LAPP Intralogistics

Logistics has always been a sector that has to fulfil expectations of “just in time” and “accurate delivery right to the doorstep”. From the good old shipping of packages via delivery trucks, to the development of automated lines within a global distribution hub, companies are constantly looking out for innovative ways of ensuring accuracy in logistics, both externally and internally.

A buzzword in warehousing and logistics management, intralogistics refers to the entire process of integration and optimisation of material flow in a logistics warehouse or distribution centre. While the need to automate has always been present, the global pandemic accelerated it like never before, with United States, Germany and China occupying more than 50% market share in warehouse automation.1

Introducing intralogistics into business operations achieves:

cost reduction

Enhancing efficiency within the warehouse helps to keep managing costs at a minimum, and one way to achieve this is through real-time data-based stock profiling. Implementing LEAN into automated processes can also reduce waste during picking, handling and packing whilst increasing customer value.

Enforcement of
workplace safety

Workplace safety is paramount in the logistics and transport industry, where equipment such as forklifts or moving vehicles can pose a significant threat. With automation, potentially dangerous tasks currently performed by humans can now be undertaken by robots, machines or Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) to avoid workplace-related accidents.

Sustainability of
logistics operations

Bringing IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) to life, the deployment of Industry 4.0 technologies such as sensors, robots and palletisers from picking, processing to packaging processes minimises human errors and enhances efficiency, allowing more packages to be processed and delivered within a day — future-proofing business operations and helping companies gain happy customers in return.

Fast Growth in Online Groceries Accelerates
Warehouse Automation

As a fast-growing sector, the Grocery segment presents unique challenges due to the perishable nature of foods and the priority of product freshness.

At the same time, increased e-commerce demand due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic is putting pressure on and cementing the need to maintain a stronger infrastructure to support online deliveries. To sustain the increasing volumes, retail or supermarket chains are investing millions of dollars into automated warehouses and micro-fulfilment centres (MFC) to keep up with ongoing demand, such as through e-grocery services by powerhouse partnerships such as Ocado and Kroger in USA2 and Dematic and Koop in Denmark.3

Manual Order Picking Remains Prevalent

Warehouses and logistics centres are everywhere, with numerous companies pondering deep about going fully automated, or implementing automation to internal processes within business cost constraints.

While robots can efficiently accomplish tasks such as searching for items, unstructured environments mean commercially viable automated picking remains an unsurmountable challenge, as e-commerce giant Amazon acknowledges.4

Increasing Adoption of AGV/AMR Solution

Optimising space in warehouse facilities, AGVs and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) are modular systems that can undertake repetitive tasks with increased productivity and accuracy. Compared to Automated Storage & Retrieval System (ASRS), they are less complex and simpler to implement, thus presenting a versatile solution in fleet management.

As businesses grow, an increase in product range offering and limitations in manpower or warehouse space will eventually stifle operational efficiency, an imperative KPI in logistics operations. While future-proofing logistics operations is crucial, every company is different, and switching to a full automation solution at once is not always desired nor necessary.

There are businesses which set operational efficiency as a KPI measurement so that the right questions can be asked at the opportune time.

Only with such checks in place will companies realise that adding automation may be the next step.

The high costs of setting up a new warehouse location is also forcing businesses to look to alternative solutions such as optimising their existing storage density, or implementing ASRS to gain time savings and reduce warehouse picking errors.

Semi-automated solutions fitting into parts of internal processes are sometimes preferred by companies to target specific pain points or boost operational efficiency, such as those already equipped with well-established analytics software systems.

“Take for instance, the system can trigger the picker to pick the products by lighting up the LEDs at selected stock locations. The picker then scans at that location to confirm the pick. Finally, at the packing area, the system uses an algorithm to check that the correct products and quantities are in the box before sealing, then rounding off with AGVs to transport the boxes to the consolidated freight area.”

Scalability is another key consideration for automation, and companies which have a mastery of this vital point against business growth and operational costs, will emerge as clear winners in the supply chain race against disruption.

LAPP Supports Diverse Connectivity Needs within Intralogistics

To meet these challenges and gear up for an automation-driven future, businesses require the right supporting equipment in place. Cables are an essential part of the infrastructure that holds up your organisation — offering pivotal behind-the-scenes support, powering essential technologies, solving day-to-day operational problems and achieving connectivity.

Here are some of the product solutions our customers have adopted to tackle the new era of intralogistics: