KUKA Germany is one of the exhibitors at the upcoming Bright World of Metals, which takes place from 25 to 29 June 2019. Swisslog is a Swiss subsidiary of the KUKA Group and is one step ahead with "Smart Urban Fulfillment".
Swisslog knows: City logistics is undergoing radical change. The expert for storage solutions, distribution centres and hospital supply reacts accordingly and works on ideas for tomorrow's requirements. Smart systems, for example, can provide optimal navigation through commuter traffic so that vans can reach their distribution centre with minimal delays.
Companies are already working on such scenarios. And that is necessary. Megacities are accommodating more and more people in ever less space and this presents logistics with growing challenges. Understaffing, for example, is to be compensated by automated processes.
Put simply, the more automated a city is, the more sustainable it will be in the future. It should remain livable in a new age of route-optimised navigation based on huge amounts of data. Autonomous vehicles are able to better coordinate with each other than humans could ever do. But people must not be afraid of that at all, KUKA reassures in its blog article.
Automated storage systems: Cost savings through more efficient supply chains
As early as May 2018, we dealt with the warehouse of the future in the topic of the month. By automating the supply chain, the space available in such a warehouse can be used more efficiently - and this pays off even in small dimensions. Read everything in our article:
"To boost efficiency along the entire supply chain means rethinking business models and switching to innovative, data-based technologies and solutions."
Speed is the key
A global player like the American mail order giant Amazon is already winning many customers in major German cities with same-day delivery, putting local competitors under pressure because every hour counts. E-commerce is also booming in the B2B sector. If products have to be delivered within the next few hours or at least on the same day, logisticians will need to find the right answer to all future questions.
All of this could not work at all without the much-described digitisation, but it also demands new ways in logistics. Industry 4.0 is forcing many companies to revolutionise their business models. This means that they can only produce on demand and then deliver directly to their customers.
"Efficient information flows are essential for implementation," Swisslog makes clear in this context. Demand-driven production according to the pull principle turns conventional supply chain concepts upside down, as less is produced in stock.
Concrete approaches from communal warehouses to delivery taxis
Swisslog has various ideas. In communal warehouses, consignments of goods are pre-consolidated across service providers, which is already crowned with success on the outskirts of metropolitan areas. The transport to the inner cities is bundled and thus prevents overloading of the roads. Apart from more compact warehousing, new delivery methods would have to be tested, including drones, robots, delivery taxis and freight bicycles. And all these systems must also be organised accordingly, with Swisslog relying on the analysis of huge databases.
With the in-house SynQ software, the Swiss company makes processes more transparent and reduces maintenance and repair costs. In the Cockpit Manager, for example, operating procedures are visualised in 3D in real time. With the help of such digital shadows, the current and the expected performance can be simulated.
Smart cities are smart opportunities However great these challenges may be, KUKA also sees them as opportunities. Logisticians can experiment with which factors need to be networked and how, so that goods can reach any point in the world within 24 hours. This could be achieved through minimised delivery routes, shared depots and intelligent traffic control - it is exciting to see what the future has in store.
Swisslog employs 2904 people in around 25 countries and generated sales of 763.7 million euros in 2017. The company is part of the German robotics and automation group KUKA AG.