Fast forward > Digitec Galaxus

“A partnership built on trust and a high-performing system”

In this edition of the Fast Forward series, we fast forward three years after the go-live of Vanderlande’s MICROSHUTTLE at Digitec Galaxus in Switzerland. We return to the country’s biggest e-commerce company at Wohlen to find out how the innovative solution has fared under the most challenging of circumstances.

In 2007, Digitec Galaxus set up its warehousing function in an old steel mill, and continued to enjoy years of growth and expansion. With the number of SKUs and output both increasing by 30% per annum, the company was faced with several logistical challenges.

These were solved following the successful delivery of two projects by Vanderlande: the QUICKSTORE MINILOAD automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) in 2018, followed by the integration of the MICROSHUTTLE two years later. And they even managed to meet the sudden – and much higher than expected – 100% growth that occurred when COVID-19 struck.

Honesty and expertise

Fast forward to the present day and meet the man who had responsibility for both the MINILOAD and MICROSHUTTLE projects: Martin Ballus, Leader Projects Operations. He joined Digitec Galaxus in 2015 and is closely involved in the partnership with the Vanderlande team.

“We’ve got to know them very well over the past seven years, due to the ongoing work since the MINILOAD project was completed,” says Martin. “Our partnership is built on trust and therefore I would say that we have a close working relationship.

“We especially value their honesty and reliability, and that they don’t take advantage of the longevity of our relationship. For instance, they have continued to offer excellent value for money and have always done what they’ve promised to do.

“What I really appreciate is the continuity of the Vanderlande personnel. The people who worked on the projects have remained and are involved on an ongoing basis. They have a deep knowledge of our requirements and the QUICKSTORE solutions. This is important, because it’s a relatively complex system, and they know how to enhance, facilitate and expand these types of projects.”

Proven track record

From the outset of the first project, Digitec Galaxus decided to look for a specialist supplier, as Martin explains: “We were very keen on working with a company from the world of e-commerce, with people who know how it works. Vanderlande was our partner of choice, because they have a proven track record in this field and offer reliable technology that works.

“This is extremely important to our business because we need to cope with sudden peaks, and I’m very happy that they have provided us with such innovative solutions. What impresses me most is how they somehow manage to accommodate the extensions to the system – even though we already have quite complicated and dense facilities – so that we can continue to enjoy increased performance and growth.”

High level of performance

Leader Process Engineering at Digitec Galaxus, Philippe Marty, joined the company in 2017 as MINILOAD was in the process of going live, and then managed the MICROSHUTTLE project to completion. Having worked with this AS/RS solution since it came to fruition, he is keen to highlight how beneficial it has been to the award-winning e-commerce company.

“The biggest benefits of the automated process are that: we have achieved a high-performance level to meet customer demand; and we have been able to reduce lead times and make the consolidation of orders extremely fast. It has made a huge and positive impact on our business.

“Our plan was to have the system designed to reach 86,000 packing units during a 22-hour working day. And yet the reality is that we managed to deliver 88,000 packing units within only 17 hours in 2022. This is an excellent achievement and it has been a great success for us.”

Best customer experience

Looking to the future, and Philippe is confident that Digitec Galaxus is prepared for whatever the market dictates: “We believe the QUICKSTORE MINILOAD and MICROSHUTTLE systems are future-proof, because we enjoy a high-performance level that will help us to meet future customer demands, as well as reducing our operational costs.

“I can see that we are playing a major role in a strong market here in Switzerland. To achieve this, we are delivering the best possible customer experience for online shopping, which in turn means we are working with a high-quality system that delivers the parcels within the shortest possible time to our customers.”

“We appreciate the experience and expertise of Vanderlande’s team, and their long-term continuity”
Martin Ballus, Leader Projects Operations | Digitec Galaxus
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