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Exact dispatch sequencing key for healthcare product supplier

02 January 2014

German healthcare products supplier ProServ redesigned operations at its 4000 sq m warehouse installing the OSR Shuttle from KNAPP.

The company serves hospitals and clinics with a wide range of products from artificial hip joints to catering menu cards. As ProServ delivers to hospitals and larger health facilities, its orders can include up to 400 containers.

These are delivered directly to the relevant departments or storage areas, so containers need to be consolidated in the warehouse in reverse order and supplied to dispatch in an exact sequence.

Containers are temporarily stored in the OSR Shuttle system and then put into the correct sequence for dispatch. One order – or ‘wave’ – corresponds to one recipient, such as a hospital. Each wave is divided into subwaves, which correspond to a department at the hospital or clinic. The subwaves must also be loaded in an exact sequence to ensure smooth and efficient deliveries. The desired sequence of containers is generated on the container loop upstream of the OSR Shuttle. After sequencing, the containers are conveyed to the repack stations and loaded into the transport vehicle, having already received an address label at an automatic label insert station.

In the warehouse

With non-stop operation in the warehouse and order processing over two shifts, the order structure requires reliable replenishment to ensure smooth workflows. The multifunctional OSR Shuttle handles all central warehouse processes in what KNAPP terms a ‘low complexity warehouse’ – that is, a facility with just one central technology.

The OSR Shuttle at ProServ features two rack line systems and 17 shuttles to provide a total of 3,720 storage locations that span all four floors of the building. As these accommodate containers weighing up to 30kg with three different footprints and heights, the various levels of the OSR Shuttle have different heights, with the control software KiSoft SRC assigning each container to a suitable storage location.

KNAPP’s KiSoft WMS warehouse management software controls, monitors and manages numerous processes – from goods-in, consolidation and order picking to lot tracking, replenishment control, cross-docking and the handling of returns – while KiSoft i-POINT is used as visualisation software. Each OSR Shuttle rack line has a lift system, comprising two independently operating lift units. With horizontal and vertical transport decoupled by the use of shuttles and lifts, optimal availability and throughput are guaranteed, making possible a consistent throughput, independent of order structure.


The OSR Shuttle automatically replenishes the flow racks for manual picking as required and also provides storage for overstock. A total of 11 stations are available for manual picking, with RF terminals guiding the staff from one storage location to the next to ensure efficient, paperless order processing and enhanced picking accuracy.

Containers are transported to the OSR Shuttle store for dispatch buffering. Oversized products are stored in pallet flow racks, which are automatically replenished by a rail-guided transfer shuttle, with empty pallets being transported to a collection point and stacked automatically. Products are picked from the pallet flow racks using pick-to-belt and RF technologies, with goods transferred to containers at an automatic tray-loading station.

In ProServ's low complexity warehouse, KNAPP’s OSR Shuttle takes care of storage, supply of the flow racks, buffering and sequencing of the goods. Manual and automated work processes are harmoniously integrated to ensure faster and more accurate deliveries.

Key Points

• Orders sequenced into waves and sub-waves for dispatch.

• Two rack line systems and 17 shuttles provide 3,720 storage locations.

• KiSoft WMS deployed.

• 11 manual picking stations.

• Picking stations fed by automatically replenished flow racks.