Dematic has delivered an automated materials picking and handling system for leading UK retailer, Tesco’s 120,000 square foot grocery fulfilment centre in Enfield.
Dematic’s automated materials picking and handling system went live in January 2012, enabling Tesco to fulfil an increased amount of customer orders from one location for their grocery home delivery business.
Tesco’s 4th ‘Dotcom store’, the Enfield centre is effectively a warehouse dedicated to delivering orders placed online to customers’ homes. The 5th Tesco Dotcom facility delivered by Dematic will go live in early 2013 in Crawley while work on a 6th facility has already begun and will incorporate additional automation technologies from Dematic.
The Enfield integrated installation features zone routing picking for ambient and chilled goods and separate ambient and chilled Dematic Multishuttle tote order consolidation buffers. Dematic’s zone picking system auto-launches customer order totes directly to numerous pick zones as required within the ambient area, and separate totes across zones in the chilled area.
Tesco staff pick grocery, produce and bakery goods into the order totes according to instructions received via wrist mounted radio data terminals. Once scanned, totes are sent to the next relevant zone via conveyor with the completed totes routed to the Multishuttle consolidation buffers.
Two separate Dematic Multishuttle consolidation buffer units hold completed customer order totes for both ambient and chilled home delivery orders. Once a full van has been consolidated, the totes are sent in order sequence to one of the centre’s van loading bays for operators to load.
The entire operation is controlled by the Dematic Warehouse Management System with Dematic also carrying out order slotting for all the products in all the zones.
Tesco’s operations development manager, David Burroughs explains that they picked Dematic as they were convinced that their system would allow the company to achieve key objectives of faster picking, and greater accuracy and reliability, enabling them to deliver excellent standards of service to their customers whilst still providing a profitable model for Tesco.
Key gains for Tesco from the Dematic automated materials picking and handling system include reduced running costs, more delivery slots, timely and accurate delivery and the assurance of providing customers with fresh produce.
Tesco was particularly keen on Dematic’s Multishuttle as it offered a number of advantages over similar systems, particularly its speed for loading vans and its ability to swap individual shuttles, which prevented downtime. Additionally, the height of the Multishuttle enables Tesco to make good use of space that would otherwise be dead air space in the warehouse.
Dematic’s Sales Project Manager Shane Faulkner adds that the system enables Tesco to pick and deliver within the concentrated floor space of the single Enfield Dotcom store, which removes dotcom pickers in many of the surrounding Tesco stores. Also by automating its online order picking process, Tesco can increase volumes while also maintaining the high service levels that are essential with home delivery.