Casebook 2011: Elgiganten optimizes order fulfillment

Integrated voice-directed picking brings high-tech solution to direct-to-customer distribution for electronics retailer.

By ·

The e-business boom poses significant order fulfillment challenges. Rather than limit itself to multi-product orders for traditional distribution, one company installed an order fulfillment system (Dematic, 877-725-7500, http://www.dematic.us) that enables single-item shipping and near-100% pick accuracy.

Elgiganten’s central warehouse in Jönköping, Sweden, distributes more than 4,000 electronic products to 247 Scandinavian megastores while fulfilling the rapidly growing volume of direct-to-customer orders for items like cell phones, digital music players and digital cameras. To accommodate an ever-growing product range and rapidly changing distribution requirements, the company chose a flexible pick-and-pack solution.

“Our e-business channel has been growing at a rate of 50% per annum,” explains development manager Andreas Thimour.

The zone-routing system determines the order cartons are conveyed to the relevant picking zones where products for the orders are located. Zones that do not have product required for the order are skipped. This improves the speed, efficiency and responsiveness of order fulfillment. Fast and slow movers are picked in separate areas so that the system and organization can be geared differently to optimize productivity.

In addition, warehouse staff is verbally directed to pick items by a small belt-mounted voice terminal and headset with microphone. Voice picking lets the pickers keep their hands and eyes free at all times, making it faster and easier to pick the right products in the right order, and safer by letting the them concentrate on product handling.

The voice system maintains wireless real-time contact with the warehouse management system, virtually eliminating picking errors. Voice picking has improved productivity up to 35% more than paper or RF picking while resulting in almost 100% picking accuracy. It has also helped reduce the time spent training new staff and employee turnover, and increased job safety.

“The order fulfillment system maximizes productivity and efficiency by enabling warehouse staff to be easily redeployed to other duties in other parts of the warehouse,” says project manager Daniel Lundby. “We can also increase throughput by increasing the number of pickers in the zone routing system during peak periods like Christmas.”

 


About the Author

Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Casebook 2011 · Dematic · Order Fulfillment · Retail · Voice · · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Capturing Labor, Space, and Accuracy Returns with AS/RS
Find out how the demand of e-commerce and digital age expectations are driving the need to automate material handling with AS/RS solutions to improve labor productivity, save space, and reduce costs associated with inaccurate picks
Download Today!
From the November 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
A new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business for the fourth time in 20 years and shorten order delivery time from 10 days to three.
10th Annual Salary Survey: The Price of Performance
Let’s put Automatic Data Capture (ADC) Technology to Work
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
The State of the DC Voice Market
A lot has changed in the last 10 years, especially in voice technology. This webinar will cover the state of the voice market, review two leading voice solutions and help you gain a better understanding of the options and capabilities available today.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Lodge Manufacturing: Distribution Cast in Iron
A new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business for...
Rochester Drug Cooperative: Robots ready for work
It’s still early stages, but Rochester Drug Cooperative is proving that mobile robotic piece...

System Report: Pouch sorter powers Stage’s fulfillment needs
How a hometown department store chain transformed its e-fulfillment processes with pouch sortation...
Cubing and Weighing Equipment: Measure Up
The use of cubing and weighing equipment is growing beyond dimensional weight applications.