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Dematic wins Technology Excellence Award for Robotics - Logistics

Its goods-to-person picking and multishuttle solutions allowed RedMart’s fulfilment centre operators to work up to five times faster.

As the global pandemic hit and forced lockdowns, the public relied heavily on online means to go about their daily lives - turning to their personal gadgets to complete their banking needs, attend meetings and shop for groceries. But with the new normal came its challenges, with online services such as RedMart realising that the old method of manually hand-picking orders to pack and send to customers would no longer cut it and keep up with the increasing demand.

But thanks in part to innovative solutions from Dematic, the RedMart West Fulfilment Centre was able to increase its logistical prowess through automation.

The keys to the solution were the Dematic goods-to-person (GTP) picking and multishuttle system. With the multishuttle system, products are automatically stored in high-density racks by robotic shuttles - which automatically transport totes between storage locations and pick stations - eliminating the need for operators to travel around the facility. Items are delivered to operator pick stations automatically, increasing picking speeds and productivity and reducing picking errors.

With the GTP system at RedMart, a picker can now pick and pack 500 items in the same time that they used to take to pick 100 items manually. In its previous setup, RedMart operators would have had to manually travel around aisles of shelving to pick the items required for orders, and the subsequent loading and unloading of trolleys resulted in a highly inefficient process that was not only time-consuming but also prone to errors that are difficult to detect.

The Dematic solution also includes order fulfilment of fresh produce in multiple temperature zones, including a freezer area. Orders are transported through the various picking areas of the facility by an intelligent routing conveying system and are consolidated at ergonomic packing stations. They are then conveyed and automatically sorted to specific delivery vehicles by a high-rate sorter.

“By limiting touchpoints, the solution improves speed, productivity and hygiene,” Dematic said, adding that the solution has increased throughput, with a higher capacity in a compact footprint.

As well, another key factor in developing the overall infrastructure for the RedMart West Fulfilment Centre was the building footprint. In Singapore, a big component for businesses is the cost of space. 

Thanks to its system that has increased productivity, safety and resilience to disruptions exacerbated by the global pandemic, Dematic collected the Robotics - Logistics award at the recently concluded Technology Excellence Awards, presented by Singapore Business Review. In its fourth year, the awards event lauds companies in Singapore that have pioneered ground-breaking IT products, solutions or initiatives that are leading the technological revolution and digital journeys of their respective industries.

The decision to install a high level of automation at the facility was made well before the onset of the pandemic, but the importance of the automated solution in RedMart’s business has been underscored by the pandemic.

When RedMart first started talking to Dematic, they were receiving less than 2,000 orders per day and had around 5,000 products in their range. Thus, the RedMart West Fulfilment Centre needed to be designed to handle a significantly greater number of orders and products on a daily basis to keep up with the rate at which consumers turned to online platforms to purchase their groceries. “RedMart realised they would not be able to find the space or the workforce to meet their growth target using their current practices,” Dematic said.

Once the solution was in place, RedMart’s sales jumped by more than four times during the start of the pandemic, with unique visitors to the website rising by more than 11 times. Having the Dematic solutions implemented on time, RedMart was able to fulfil these demands without the shock of additional costs or supplementary solutions.

Watch the interview below to know more about their winning project:

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