“From nature for people”: Since 1935, the company Wala Heilmittel GmbH from Bad Boll in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, has been developing and selling preparations of natural origin. These include medicines according to the anthroposophical teachings of Rudolf Steiner, as well as body care products and cosmetics under the Dr. Hauschka brand. The company is growing continuously, and today employs around 950 people, with an annual turnover of €120m (as of 2015).
Business expansion also meant there was a need for new logistical structures. The capacity limits at the Bad Boll headquarters had long been reached and external warehouses had to be rented: an ineffective situation that requires a lot of organisation, time and money. In order to increase efficiency, Wala decided to build a new distribution and logistics centre in the neighbouring town of Zell. Under the direction of Swisslog, Wala built an automated warehouse for 26,000 products on a floor space of 16,000 m². The facility houses both production materials and finished goods.
FAST RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Wala’s new distribution and logistics centre went live in 2018. Compared to existing logistics, it significantly increases the company’s productivity through modern, high-performance logistics technologies, reduces error rates and achieves a convincing degree of space utilisation thanks to its compactness. All of these factors allowed Wala to achieve a rapid return on investment.
Wala’s distribution and logistics centre combines several Swisslog technologies under one roof, using both pallet and light goods technology. The solution includes an automated pallet warehouse in silo design, single-deep, with 12,000 storage locations and four Vectura storage and retrieval machines (SRMs) connected to the ProMove pallet conveyor system. In the light goods area, there is an automated small parts warehouse (AS/RS) for 13,000 totes and trays, also in silo design and with three Tornado SRMs. Swisslog conveyor technology QuickMove completes the solution.
A REMARKABLE LEVEL OF EFFICIENCY
A special highlight of the new Wala distribution and logistics centre is it’s CycloneCarrier warehouse. The innovative shuttle system from Swisslog with the latest generation of technology stands for the highest throughput rates and availability. Storage, order picking and consolidation of orders achieve a remarkable level of efficiency. In one hour, up to 1,000 storage and retrieval of transport units per aisle are possible. At Wala, the CycloneCarrier is designed as an intelligent buffer system with 1,200 storage locations and ten shuttles operating across two access levels. Shelving and a connection to the light goods conveyor system with storage and retrieval lifts complement the CycloneCarrier system.
Finally, Wala’s new distribution and logistics centre comprises twelve order-picking workstations including flow racking, platforms, and another Tornado stacker crane.
An SAP-EWM environment, the distribution and logistics centre is controlled and monitored via interfaces with Swisslog’s SynQ software. As a result, Wala has an overall logistics system that is sophisticated down to the last detail and takes both current and future growth into account. This logistics facility is highly digitalised and prepared for the requirements of Industry 4.0.
DATA AND FACTS AT A GLANCE
Automated high-bay pallet warehouse: 12,000 bins, 4 Vectura SRMs
Automated small parts warehouse: 13,000 bins, 3 RBG Tornado
CycloneCarrier (shuttle warehouse): 1,200 storage locations, 10 shuttles
Conveyor technology: ProMove, QuickMove conveyor technology
Software: SynQ software with interface to SAP EWM