When Provet, a supplier of veterinary supplies, decided to include automation at the new distribution centre for South East Queensland customers, they turned to Dematic and their Colby Storage Solutions division, for the solution. Provet South East Queensland warehouse operation is located in the Brisbane suburb of Northgate.
Provet opened the new purpose-built facility in Northgate in 2006 and much of the technology implemented in the facility was as a result of Provet representatives attending Dematic’s 2020 Supply Chain Vision seminar series in the year, 2005. The Dematic’s 2020 seminars showcased emerging trends in supply chains and the types of technologies involved in supply chain system. Provet decided to work with Dematic on the voice picking system for the new facility.
Dematic’s solution for Provet included a bulk storage area of Colby pallet racking featuring 600 pallet positions, a pick module with carton live storage, which manages 500 fast-moving SKUs and a binning area, which manages some 14,000 SKUs. This storage equipment was provided by one of Dematic’s distributors of Colby products in South East Queensland, Total Storage Systems.
The pick module can be extended to include a second tier mezzanine, as and when required. A conveyor delivers totes to the appropriate pick faces but can bypass the non active zones. The majority of picking is managed by voice terminals, of which there are 10 in the operation. This technology is controlled by Dematic’s PickDIRECTOR and RouteDIRECTOR software systems.
Receipt and put away is managed through radio frequency terminals. Glenda Sinclair-Gordon, General Manager, Provet, commented that all Provet DCs operate an in-house warehouse management system, so the design included the interfacing of this with Dematic software.
In addition, Dematic’s software engineers worked closely with Provet IT department on this element of the project. Orders arrive through EDI, phone and fax and are uploaded to the warehouse management system. The WMS then downloads the orders to PickDIRECTOR, which determines the priority and release of orders. It also allows carton contents and order tracking.
Different coloured totes determine the priority of orders and up to 250 orders or around 1000 cartons are processed per day. Urgent orders such as medical supplies are despatched the same day, while all other orders are despatched next day.
According to Sinclair-Gordon the new technology has made a major impact on the workplace. A number of warehouse staff at Provet are Generation X and Generation Y, so they have grown up with computers and have accepted the technology with no problem.
Dematic solution at a glance
- Dematic Zone routing conveyor system
- Dematic PickDIRECTOR and RouteDIRECTOR software interfaces
- Vocollect Voice terminals
- Colby Pallet Racking for bulk storage
- Colby Carton Live Storage (CLS) and Pick Module featuring 600 pallet positions
- Colby binning for 14,000 SKUs