Arvato Supply Chain Solutions is forging ahead with the automation of their locations and processes. At the warehouse in Dorsten/Marl (Germany), the supply chain management and e-commerce service provider has launched a new packaging machine to deliver more efficient and flexible operations for thriving, international shoe brands – and beyond. This automatic packaging solution is scalable and will also soon serve further e-commerce clients and locations. “Using the new packaging machine, we have the capability to increase the throughput of boxes per hour and have more flexibility when ramping up capacity in the forthcoming summer season for our customers,” explains Christoph Brings, Site Manager of the e-commerce distribution center in Dorsten/Marl. He continues with further advantages, “We are continuously improving the operational planning of employees and are able to process customer orders with more continuity and stability, even during peak periods.”
The automatic carton packaging system CartonWrap, from the Italian manufacturer CMC, was chosen for the installation. Articles to be packed are first scanned, whereby the process differentiates slightly between single and multiple article orders. The goods are then placed on a conveyor and fed into the packaging system – all process steps following are completely automated. The machine calls up the correct customer order from the IT system for those scanned articles, and after a quick confirmation, begins the packing process. Products are measured by a 3D scanner and the system then produces precisely tailored shipping boxes while concurrently generating any required shipping documents. The articles, cardboard and documents are then brought together at the core of the machine where the box is folded around the product and automatically sealed. If needed, customer specific Branding can be applied per inkjet on the shipping box via the integrated print-on-demand capability. The shipping label is then automatically applied to the box and the package is moved to the goods out area.
“We have increased our productivity tenfold on single article orders over a purely manual process. This in turn significantly increases the productivity of our employees,” says Christoph Brings. “This was the deciding factor for the use of a packaging machine – simple throughput times do not significantly decrease in comparison to our former, manual process. We are currently quite fast when packing by hand.”
The new packaging solution is a further important component in the digitalization strategy of Arvato Supply Chain Solutions, which calls for the automatization of processes and locations via the increased use of precisely tailored technology and intelligent systems. “The packaging machine concept was developed from the start with a view to expansion in other locations. A perfect example is the launch of a further unit at our Pleasant Prairie site in the USA at the end of the month,” explains Brings. “The technology can be transferred easily to other distribution centers and customers but must always be customized. One condition of the implementation is, for example, the use of the same ERP system.”
The scalable and fully automatic packaging solution also offers benefits to the environment. Cartons are created from corrugated cardboard made from 100% recycled materials. The precise design of each box, which is cut to size for the order articles, saves materials and thus conserves resources. It is expected that the new system will reduce the size of shipping boxes on average by about 20%, which also has a positive effect on the C02 balance of distribution. The carriers transport less empty space and can load more packages into a truck. This is entirely in line with Arvato Supply Chain Solutions’ sustainability strategy, which aims to be completely climate-neutral by 2030.