granted by the customers of customers today – it is a decisive success factor.”
Matthias Fischer adds: “We are delighted and proud to receive this special award. This acknowledgement shows that we have not only found a flexible and economical solution for the challenging task in Frankfurt, but also a trailblazing and promising concept.”
German Award for Supply Management: practical relevance decisive
Through its German Award for Supply Management BVL commends logistics concepts implemented in practice, which can be submitted by companies in industry, trade and the service sector. The focus is on the question: Is the logistics innovative? The documents evaluated by the jury have to present the development of the concept, implementation and results. The practical relevance is decisive. The award has been conferred by Bundesvereinigung Logistik since 1984. The award winner in 2014 was Mercedes AMG with its service provider Müller.