An integrated robotic layer picking solution has transformed workplace safety and significantly improved the quality and productivity of mixed pallet assembly at Nestlé Australia’s national distribution centre (DC) at Arndell Park in Sydney’s western suburbs.
The high volume DC stores and distributes several hundred stock keeping units (SKUs) from Nestlé’s consumer food and beverage, food service and pet food businesses.
The high demand for Nestlé’s leading household brands means most of the DC’s orders – around 80% – are distributed as full pallets. Picking the remaining 20% of orders – which are distributed in pallet layer and full case quantities – has involved the manual handling of around five million cases per year, creating a significant and ongoing occupational health and safety (OH&S) challenge.
Nestlé’s innovative layer picking solution eliminates the need to manually handle around four million of those cases.
The layer picking system achieves very high throughput rates thanks to logistics systems supplier Dematic’s FreePick Maximiser patented software. By cross-matching orders and pairing those with compatible order profiles, FreePick Maximiser enables around 20% – in some instances up to 50% – of goods for orders to be distributed without them being physically picked.