Prime Cargo equipped for tough competition and growth with new logistics solution from Tecsys
The development of e-commerce is a strong challenge for companies that make a living from 3rd party logistics, 3PL. Denmark's largest Autostore for 3PL is located in Kolding. Here, Tecsys WMS ensures that Prime Cargo can handle the orders for its customers, which include the Magasin chain. Magasin has just announced that it will significantly increase its e-commerce efforts.
Prime Cargo has commissioned an Autostore where Tecsys WMS provides data and integration to all customers.
“It is a major investment, but necessary to ensure competitiveness. And we are satisfied that the business case holds, says Morten Høilund”, CEO of Prime Cargo in Kolding.
For competitive reasons, Morten Høilund will not go into what the ROI is on the investment.
E-commerce is growing 15-20 percent annually. At the same time, demands for fast delivery and service quality are high. It also has to cope with the fact that the number of parcels can be 10-20 times higher than usual on big e-commerce days like Black Friday.
That’s why a 3PL like Prime Cargo aims to automate as much of the handling as possible. Prime Cargo also expects to grow faster than the market, by 25 percent.
Automatic retrieval from 88,000 boxes
"To be competitive with competitors abroad, we need to be super-efficient. We have invested in an automated warehouse where robots find the goods for shipment. It saves employees many miles each day and stress on big days like the run-up to Christmas.
This means we can have three times as many items in the same space, and staff spend a third of the time they used to spend on each shipment. With the capacity increase, we are well equipped to serve our customers' growth and bring in new customers." says Morten Høilund.
Two halls totalling 4,000 square metres have been converted into the Autostore system. Instead of traditional storage racks with space in between for employees to walk in and pick, the entire floor area is covered with storage boxes, 5,500 in total. The height is 16 boxes, so the warehouse holds 88,000 boxes. Depending on the size of the goods, a box can hold up to 12 items. This gives a system capacity of over one million items in the new warehouse.
45 robots drive on an intelligent grid rail system over the boxes and dive down where the desired item is, pick up the box and send it to a manned outbound station. Box after box.
“Tecsys logistics management tells the robot where the goods are, in which order to pick up and drop off the boxes, so the process runs smoothly and efficiently,” says Michael Ynill, WMS Specialist, Tecsys. He continues:
“The challenge is for the system to deliver data at the right speed and logic for the physical layout. Among other things, AI is used to gather experience that is continuously used to optimise the process.”
Tecsys delivered the first WMS to Prime Cargo in 2007 and has continuously developed it as new optimisation opportunities have arisen.
The automation of picking has several side effects, points out Morten Høilund.
“There is peace about the manual operation. We avoid a lot of the stress that can be around Christmas and especially after Black Friday, when we get 100,000 shipments alone.”
From the time Prime Cargo made the decision, 8-9 months were spent building and testing the system. In early 2019, they started by emptying two existing halls to make way for new grid. By July, the new system was in place and July-August was spent testing all aspects. Tecsys also provided advice on the physical layout.
“We went live in September,” says Morten Høilund, adding:
“The implementation process is the best I have experienced in my 20 years in the industry. The time was tight but it held and the suppliers have been flexible and contributed in the best way.”
However, Prime Cargo’s new, larger capacity is not expected to last long into the future. They are already looking at expansion options, and with the reasonable results they expect to get OK to invest further in capacity. In Kolding, Prime Cargo has an additional 16,000 square metres of halls used for e-commerce.
“In three years we will have the world’s largest Autostore terminal for 3PL. E-commerce is growing and consumers expect fast delivery. With Tecsys WMS+Autostore, we have a strong competitive parameter that ensures service quality and short delivery times at prices that are competitive internationally,” concludes Morten Høilund.