ATP is considered the fastest growing automotive online shop in Germany. The successful e-retailer currently supplies more than one million customers across Europe. Trend: upwards. The privately owned company provides an assortment of 700,000 different items including automotive spare parts and wear and tear parts, car care products, electronic parts, tuning elements, tools, and accessories. The E-Commerce distribution center located in Pressath stores some 30,000 different products.
Top priority in the online trade is to supply its customers with these items in the fastest way possible. “We benefit from the many advantages of the automated, high performance logistics technology from WITRON”, said Dr. Stefan Uebelacker, Director of Sales , Marketing & Customer Support at ATP, when visiting the E-Commerce logistics center in Pressath.
Based on the flexibility of the system, it doesn’t matter whether it deals with small, medium, or large order volumes. An efficient order consolidation is ensured, independent from the products contained in a customer order.
One of the major challenges for ATP is the permanently growing SKU range and the handling of a high number of flow items in a logistically optimal manner. “Today, we are able to supply our customers from this extremely broad and inhomogeneous product range in an error-free manner and as fast as possible”, according to Dr. Uebelacker. “A major part of the items is already assigned to an order, the flow items will be supplied directly by the system before dispatch.” All deliveries and packages must be timed for a daily supply. So far, same-day delivery is not a top priority for ATP customers from Germany (85%) and the EU including Switzerland and Norway (15%). Today, it is absolutely sufficient to supply the customers in the course of the next day. “The goal is to provide all customers with next day home delivery if they order by 3:00 PM”.
The approach with focus on high modularity, expandability, and flexibility has proven in practical use: Based on the strong growth of ATP, the automated small parts warehouse (AS/RS) is currently being expanded by two additional aisles (14,400 additional tote locations) and the number of pick locations is being increased from eight to twelve. This expansion is part of construction phase II, which is done during ongoing operation. The AS/RS capacity will therefore be increased from 50,000 to 65,000 storage locations. And the system limits have still not been reached. It is possible to double the current capacity by completely mirroring the AS/RS and the high bay warehouse.
Many WITRON customers from the online trade have devolved from a start-up company to a successful medium-sized company. So did ATP. Revenue increased within eight years from 4.1 million Euros to 85 million Euros. The number of employees grew in the same period from 29 to 400. “We think, a highly dynamic industry as online retail, requires modular solutions with scalable system components to permanently create flexible logistics structures”, says WITRON Project Manager, Josef Gallersdoerfer.
The automated picking system OPS includes the integration of an automated small parts warehouse (AS/RS), a distribution loop over conveyor system lines, and upstream picking workstations. The products handled at the stationary and multi-functional OPS picking workstations are provided for picking according to the goods-to-person principle - order-related and in the right sequence. The employees at ATP pick at eight workstations directly into the shipping carton based on the dialog-supported “pick & pack” principle (an expansion to twelve workstations is currently being realized). Eight different carton sizes are available. A system specifies the optimal carton size for every order. The consequence: The elimination of transporting air” saves transportation costs. The delivery documents and the invoice will be added to the carton at these workstations. The pick performance amounts to 100 order lines per workstation per hour.
The ergonomic picking of heavy and bulky items in EPS is done according to the “person-to-goods” principle, via the pick mobile directly into the pallet high bay warehouse, equipped with 12,200 storage locations. The EPS has a modular design and is easily expandable if needed. Pick mobiles are transported to the correct pick location and the pick container is always aligned to the correct storage shelf. The employee is guided by a screen dialog.
At the same time, the pick volume is shown in a display on the railing of the vehicle. Therefore, picking errors are practically eliminated. Three EPS picking mobiles and four fully automated replenishment mobiles are currently being used in the seven-aisle pallet warehouse - they are able to process up to 100 order lines per vehicle and hour. All items of the assortment will be provided in each aisle. All module aisles work independently from each other - orders will be completed in one aisle.
Order picking into flexible pick containers with up to six levels allows parallel picking of several orders according to the multi-order picking principle. The items picked in the EPS will be packed into shipping cartons at twelve packing stations, that are directly connected to the pallet conveyor system, and then equipped with an automatic carton transportation unit. Employees at these workstations are always given the right carton size for the respective order.