Dematic is powering the future of WesTrac's spare parts warehouse

February 19, 2024

WesTrac's Natalia Trewin and Georgia Denton with the AutoStore solution

Sydney, AustraliaWesTrac, one of the world’s largest authorised Caterpillar® equipment dealers, has successfully implemented a Dematic Automated Piece Picking System for Industrial Supplies solution, transforming operations and enhancing efficiency and productivity at its Tomago warehouse in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

WesTrac provides customers with a wide range of machinery and equipment, along with comprehensive whole-of-life management solutions aimed at making equipment ownership and operation as easy, profitable, and safe as possible. This support covers the mining and construction industries in Western Australia, NSW, and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

“WesTrac is one of the largest authorised Caterpillar dealers in the world and our Tomago warehouse in NSW has an essential role to play in this, as it is the central distribution centre for our 17 regional branches, as well as our seven main workshops here on site,” explains Natalia Trewin, Warehouse Operations Manager, WesTrac. “The Tomago facility is a high-volume operation, storing 80,000 SKUs and we pick 40,000 lines a week here.”

The previous WesTrac warehouse was constructed a decade ago. It was operated manually and over time WesTrac had seen a 30% increase in inventory and customer base growth, resulting in a surge in orders to fulfil.

“As a customer-focused organisation, we knew we needed to keep looking for improvements and efficiencies to keep up with technological advancement. We needed to maximise the use of our existing floor space and to diversify our storage solutions, so we looked at what we could do to manage more inventory within our existing space,” adds Trewin.

The system features an AutoStore™ automated storage and goods-to-person (GTP) picking system, powered by intelligent Dematic Software. It significantly streamlines warehouse operations, with one picker achieving the work of four to five manual pickers. The AutoStore system (resembling a large Rubik's cube) features 15,350 segmented bins, 24 robots, four inbound conveyor ports for replenishing products into the system, and six GTP workstations – all designed to optimise space efficiency and accelerate parts distribution.

The Dematic solution has introduced a new level of productivity for WesTrac, which is helping to grow the company and improve customer service.

“We're already exceeding our initial throughput targets, which were to be picking over 500 lines per hour or 30% more with our existing headcount. Previously, with the same amount of people, we were only able to pick 300 lines,” says Trewin. “The speed and density of the solution means that we can get urgent orders out to customers within five to 10 minutes if needed. Our customers rely on us to ensure they can keep doing the work that they need to do, so it's really important that we're able to step up our service.”

Seth van Dijk, Business Development Manager at Dematic, explains the system's operation, “When customers place their orders, the WesTrac warehouse management system (WMS) software sends those orders to the Dematic warehouse control system (WCS) software. The WCS then directs the robots for maximum efficiency to retrieve all the items needed to fulfil those orders, and the robot delivers those items to the GTP workstations. Screens at the workstations instruct WesTrac operators which items to place into the order totes. Operators place completed totes on the conveyor, which brings them to a sorter. At the end of the sorter, orders are packed and dispatched for delivery.”

From a storage density perspective, the Dematic solution has significantly increased WesTrac’s available space by 1,000 square meters. This has facilitated decreased response times, quicker parts distribution, the capacity to provide a broader range of products, and extended delivery cut-off times while still guaranteeing same-day delivery. All these factors contribute to an enhanced customer experience.

The AutoStore system is a uniquely scalable solution. The grid can be easily expanded with minimal interruption and progressively filled with bins as storage demand grows.

“One of the great features of AutoStore is that we're able to expand the system without interrupting operations,” explains Trewin. “It's very easy to put more robots on the grid to, for example, have more throughput over a weekend. Additionally, the system is designed for us to add more grid and totes so we can grow storage.”

The AutoStore system is also one of the most sustainable warehouse automation systems available today. Its robots use power regeneration technology to reduce energy consumption, and they typically consume less power than a toaster.

Clich here to learn more about Dematic solution for WesTrac.

About Dematic

Dematic designs, builds, and supports intelligent automated solutions empowering and sustaining the future of commerce for its customers in manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution. With research and development engineering centers, manufacturing facilities, and service centers located in more than 26 countries, the Dematic global network of over 10,000 employees has helped achieve successful customer installations for some of the world’s leading brands. Headquartered in Atlanta, Dematic is a member of KION Group, one of the world’s leading suppliers of industrial trucks and supply chain solutions. 

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This release and the information contained herein are for information purposes only and do not constitute a prospectus or an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities in the United States or in any other jurisdiction. This release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Future results could differ materially from those described in these forward-looking statements due to certain factors, for example, changes in business, economic, and competitive conditions, regulatory reforms, results of technical studies, foreign exchange rate fluctuations, uncertainties in litigation or investigative proceedings, and the availability of financing. We do not undertake any responsibility to update the forward-looking statements in this release.

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