Apparel Warehouse: Bosideng Moves from Manual to Automation with ACR System
World's No. 1 down garment producer Bosideng has joined forces with Hai Robotics to transform its apparel warehouse from manual to automated. The adoption of the ACR solution allowed the warehouse to make full use of its space to relieve heavy order-fulfillment pressure even in peak seasons.
World's No. 1 down garment producer Bosideng has joined forces with Hai Robotics, pioneer and leader in ACR (Autonomous Case-handling Robot) system, to transform its apparel warehouse from manual to automated using the ACR system.
Apparel manufacturers have common headaches with the operation of their warehouses, especially during peak times. They often find warehouses run short of storage space when orders surge. The traditional manual way of warehouse operation faces other problems too, like slowness and lack of accuracy in picking and sorting, low worker efficiency, etc.
Robotics automation, in such a scenario, becomes essential.
Bosideng, the world's top-down garment producer in terms of sales volume, by market research institute Euromonitor International, had these pain points in their 7,000-sqm warehouse in the east Chinese city of Changshu, during last year's double-11 (Nov 11) online shopping festival.
Hai Robotics's ACR (Autonomous Case-handling Robot) system turned out to be the solution.
Piece picking, the biggest operational challenge
The down jacket industry is strongly seasonal. During the peak season, piece picking and sorting in warehouses become the toughest challenge for down garment makers, as they receive a large volume of orders, fragmented and personalized, from stores and online.
Shipping time is crucial. It is a big advantage for any garment maker to make sure their products arrive early in the consumer's hands.
Bosideng's promise is all orders placed before 11 am must be shipped on the same day. The company has, by far, managed to make sure The company has, by far, managed to keep an 80% next-day delivery rate to stores. Items are shipped from its 9 warehouses nationwide. The such high requirement has brought huge challenges for logistics, especially during peak seasons.
Manual picking remains the most common picking method, yet it delivers low efficiency.
In the 7,000-sqm Changshu warehouse in east China, the daily average walking distance for every staff member used to be between 12 to 16 kilometers, just to pick up garments.
Sometimes workers would have to climb up and down ladders to reach garments stored on higher shelves. Increasing rack height seems to be a good idea for space utilization, but it might put workers in greater danger of falling. So the average height of the shelves was only around 2 meters, leaving higher space empty.
As a result, the 7,000-sqm warehouse offered storage space for only up to 20,000 containers. In addition, down jackets, compared with other garments, are usually more fluffy and bigger in size. Each container would store up to five jackets only, meaning the capacity of the warehouse used to be 100,000 down jackets, before Hai Robotics's system was adopted.
The ACR solution
The Autonomous Case-handling Robot (ACR) system uses robots to precisely identify totes or cartons and bring them to warehouse workers. The solution excels the shelves-carrying robotics akin to Kiva, granting greater storage flexibility and work efficiency.
The ACR system possesses high flexibility, and you can easily add and take away robots (scalability). It provides dynamic storage retrieval and an inventory system that allows for low deployment ownership and execution cost. It increases picking efficiency by 300% - 400% and reaches a picking accuracy of 99.99%.
Bosideng warehouse automation solution
The ACR solution features 87 HaiPick A42N carton-picking robots, 5 HaiPort-powered Workstations, and HaiQ warehouse management system. The project, an upgrade of the 7,000-sqm warehouse, was completed within three months.
HaiPick A42N robots: upon receiving system orders, they shuttle between racks to pick and carry cartons to the HaiPort-powered Workstation for order sorting.
The HaiPort-powered Workstation can dock with HaiPick robots to automatically load and unload 6 to 8 cases in one move, reducing the manual labor required when cases are transferred to a conveyor belt. Workers can do order picking and sort at the picking area according to UI instructions.
HaiQ WMS: an intelligent software system that leverages AI algorithms and is the central command for the robot fleet. It can optimize order fulfillment and provide insights into warehouse operations through order assignment, task assignment, and path planning.
Customer value: Improved order fulfillment, boosted storage density, highly accurate picking
The adoption of the ACR solution allowed the warehouse to make full use of its space with a redesign of 9-layer racks rising to 5 meters. In this way, the storage density was boosted by 200%. In addition, HaiPick robots can pick and retrieve cartons at 99.99% picking accuracy and improve order-fulfillment efficiency by 150%. Now the warehouse is relieved of heavy order-fulfillment pressure even in peak seasons thanks to better space utilization. Meanwhile, there are reduced concerns about accidents in the workplace resulting from manual operation.
"Bosideng chose Hai Robotics for its product quality, project delivery capability, and level of service. [The project] has brought vitality into the company's effort to upgrade to smart warehousing. We will continue to deepen our cooperation, to boost efficiency while reducing cost," said Dai Jianguo, the assistant to the executive president at Bosideng.
Apparel warehouse automation
Effective warehouse management is critical for the highly competitive and fast-paced apparel industry. High-efficient warehouse operations are indispensable for a successful selling season and brand leadership in the trendiest fashion style.
Automating an apparel warehouse requires a good understanding of customers' business and matured project experience. Hai Robotics has dozens of automation projects running with various apparel brands. Hai Robotics has created value for its customers by enabling them to achieve:
Faster and more efficient processing of returns — even with growing numbers of SKUs
Configurations for dedicated e-commerce or retail store fulfillment
Efficient processing of smaller and more complex orders
Automation that reduces dependency on warehouse labor
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