Warehouse Automation Software

Industry:
Logistics
Location:
Netherlands
Collaboration
2022-Ongoing

Customer

The customer operates an online retail business with daily sales reaching hundreds of thousands of euros. They specialize in a broad selection of hobby items, ensuring fast delivery throughout Europe.

Challenge

Originally, the customer had a manual warehouse for fast-moving goods, sourcing others on order. As business grew, this space wasn't enough. The customer chose to relocate to a larger facility and implement automated machinery to effectively manage the increasing order volume.

The customer approached Cyfrania to develop software needed for managing this warehouse equipment.

Key Customer Requirements for the Upcoming App

  • Integration with the customer's online store that handles buyer orders. It's necessary to add warehouse equipment control functions to the existing customer's web app, which also operates an online store.
  • Integration with the customer's software system for warehouse management. The app must exchange data with a SaaS service, employed by the customer to handle inventory management and dealings with suppliers and order delivery services.
  • Warehouse automation equipment control. The app must control the picking stations, which assist operators in assembling orders, and the conveyors which transfer goods from the loading areas to storage and the orders being put together from picking areas to the loading zones.
  • Enhancing storage system efficiency. The app should identify the best storage location for every incoming item based on its current stock levels and demand.
  • Warehouse staff workload tracking. This app must monitor the actual workload and hours logged by each warehouse staff member and provide reports to management.

Solution

Cyfrania designed and introduced new functionalities for automating warehouse operations, integrating it into the customer's existing online trading web application. Our team included a project manager, two full-stack developers and a QA engineer.

Key App Features

Placing goods arriving from suppliers into storage:

  • Gathering data on goods received from a SaaS platform employed by the customer to manage inventory.
  • Allocating the optimal storage slot for each item so that the most popular products are as close as possible to the order picking areas.
  • Automatically directing the received products to the nearest unpacking zone to their storage slot via a conveyor.
  • Displaying storage slot coordinates on the barcode scanner display for workers engaged in manually unboxing and storing products.

Order assembling and dispatching:

  • Initiating the order gathering process as soon as the warehouse has all the necessary items, using information from the inventory management system.
  • Directing an assembling order through a conveyor across all picking zones closest to the storage slots of the order components and then to the packing area.
  • Displaying storage slot coordinates for order components on the barcode scanner display for workers engaged in manual order assembly.
  • Managing picking stations which support the operator by indicating storage slots for small order parts using a laser pointer.
  • Automatic packaging of assembled orders, labeling them, and transporting on a conveyor to the loading area for the delivery service chosen by the buyer.
  • Sending a link for delivery tracking to the buyer's personal account after the order is dispatched.

Tracking warehouse staff workload:

  • Calculating warehouse staff's workload by considering the time spent working, the number of items managed, and factoring in the weight, size, and distance of storage slots from the conveyor belt.
  • Crafting reports for leadership aimed at refining employee task allocation and fair compensation.

We launched the initial version in one and a half months, and it took four months to fully develop the functionalities. Since then, we have been continuously maintaining and enhancing the app.

Results

The benefits the customer gained from this project include the following:

  1. Enhancing the online buyers’ experience by shortening the delivery period. The enlarged premises allow for the storage of nearly all in-demand items, while automated warehouse procedures have shortened the duration of order dispatch.
  2. Cost-effective warehouse management with minimal staff. With an automated management system, just a handful of operators handle a huge warehouse with a million-item inventory.
  3. Minimizing human error in order fulfillment. Moving to an automated warehouse has practically eliminated buyer complaints about incorrectly assembled or packaged orders, which were once a source of reputational harm and costs for returns and compensation.
  4. Improving the working environment for the staff. Warehouse automation has reduced physical labor needs, and new software simplified operator tasks and added transparency and fairness to labor accounting and payment, resolving past complaints.

Services Provided

  • Project management
  • UI/UX design
  • Web development
  • Application maintenance
  • Application support

Technologies Used

  • Web development: Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL
  • Integrations: Picqer, MAAS, Kardex