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Faster order processing for online pharma leader

05 March 2019

German mail order pharmacy Sanicare has implements a highly automated picking and shipping system from SSI Schaefer.

The new system handles more than half of the picking processes automatically. With a processing time of 20 minutes per parcel, up to 10,000 shipments leave the logistics centre every day.

Sanicare advises and cares for 1.6 million customers throughout Germany. In June 2018, the company modernised its buildings with a high-performance logistics system with SSI Schaefer acting as the general contractor.

After a three-month planning phase, the retrofit started in April 2018 during daily operation, with the system completed in June. It is now possible to handle the majority of orders using a standardised process with 55% of all picking processes performed automatically and only need to undergo a final check before shipment. Thus, the system can process approx. 1,000 shipments per hour. In total, BS-Apotheken OHG achieves an automation degree of 70% of all shipments using the existing picking automats.

“The retrofit enables us to process orders fast and efficiently, even at peak times, and thus to achieve more customer satisfaction,” says Heinrich Meyer, owner of BS-Apotheken OHG, parent company of Sanicare.

For picking fast movers, SSI Schaefer installed an A-Frame as an automatic picking system with capacity for 850 top items. After dispensing the items from the automat onto the collecting belt, the products are transported to the filling point and into the picking cartons. A separate costly repacking process can be omitted. 

“Filling cartons directly from such a system is unique in the mail-order pharmacy sector,” emphasises the owner of BS-Apotheken OHG. The filling point can handle four different carton types. Newly installed replenishment areas in close proximity to the A-Frames ensure permanent replenishment of the automats.

Part of the modern system is also a fully-automatic carton erector to erect 90% of common carton sizes. In a further step, the cartons are filled with inserts and marketing material, are provided with a barcode and are thereby linked to the customer order. The possibility to add inserts generally or selectively is another special feature; the new technology was connected to existing logistics processes.

For picking medium and fast movers, the order cartons are transported on the SSI Schaefer bin and carton conveying system to the ROWA automats. These automats have a capacity of 100,000 medication packages which are automatically transferred to the shipment. Manual picking processes for orders with specific medication and customer requests have been integrated into the process as well. In the shipping area, the cartons are closed automatically and address labels are applied using the Schaefer Compact Insertion (SCI). The logistics software WAMAS, used for system control and continuous optimisation of the material flow, completes the system.