Modern Materials Handling Names viastore’s Installation at Grob Winner of 2016 Productivity Achievement Award

MMH_1015coverModern Materials Handling magazine’s Productivity Achievement Award for Manufacturing has been awarded to Grob-Werke GmbH & Co. KG’s new logistics center in Mindelheim, Germany. The family-owned maker of machines and assembly systems for manufacturing operations worked with viastore to design, supply and install a high-density automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) with goods-to-person picking to streamline packaging of kitted materials. The kits are then used to replenish assembly stations in Grob’s adjacent manufacturing plant. The facility was featured on the October 2015 cover in an article entitled, “Grob: Getting the goods to the person.”

The finalists were judged by a panel of three highly-respected supply chain experts: John Hill, director at St. Onge Co., a supply chain strategy and logistics consulting firm; James A. Tompkins, chairman and CEO of Tompkins International, a supply chain consulting and implementation firm; and Jeff Woroniecki, chief operating officer at MHI.

According to Modern’s Senior Editor Josh Bond, finalists in the Manufacturing Productivity Award category are recognized for their ability to provide outstanding customer service, quickly respond to changing business conditions, deliver orders that meet customer requirements, and improve operations. Winners were also judged on how projects inside the four walls enable or complement the broader business objectives of the company, in addition to achievements in productivity, throughput or efficiency.

“This year’s winners were nearly unanimous, and Modern’s editors and guest judges agree the winners offer models for success in their respective fields as well as for the future of the industry as a whole,” writes Bond.

Included in Grob’s 93,000-square-foot logistics center area (a part of the total 1.2-million-square-foot manufacturing facility) are:

  • An 8-aisle pallet-handling AS/RS with nearly 9,000 single-deep storage locations feeding six goods-to-person pick stations;
  • A 4-aisle mini-load AS/RS with 26,288 storage locations and load handling devices that interface with multiple containers of varying sizes;
  • A manual reserve storage area;
  • Camera-based vision technology to track the accuracy of each pick and to trigger storage system replenishment as needed;
  • A cart staging system to deliver kits to the assembly areas in the plant; and
  • A new warehouse management system (WMS) integrated with SAP to manage storage locations and synchronize activities throughout the facility.

Grob’s Christian Lisiecki, director of strategic projects, calls the new facility “a logistics paradigm shift,” transforming what had previously been a manual operation into a highly automated solution that now keeps up with the company’s dramatic growth.

“We could not manage the amount of picking we are doing every day if we were still trying to do this manually,” Lisiecki says, adding that order selectors pick between 5,000 and 6,000 parts each day from the automated systems. “We were at the limit of our facility, even if we put more people in the warehouse.”


For more information about the installation at Grob, read the case study. To find out how viastore’s automated solutions can support your manufacturing and assembly operations, call us at 616.977.3950 to discuss your needs with one of our warehouse planning specialists.

About John Clark

John is responsible for Marketing and Business Development at the North American headquarters of viastore systems in Grand Rapids, MI.

He has over 20 years of broad hands-on experience in all aspects of marketing and communication, including writing, content marketing, advertising, design, trade show and event planning, public/media relations, website, lead generation and management.

Prior to viastore, he has held marketing management positions at TGW Systems and Dematic, both global material handling automation companies.

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