Dutch company Beekman B.V. had to choose: either move to bigger premises or upgrade the automation of their existing warehouse. They decided on the AutoStore™ system.
The tremendous growth of Beekman B.V., a Dutch company specializing in supplying components for domestic appliances, left the company owners and managers with a choice: either switch to an automated warehouse system that can increase the picking capacity of the existing premises or move to a more extensive warehouse.
They chose to go with the AutoStore system, empowered by Lalesse Logistic Solutions, and to stay where they were.
This innovative Dutch company is situated in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. From here, it supplies parts, connection materials, and accessories for domestic appliances of world-leading brands such as Miele, Bosch, Siemens, AEG, Electrolux, Whirlpool, Samsung, Beko, Indesit, LG, Philips, and Bauknecht to the rest of Europe.
The family-owned business, which is now over 50 years old, offers their clients a total package, from shelving plans to entire franchise store concepts.
Beekman B.V. is large and growing by the day. Currently, they store a total of 10 million parts and accessories for domestic appliances.
“We’re seeing our clients’ assortments become broader. That means we have to have more products in stock as well,” says Jos Beekman, general director of the company since 1999.
During a branch event for web stores, Beekman first came into contact with the AutoStore system.
The speed and the compactness of the system immediately appealed to them, Beekman recalls.
Beekman and his team learned the AutoStore system can process 1,000 packages a day from Sunday to Friday. They also discovered it can handle twice as many picks per hour as their system could do before.
“People want to be able to place their orders later on in the day, and they expect their products to arrive the next day,” Beekman says. “Now our clients can place their orders until 6pm instead of 4:30pm, and still get next-day delivery.”
There were hidden costs and inconveniencies with their old system such as the time it took staff to bring empty totes upstairs. Now there’s a transportation system as well as an automatic lift doing the work.
Another problem was the struggle to get staff to work late in the day during their “rush hour”. This was solved by AutoStore, as it could operate with fewer people.
“Many of our employees are young students who work with us part-time, but evenings aren’t popular working slots. The AutoStore system solved that problem, as it can run with fewer people,” Beekman adds.
Thanks to the new system, there’s also less dust around, which makes for a more pleasant work environment.
“As the company grew, we had to find a way to improve our efficiency. The AutoStore system gave us that.”
Beekman B.V. managed to convert to the new system in just three weeks. The process was so smooth their customers didn’t even notice any hiccups.
The automated warehouse system at Beekman B.V. is operated by 41 Robots moving at an average speed of 3m (10 feet) per second. The grid contains 17,141 Bins at a height of 3.6m (11.8 feet) and covers 1,200 square meters (12,916 square feet), making it one of the larger warehouses using this automated warehouse system.
There are two entry Workstations, which can do 200 put-aways per hour, and six export Workstations, which can fill 1,200 Bins an hour altogether.
Beekman’s employees were used to performing more of these actions themselves, but the team made sure they didn’t feel threatened by the automation. “We went looking for the right balance between automation and the work people do in order to ensure that the employees still feel in control.”
“We’ve invested a lot in the AutoStore system, but it’s paying for itself,” says Beekman. “Our ambitions are huge. We want to grow tremendously in the next 10 years. With this system, we can grow without any problems at all.”
He mentions that they might need additional Bins as they diversify their product range.
Optimizing the warehouse is also an ongoing process. They have their own software engineers on board, who help make sure that Beekman B.V. gets the most out of the new system.
And it’s not just the leaders and employees who are enthusiastic about the new AutoStore system – customers and other companies are also showing an interest.
“This system is an eye-opener to many people,” Beekman adds. “With the AutoStore system, we’re ready for the future.”
AutoStore can fit any warehouse or fulfillment center. Make yours the next.