WITRON (Parkstein, Germany) is proud to announce the completion of a new logistics center that was built in the geographical center of England for automotive spare parts giant Ferdinand Bilstein group. Previous expansion plans that called for a Distribution Center (DC) located in the South of England to supply the UK, France and Spain were disrupted by the UK's Brexit vote. Bilstein then decided to merge two regional UK facilities under one roof in the centrally located Markham Vale to supply the entire country with more than 50,000 different items.
Ferdinand Bilstein chose WITRON to design and implement the new DC's systems, software and hardware based on the successes of their partnership at their Ennepetal, Germany Headquarters. "We decided in favor of WITRON because we are very satisfied with our site in Germany and we wanted to set up the logistics processes in Markham Vale in a similar way, even though the overall level of automation is not quite as extensive as in Ennepetal", explains Felix Wortmann Project Manager Logistics Planning at Ferdinand Bilstein Germany. WITRON's delivery and performance scope includes the design and realization of all material flows, IT, control, warehouse management, and mechanical components. The conveyor technology and stacker cranes were designed and produced by WITRON's subsidiary, FAS. A WITRON OnSite team is located directly at the site to take care of the entire system service and maintenance in the long run. On peak days, more than 2,200 packages and over 800 dispatch modules are picked from the automated small parts warehouse (AS/RS) using pick-to-tote according to the goods-to-person principle. "This corresponds to 38,000 orderlines with a total of 152,000 pick units," said Paul Dodgson, Operations Director at Ferdinand Bilstein UK.
WITRON's Order Picking System (OPS) functions as the central logistics element at the Markham Vale DC. The OPS is an integration of an automated small parts warehouse (AS/RS), a distribution loop, and upstream ergonomic picking workstations. The items are provided according to the goods-to-person principle for order-related and sequential picking. The picker is guided seamlessly through the entire process through terminal dialogues. Integrated sequence buffers decouple the provision of source totes by stacker cranes from the picking process. The OPS enables storage and order picking in one system. In addition to serial 1:1 picking, parallel picking into several order totes or directly into the customer carton would also be possible. The heart of the manual logistics area is the narrow aisle pallet warehouse with more than 10,000 pallet storage locations and integrated cantilever racks with an additional 720 storage locations. "This is where we mainly store heavy and large-volume items", explains Dodgson. Narrow aisle stackers and a WITRON radio-frequency system support the employees with route-optimized order picking. The manual warehouse - just like the OPS system - is controlled via a multi-functional WITRON WMS.
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