SDA Express Courier – part of Poste Italiane Group – was founded in 1984 aiming at becoming a leading player in the field of Logistics Management and BtoB distribution. It offers a wide range of services to meet all shipping needs: from standard-express to integrated-logistics services, from technical courier to technology solutions for the e-commerce.
Figures and organization
SDA Express Courier - Poste Italiane Group manage the warehouse with SMA.I.L:) by Replica Sistemi
Figures - Logistics plant in Gorgonzola
- 8.000 sq/m indoor surface
- 10.500 available pallet locations
- about 1.600.000 shipped parcels / year
- over 2.000.000 lines orders dispatched / year
Figures and structures dedicated to Xerox in Gorgonzola’s plant
- 2.000 sq/m dedicated surface
- 770.000 shipped parcels / year
- 292.000 orders dispatched / year
- 600.000 lines orders dispatched / year
In 2009 the company named Italia Logistica (later acquired by SDA Express Courier) has implemented Replica Sistemi’s WMS StockSystem to enhance management and performance of its warehousing operations.
After a few years, Italia Logistica migrated to the new version of the application, that is StockSystemEvolution, adding-on also StockVoice the voice synthesis recognition module.
In 2015 it has also been implemented Pick2LightAIR, the new integrated technology to speed up sorting, putaway and pick&pack operations.
The range of products varies extremely in terms of single item value and volume: consumable and bulky items.
Some items have expiry date and need to be managed by FIFO allocation method.
The warehouse has been divided in different putaway and order-picking areas for bulky items and small parts.
- 12 Honeywell bar code readers
- 4 Vocollect T5 speech recognition devices
- 2 Motorola bar code readers
- 132 Pick2Light displays
Bulky items management
In inbound, products are uploaded to the system by bar-code scanning; the system immediately finds the most suitable and available putaway pallets area.
In bulky items picking, the system provides picking lists by destination type (i.e. orders to Sicily or held for pick-up) and – being such products already “packed items” that is “ready-to-ship” – it allows the direct printing of the waybill (document showing details about items and addressee) as the related task is taken in charge by an operator.
The picking method in this area is “batch picking”, which means the operator pulls multiple orders at one time so that multiple orders are grouped into small batches. So, an order picker will pick all orders within the batch in one pass usually using a multi-tiered picking cart maintaining a separate tote or carton on the cart for each order.
Operators equipped with voice-recognition devices work fast and safe with hands and eyes free; operators get voice instructions from the head-set and confirm tasks via a microphone.
While performing picking operations the operator directly applies labels to the packages with the waybill ready for shipping.
Such procedure, that is integrating order picking and waybill (avoiding any picking list), has helped SDA Express Courier getting considerable benefits in terms of leaner procedures.
Once the “packed items” have been picked they are moved to the shipping area where the waybill is generated by scanning the barcode associated with the consignment note. Subsequently, cartons are forwarded to other SDA’s destination hubs on the territory.
Consumables and small parts management
Consumables and small parts management – as for receiving, putaway and picking – is carried out by the new pick&put-to-light wireless system.
In the receiving area an operator will arrange the Pick2LightAIR
displays on a multi-tiered picking cart addressed to shelves replenishment or stackable storage bins.
When the operator scans an item, the system shows (on Pick2LightAIR’s display) the associated destination box and quantity. Once the sorting procedure is over, the stock replenishment task gets started in the putaway area where the operator is guided by Radio-Frequency handheld or Voice-recognition devices to the storage locations according to travel optimization along the aisles.
Reached the location, the operator immediately reads the information on Pick2LightAIR’s display to choose the right box and quantity of the items.
During the small parts and consumables picking process – as with bulky items – the system generates “picking waves” by destination type and “mini-batch” jobs (multiple order collected at once) supported by Voice and Pick2LightAIR technology.
The picking criteria is “pick&pack - put to light”: the operator sets the displays up onto the "mini-batch" picking cart containing boxes or envelopes which are also the final packaging.
The system, via Voice device, drives the operator through the multi-order picking process, providing optimized routes based on the items to pick.
On the picking cart, boxes and envelopes are set on top of their respective displays.
Getting to the point, the operator takes the quantity specified via Voice and - basing on which lights are lighting up - he directly packs the items in boxes/envelopes depending on the quantity suggested by the Pick2LightAIR display.
Upon tasks completion the picking cart is taken to the shipping area.
Here the operator reads the barcodes associated to each envelope and StockSystemEvolution automatically prints the consignment note and relative waybill.
Although bulky items and spare parts picking are different “logical” procedures - to ensure customers the delivery of a complete order (both bulky items and spare-parts) - the WMS sends (while scanning the parcel for waybill generation) a reminder of the missing part (be it a bulky item or a spare-part).
Further, at the very moment that the waybill is generated, the application sends the final customer a confirmation e-mail.
Thanks to StockSystemEvolution WMS and the integrated technology, the application met the expectations in terms of:
- precise control over any task carried out by each operator, that helped improve the workload allocation
- error reduction
- speed and productivity
- better control over items locations and stock, slotting optimization
- constant improvement as a consequence of the statistics dashboard that helps pinpoint possible inefficiencies and enhance the whole logistics process
- overall better results and margins thanks to the improved working time and efficiency due to the reliability of the application.