Catch of the Day has pushed the button on a brand new $20m automated, robot-driven warehouse installation, planning to double capacity ahead of Christmas.
The Catch Group, comprising daily deals giant Catch of the Day, plus Scoopon, Grocery Run and Mumgo, is banking on a $20m investment in automated warehouse technology to double capacity this Christmas and beyond. In what it claims is a world first, the Catch Group has implemented the Swisslog Autostore, which is used by the ASDA general merchandise chain in the UK, for medium and slow moving lines, and the Swisslog Quick Move conveyor for fast moving products.
The new system has been two years in the making for the Catch Group, and the automated, robot-driven technology represents a major transformation from the manual warehouse management processes presenting growth challenges for the group.
“The new system is a source of real competitive advantage, dramatically streamlining and improving our logistics operations to become more efficient and faster,” says Leibovich. “It allows us to sell more and offer a much wider range of goods in more categories, helping us to keep up with our customers’ appetite for great deals.
“In the past, during the Christmas season we had to take the foot off the pedal as we could not handle the amount of orders. This Christmas we are shipping next day and offering more than twice the amount of products which is being reflected in very strong pre-Christmas sales.”
Currently the Catch Group sells one item every second and processes around 15,000 orders per day. The new system will enable the group to process around 25,000 orders across a significantly broader range of products.
“We spent a year touring all the best logistics operations in the country and in Asia and exploring a number of different solutions before settling on Swisslog and the Autostore,” says Leibovich. “Our primary reason for selecting Swisslog as a partner was the Autostore, its simplicity, the high density of storage, the flexibility in its design and operation and the ease of expansion.”
“Even then, it was not an out of the box solution. Every retailer has differing operations, so we spent a great deal of time customising the build to our exact requirements. The build took 12 months to complete and given Christmas, timing was critical.”
Staff are also benefitting with the introduction of the system. “The warehouse automation is lightening the load on our warehouse team who, until recently, would have to walk kilometres everyday picking and packing orders using a trolley on a floor the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground,” Leibovich says.
How it works
Autostore is an aluminium grid containing 25,000 bins stacked 16 high on the floor of the massive warehouse in Truganina, in Melbourne’s west. Seventy robots operate across the top of the grid to retrieve product and deliver the bins to four goods-to-person picking stations where operators pick product into order totes. The totes then move from Autostore, via conveyor, into a zone routing area for further picking or out to despatch.