Dematic has provided Tesco with an automated materials picking and handling system for its 120,000 sq ft dot-com fulfilment centre in Enfield.
Enfield is Tesco’s fourth dot-com store. These store are replacing previous operations in some particularly busy areas where employees pick online orders straight from the shelves of its retail stores.
“With each of our stores we aim to move forward the model in terms of accuracy and quality for the customers as well as productivity for Tesco,” said Tesco’s operations development manager, David Burroughs.
The Enfield installation uses zone picking for ambient and chilled goods and separate ambient and a chilled Dematic Multishuttle tote order consolidation buffers. The zone picking system auto-launches customer order totes directly to numerous pick zones as required within the ambient area and separate totes across zones in the chilled area.
Tesco staff pick grocery, produce and bakery goods into the order totes according to instructions received via wrist mounted radio data terminals. Once scanned, totes are sent to the next relevant zone via conveyor. Complete totes are then routed to the Multishuttle consolidation buffers.
Two separate Multishuttle consolidation buffer units hold completed customer order totes for both Ambient and chilled home delivery orders. Once a full van has been consolidated, the totes are sent in order sequence to one of the centre’s van loading bays for operators to load the vans.
The integrated system’s operations are controlled by the Dematic warehouse management system and Dematic also carries out the order slotting for all of the products in all of the zones.
Burroughs said: “Having gone out to tender for mechanisation suppliers we picked Dematic because we felt their system would enable us to achieve our objectives of faster picking, accuracy and reliability enabling us to give our customers excellent standards of service while still providing a profitable model for Tesco. This system will help us reduce our running costs and offer more delivery slots to customers from earlier in the day. We wanted to ensure we could get customers orders picked, vans loaded and out on time with the freshest possible produce. The system also gives the accuracy we need to ensure the highest possible service levels.
“Dematic’s Multishuttle offers a number of advantages over similar systems, particularly its speed for loading our vans and its ability to swap individual shuttles, which gives us a tremendous advantage in avoiding downtime. Furthermore, the height of the Multishuttle enables us to make good use of space that would otherwise be dead air space in the warehouse to minimise its footprint.”
A fifth dot-com facility delivered by Dematic will go live in early 2013 at Crawley, and sixth site will also incorporate further automation technologies from Dematic.