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Successful inspiration session on Logistics & E-commerce
Logistics consultancy firm Groenewout recently organized its latest inspiration session in Den Hout, the Netherlands. Titled ‘Logistics & E-commerce’, the session was largely focused on logistics-related technological advancement. This is clearly a hot topic, since it attracted more than 70 attendees to what was yet another successful event.
Automation is alive and kicking. The labor shortage and volume growth are just two of the factors that are more or less forcing companies to consider new, smarter solutions to improve the efficiency and productivity of their logistics operations. “Additionally, new opportunities are emerging,” stated Arthur Zondervan, Managing Consultant & Partner at Groenewout. “Rising market uncertainty is driving demand for scalable and flexible solutions. Thankfully, a growing number of systems are capable of making logistics operations more efficient, more profitable and more productive. Therefore, it wasn’t difficult to decide on the topic for this session.”
On behalf of Groenewout, Senior Consultant Dirk Becks explained the differences between the various technologies and how companies can decide which ones they need. “We have experience of advising customers in this respect and have implemented solutions across a huge range of industries and for various sub-processes, such as order picking and packing. We are happy to share this experience with others,” Becks said.
During his presentation, Becks discussed various goods-to-person systems as well as automated guided vehicles (AGVs), autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and packaging machines. The primary focus was on market newcomers and new concepts that are currently being developed.
Several high-profile customers shared their own real-life experiences of packaging automation projects, including the choices that they made and how they have benefited. For example, Kramp – Europe’s biggest supplier of parts and accessories for the agricultural sector – is using standardized packaging in a growing number of its warehouses. Warehouse Engineering Manager Maarten Markerink explained how the company arrived at its decision for the new packaging technology, and he also provided insight into the lessons learned and the expectations in the near future.
On behalf of bol.com, Lead Process Design Dorine Zeeman and Technical Logistics Specialist Jan Staps revealed how the leading Dutch online retailer has automated various packaging processes. Bol.com first started packing loose items automatically in 2015, but the number of machines increased significantly when the newest warehouse went live. “Thanks to these packaging machines, we can take a smarter approach to packing – smaller parcels, less packaging material and as little air as possible,” stated Staps. Zeeman explained Bol.com’s chosen solutions and how they were integrated into the overall process. “There are lots of possibilities when it comes to packaging and automation,” she said, as she went on to outline the pros and cons. “Most importantly, companies need to look at what is the best fit with their own processes,” concluded Zeeman, summing up the lessons learned.
Needless to say, the session also included plenty of time for networking and sharing knowledge and experience. The feedback from the attendees speaks for itself.
“An educational day. It was interesting to see how real-life users tackle and solve their packaging challenges. But the presentation by Dirk Becks, in which he explained new technologies and the fast pace of advancement and new solutions, was just as interesting,” commented Ingmar Scholten, Business Development Manager at GXO. “This is the first inspiration session that I’ve attended but I will definitely be coming back next time.”
Equally enthusiastic reactions were received from Jan de Vlieger, Process Designer at PostNL ECS, and Joris Klerx, Manager Staff at PostNL Fulfilment. “Excellently organized and really great speakers. The comparison of the various systems was hugely valuable for us,” reacted Klerx. “It was also very interesting to hear the lessons learned by other companies when implementing various packaging machines,” added De Vlieger.
Groenewout regularly organizes inspiration sessions which explore topical issues related to logistics and supply chain. During the sessions, Groenewout consultants as well as external speakers share their insights and expertise. Additionally, there is plenty of time for networking and exchanging knowledge and experiences with other logistics professionals.
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For questions regarding this event, please contact Isabel Schouten.