Whether Zalando or Amazon: Plankensteiner knows that there are powerful competitors active in the online retail market. In order to survive against them, Plankensteiner thought pretty carefully before planning the central warehouse in Innsbruck how he could achieve the highest possible turnover with the manpower and time of the few employees. Driverless transport systems, small parts warehouses and software tools: the Tyrolean spent months researching the Internet for suitable intralogistics solutions for the online specialist in alpine clothing and sports equipment.
Automated small parts warehouse and robot system in use
For the 16-meter-high distribution center, which opened in 2018, Plankensteiner opted for a fully automated small parts warehouse on the upper floor and a robot system on the lower floor that moves shelves with goods to the shipping area. More than 40,000 articles for outdoor, mountain, cycling and skiing from more than 300 well-known brands will be available in the warehouse after the system has been commissioned. Want his customer SportOkay.com Enable fun in sports quickly: If you order items online by noon, they will usually be delivered the following day in Germany and Austria.
Success was not long in coming. Sales grew in double digits. Employees had to manually pack up to 2,000 parcels on peak days. “In view of the rapid growth, the packaging area with eight packing tables could have become a bottleneck,” reports Plankensteiner. Instead of hiring even more employees to pack the deliveries, the process specialist decided to purchase an automated packaging system. He did some research on the Internet and quickly narrowed down the choice of solutions. One of his favorites: the manufacturer’s CVP Impack Packaging by Quadient.
“I really liked the sustainability of the CVP Impack and the fact that the system can use 3D scanners to automatically produce up to 500 tailor-made packages per hour without filling material,” reports Plankensteiner. Because he wanted to experience the solution live, he made his way to the production plant in Drachten, the Netherlands. “Here I was impressed by the performance of the system and the in-depth know-how of the automation specialists.” Plankensteiner ordered the system – it was the first order from Austria for Packaging by Quadient.
Automated packaging system goes into operation in October 2020
In the summer of 2020, the system in Drachten was produced, tested and dismantled into individual modules for transport on trucks. Within three days, the experts were able to put the CVP Impack into operation on site in October 2020 – in good time before the lockdown in Austria. After the packaging solution for SportOkay.com was ready for use, two employees were able to start placing the ordered products in the system.
Whether it’s an outdoor jacket, trail running shoes or a foldable mountain stick: The CVP Impack is designed for both soft and hard items. The process is quick: it only takes seven seconds. The machine automatically scans, cuts, folds, glues and labels the transport packages. Because they are tailor-made, no auxiliary or filler materials are required for 99 percent of the shipments. “We only need protective material if an item needs to be specially protected,” reports Plankensteiner.
Now that the machine has been in use for several months, Plankensteiner draws a positive balance: “The system is efficient and very reliable. The savings pay off quickly for us, ”summarizes the Tyrolean. He also has numbers ready. Corrugated cardboard consumption fell by around 30 percent. The transport volume was reduced by more than 20 percent. The advantages in the personnel area are even more important to him. On peak days, usually Mondays, eight employees used to have to pack up to 2,000 parcels manually. Today SportOkay.com gets by with two workers in the packaging area.