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ABB improves warehouse efficiency and delivery accuracy
The Konecranes Agilon automated storage and retrieval system boosts pick-up accuracy, speeds up spare part deliveries and improves occupational safety at ABB Motors & Generators Service warehouse.
ABB’s Motors and Generators Service warehouse in Juvanmalmi, Espoo, Finland, ships motor and generator spare parts to customers around the world. Its packing and dispatch department takes care of approximately 1,000 shipments per month on average.
“Customers send us orders directly through our e-commerce platform. We collect and pack the goods here in the warehouse. ABB’s Transport Management Centre in Vaasa books the transport, and a carrier comes to pick up the goods,” describes Anna Räsänen, Warehouse and Logistics Manager.
Challenge: How to ensure pick-up accuracy and speed up deliveries
“Our promise to customers is that if the customer places an order by 2 pm, spare parts will be dispatched on the same day. This means that the process and systems must be in order, and you cannot afford to make any mistakes,” Räsänen continues.
To ensure accurate pick-ups and speedy deliveries, ABB wanted to modernise the way spare parts are stored, make full use of the warehouse height and avoid the use of forklift trucks to improve occupational safety.
Solution: Automated storage and retrieval system Agilon
All items in one place and easily available
ABB has altogether three automated Konecranes Agilon warehousing systems in three facilities in Finland. Based on the good experience gained with them, Motors & Generators Service in Juvanmalmichose the same system to solve its challenges. 48-metre long and 6.1-metre high system with two access points was installed in the warehouse and integrated with ABB’s enterprise planning system (SAP).
Agilon gets item and picking data from SAP. Picking lists are sent to the Agilon database so that a robot can fetch the desired items and bring them straight to the access points for the employees to pick up and pack for further delivery.
Results: Improved accuracy, faster spare part deliveries and higher occupational safety
Automated material handling and integration with the SAP system have improved warehouse operations. Pre-picking speeds up pick-ups and improves their accuracy, as Agilon brings only one package to the access point. It is impossible to pick up an incorrect item from another package. As Agilon knows item weights, it knows how many items have been removed from or added to a package. This decreases the number of balance mistakes. Additionally, as Agilon takes pictures of each package at the access point, there is always a real-time photo of its contents, both in the user interface and the portal.
“The integration of Agilon with the customer’s SAP removes any duplicate work since there is no need to separately acknowledge warehouse transactions in the ERP system. And what’s more, sending picking lists to Agilon in advance, for example, enables more efficient pre-picking of items that circulate more slowly, resulting in swifter pick-ups,” says Lauri Viitanen, Manager, Consulting Services at Konecranes.
All transactions are registered in Agilon and SAP, allowing full monitoring of inventory levels. This means that inventory is much easier, as no items need to be counted manually.
And last but not least, Agilon improves occupational safety. There is no need to climb to reach high shelves or carry heavy boxes, as all boxes in Agilon weigh less than 25 kg.