AS Colour, a leading global wholesaler and retailer that designs, manufactures, and distributes premium apparel, will transform its Melbourne distribution centre (DC) with automation featuring a Dematic Multishuttle goods-to-person (GTP) solution.

Starting out in New Zealand in 2005 as a supplier of quality blank apparel, AS Colour now operates from five DCs in Auckland, Melbourne, Los Angeles, North Carolina, and Leighton Buzzard (Bedfordshire, UK), plus 25 retail stores across New Zealand, Australia, and the UK.

AS Colour managing director, Lawrence Railton said, “Dematic has been a strong technology partner, helping us from a global perspective, and we see this as a long-term partnership as we continue to expand as a business in the future. We’re excited to again partner with Dematic on the Melbourne chapter of our automation.”

As a compact, high-throughput automated storage and picking system, the Dematic solution features high-density tote storage and sequenced order picking for better productivity. The system is capable of processing varied order types, including small e-commerce orders, medium and large B2B orders, as well as retail store fulfilment.

The modular, scalable Dematic Multishuttle at the Melbourne DC will be 18 levels high and four aisles storing over 55,000 totes, with additional capacity built in for projected future growth. Product and order totes will be retrieved and delivered in the required sequence to GTP picking workstations.

The system will be capable of sustainably delivering up to 1,500 product totes per hour across the five GTP picking workstations (an average of 300 product totes per hour to each independent picking workstation). After orders are fulfilled at GTP workstations, order totes will be temporarily buffered within the Dematic Multishuttle before being released and conveyed to the packing sorter.

Dematic Warehouse Control Software (WCS) will be an optimisation layer between the AS Colour’s Warehouse Management Software (WMS) and the automated equipment that provides the most efficient picking tasks and transportation of goods throughout the system.

“Due to our growth over the last 5 to 10 years, we have outgrown many distribution facilities. Rising demand led us to building a brand-new facility with the focus on automation,” Railton added.

Dematic business development manager, Seth van Dijk commented, “AS Colour was the first company to choose the Dematic Multishuttle GTP solution in the New Zealand market. The Auckland system has 18 levels and features two aisles storing just under 20,000 totes with four ergonomic GTP workstations.”

Prior to automation, AS Colour used manual RF processes to pick orders, with operators walking up and down aisles pulling trolleys. Stock was replenished with forklifts and other equipment. The introduction of automation at its Auckland facility has increased throughput per worker by 344% – from an average of 45 lines per hour to an average of over 200 lines per hour. Other benefits include decreased labour costs and improvement in order accuracy.