Kruitbosch invests in the future with automated warehouse from Swisslog
Zwolle/Edegem - Kruitbosch, wholesaler in bicycle parts and accessories, is investing in the future by automating its warehouse in Zwolle in cooperation with automation company Swisslog. Kruitbosch opted for an AutoStore; an innovative, space-saving and automated way to store items, without expanding the premises. Meanwhile, the AutoStore is in full use at Kruitbosch and orders are processed with this advanced technology.
Kruitbosch's ambition is to grow into a leading player in the European micro-mobility market. To realize this ambition, Kruitbosch was looking for a scalable and flexible solution to expand its storage capacity. For this reason, the company knocked on the door of Swisslog, one of the leading automation companies in the logistics sector. Swisslog recommended Kruitbosch the AutoStore with its own SynQ Software as the most suitable solution for Kruitbosch's needs. After two years of preparing, moving and rebuilding, Kruitbosch is now using Swisslog's AutoStore. The bicycle parts and accessories wholesaler's items are stored in 29,000 bins. On top of the AutoStore, 65 robots transport the items from the AutoStore to the picking stations, where Kruitbosch employees pack and ship the ordered products to the customer.
30% more storage capacity without expanding the building
Thanks to the new AutoStore, Kruitbosch can process orders more efficiently and faster. In fact, the number of operations between order picking and packing has been reduced for a large number of orders. Ronald van der Hulst, logistics project manager at Kruitbosch, explains: "Our materials are scattered in our warehouse. The inner and outer tubes of bicycles, for example, are in different places. It used to take a long time to put together the order of someone who wanted an inner and outer tire. Therefore, these orders were usually shipped separately. Thanks to the AutoStore, we are able to partially combine these orders." By combining more orders, Kruitbosch has been able to reduce the total number of packages by 15%. In addition, the warehouse's storage capacity has increased by about 30%. The AutoStore occupies 1,000m2, which is only 10% of the total warehouse area.
AutoStore as a major advantage for Kruitbosch's business
With AutoStore, Kruitbosch has a future-proof warehouse with which it can serve bicycle dealers in the Netherlands and Europe. "Thanks to the integration of AutoStore, the storage capacity of our warehouse has increased by about 30%, and that without expanding the surface area. It currently stores about 15,000 article numbers, where we can grow to about 20,000 article numbers. The peak cycling season is yet to come, but there is certainly plenty of room for that. The AutoStore offers a lot of flexibility and that is a big advantage for our business," says Van der Hulst.
A challenging project
The installation of the AutoStore at Kruitbosch presented some major challenges. Han Voncken, project manager at Swisslog, explains, "All project activities for the installation of the AutoStore had to be carried out within the walls of the existing warehouse, which remained fully operational in the meantime. Thus, the space available to carry out the installation was very limited. Moreover, the floor was not flat enough to install the system. Therefore, an additional layer of concrete was poured first. The logistical organization was an additional challenge, but we managed to complete everything together within the stipulated deadline. Finally, Kruitbosch had asked Swisslog at an early stage to create a test environment for a large part of the future SynQ Software. That way, Kruitbosch could already experiment with it and get used to it. As a result, the staff was already partially trained and the challenges during actual implementation phase were considerably smaller."
A successful collaboration between Kruitbosch and Swisslog
All in all, the AutoStore is the result of a successful cooperation between Kruitbosch and Swisslog. Van der Hulst: "'We are very satisfied with the course of this project. It was a very pleasant and professional cooperation. Swisslog's employees are true AutoStore specialists who know what they are doing. They kept us well informed and guided us through this project from beginning to end. We were particularly impressed with the quality of the installation and the aftercare offered. As icing on the cake, the short delivery deadline was also fully respected and met."