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Insight offered into automated operations at Teva DC

12 December 2012

Smart Storage and Applied Automation - this was the overriding theme at SSI Schaefer's recent regional event hosted at Teva UK in Castleford, West Yorkshire.

Smart Storage and Applied Automation - this was the overriding theme at SSI Schaefer's recent regional event hosted at Teva UK in Castleford, West Yorkshire.

Delegates heard the numerous advantages of upgrading their existing logistics operations when combining low level automation with more efficient smart storage systems and got the opportunity to take a 'behind the scenes' look at Teva's own automated distribution centre.

Teva, part of one of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies in the world and the UK's leading generic manufacturer of pharmaceutical goods despatching over four million items per day, opened its doors to show fellow industry leaders how they had successfully migrated from a labour intensive manual warehousing operation to a new automated distribution centre with pretty impressive results.

With the help of SSI Schaefer, Teva UK significantly increased its storage capacity, improved overall picking performance and sharpened efficiency and customer service levels all while reducing labour overheads.

Guests were given guided tours of Teva's site and were able to see firsthand the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) with three cranes and 3,500 single deep storage locations that was designed and installed by SSI Schaefer alongside pallet racking complete with 21,000 storage locations, a Pallet Conveyor System, a 78 sort lane Tote Conveyor System and a Pick-by-Light System with 13 pick stations and 910 locations. The whole operation is monitored and managed by SSI Schaefer's WAMAS C Warehouse Control System.

Items are picked using three different options; full pallets are selected from the pallet racking, full cartons from the ASRS and single items from the pick-by light system. Ergonomically designed pick stations equipped with hydraulic pallet lifting devices have been installed to help operators. Despatch methods are dependent upon the size of the order and determined by the warehouse management system, which also calculates carton numbers and sizes per order.

John-Paul Bednarek, Head of Operations and Service, Teva, gave visitors an informative overview of the whole project, from initial concept through to design and completion of the internal layout in partnership with SSI Schaefer. He said: “SSI Schaefer was able to visualise our needs from the outset focusing on our ultimate goal - to improve upon customer service levels and product offering. The automated storage and distribution facility enabled us to easily reduce our labour overheads by moving from a three-shift operation to two-shifts. Perhaps most importantly, the increased storage capacity allowed us to handle our immediate needs but also accommodates any future growth in the business with ease.”

Guests also heard from Bob Jane, Business Development Manager at SSI Schaefer, who gave an in-depth overview of the company across the globe, its structure and overall capabilities in addition to the project concept and delivery at Teva. Jason Hibbs, Managing Director of Jet Environmental Systems, also delivered a presentation on how precise environmental conditions have been achieved and are subsequently controlled inside the Distribution Centre as part of the overall project .