With Swisslog's AutoStore Solution, ASDA Picks Orders 2X Faster With 99.8 Percent Accuracy

The UK's largest AutoStore installation has officially opened at the ASDA Integrated Distribution Centre (IDC), Lutterworth. Designed, developed and delivered by Swisslog, a global provider of integrated logistics solutions, the automated goods-to-man materials handling solution was declared open ASDA and Swisslog executives. ASDA, the second largest supermarket chain in the UK, holding around 18 percent market share, is part of the Walmart group.

In a competitive retail environment, AutoStore provides an intelligent storage and retrieval system for small case lines that allows ASDA Logistics Services to handle a wide range of products in a more space efficient and productive way than before.

ASDA Logistics Services has invested in a multimillion pound (GBP) AutoStore installation, allowing colleagues to pick at twice the rate of the existing process with a 99.8 percent accuracy using a design concept that is simple yet elegant, providing flexibility for future expansion to the business-to-consumer market.

Ant Everett, head of engineering and capacity, ASDA Logistics Services, says, "We looked at a number of ways to improve the use of space within our existing distribution centers. Lutterworth IDC is already one of the most complex depots in ASDA's logistics services network. The ability to reengineer the facility and build a space-efficient and ergonomic application was a key selection factor.

The entire grid was constructed in just seven weeks and incorporates over 70,000 storage bins and 164 robots, linking six ergonomic decant stations with 10 goods-to-man picking ports. From the outset, the system enables ASDA to manage several thousand different stock keeping units, whilst allowing further phased investments to accommodate more bins in line with the site's developing requirements.

James Sharples, managing director of Swisslog UK, believes the success of AutoStore at ASDA will be closely followed by other retailers. He says, "Innovation and efficiency are at the heart of the service we provide and we are extremely proud of the solution we've delivered for one of the most prestigious and respected retailers in the world."

First developed in Scandinavia, AutoStore offers a range of benefits, including the efficient warehousing and order processing of small cases and single items in a very compact area.

The system provides the highest possible rate of space optimization teamed with extremely dense storage, as robots on the top of the grid automatically store and retrieve goods with minimum space requirements. Compared to traditional automated solutions, AutoStore allows far greater capacity and storage density, with up to 60 percent more goods stored in the same space as a conventional warehouse.
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