Technology helping to stay ahead of the competition

Technology helping to stay ahead of the competition

Automation of warehousing and distribution facilities continues to advance as efficiency of delivery has become a battleground for competitive advantage, particularly in e-commerce.

Online retailer recently opened the doors at its distribution operation in Truganina in western Melbourne - Rook Salinger Directors David Black and Michael Hayden paid a visit with some clients to see it in action.

The multi-million dollar distribution facility incorporates some examples of cutting edge technology in storing inventory, picking and packing online customer orders that is enabling Catch to fulfil their delivery commitments.  Since inception, Catch has experienced exponential growth in both order volumes and product range with currently circa 50,000 SKUs.

Catch invested in an automated picking system to retrieve smaller items.  The Swisslog AutoStore provides better use of available space with direct stacking of bins on top of each other and the ability to store multiple SKUs in a single bin.  Over time, the system learns which products have a higher rotation, storing them on the top layer to ensure faster picking times.

Picked orders travel via conveyor to a despatch area at which point the order is measured by laser and a box is custom cut and folded to precisely fit the order. The CMC CartonWrap machine is a fully automatic carton packaging system capable of creating dynamic cardboard boxes from a continuous fanfold corrugated material. The box is then sealed and labelled for dispatch. 

Introducing systems such as this is a significant capital investment, but it is one that has reduced operating costs and increased capacity per square metre leased, increasing's ability to stay ahead of its competition.