Future Group has to its credit many firsts in the retail space. With the adoption of new technology, it’s all set to transform the Indian logistics space well ahead of its counterparts. Recently inaugurated, crossbelt sortation technology at Future Supply Chain’s Distribution Centre (DC) in MIHAN, is going to be a game changer and a stepping stone, making it India’s most Automated first-of-its-kind ‘GST ready’ Distribution Centre. It aims to enhance the transportation & logistics industry while accommodating the upcoming tax reforms to help India emerge as one of the global leaders in the logistics space.

The Multi Modal and International Hub (MIHAN) based in Nagpur, recently saw high profile dignitaries as well national press descend on it after a long time. The occasion was the launch of India’s first Cross-Belt Sortation technology at Future Supply Chain’s Distribution Centre (DC), at the hands of Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.

This DC run by Future Supply Chain for Future Group, already boasted of a high degree of automation and technology. The Cross-Belt Sortation technology takes it to the next level. Developed by BEUMER Group – headquartered in Germany, has a Cross Belt Tray Sorter at the heart of the system with,

  • 5 kms long conveyor system
  • 42 mtr high speed Line Sorter (with a speed if 2.1 mtr per second)
  • Sorting capacity of a million pieces per day for 400 destinations at a time
  • Special 12 mtr high Spiral Conveyor, which is tallest in the country

This highly automated sorter offers an ideal solution to reliably and carefully direct all types of articles to their correct destination, regardless of size, shape or surface structure at an incredible sorting productivity of over 36 Crore pieces per annum (capacity enhancement by 3X) and accuracy of over 99 per cent. PV Sheshadri, CEO, Future Supply Chain Solutions Ltd., added, “This technology has a capacity of churning 3 times more throughput compared to the earlier Put-To-Light system. In our estimate, this should cater to our client requirements till 2019, in the current form of sorting logic.”

Fruition of closer association

The BEUMER Group has developed individually coordinated system solutions, from individual machines to fully integrated material flow systems for Future Supply Chains. The Software Suite (on which this system runs) is based on highly modular software and issuer-friendly with customer specific solution. It’s a classic system that provides real-time monitoring of sorting as well as picking processes and works flawlessly to provide end-to-end sortation and distribution solutions.

Sheshadri further added, “This is a brilliant example of co-creation between the client and service provider. As a philosophy, we collaborate with our customers in bringing best of the best solutions to their business needs. In this case, post understanding of the customer’s need, we picked best of the technology, which is versatile, flexible and enables seamless integration with client’s systems. Suppliers were chosen from different parts of the globe. Consultants were appointed to study and substantiate our understanding and selection. Simulations approach was adopted to ensure we don't go wrong in anyway. On the client’s side, a dedicated team was aligned with us in validating and defining the process. Many changes were required in packing, improving barcode quality and its standards, aligning their suppliers to packaging standards, aligning their buying team and changing their mindset in product packaging...and much more. Overseas visits were made with the client to fine tune and validate our approach. Therefore, it was a complete coordinated effort which enabled us in successful execution.”

On being asked if costs come into play in client’s hesitation to adopt technology and automation, he said, Industry outlook is very positive. Economy is moving ahead in the right direction. With GST getting rolled out as planned, overall supply chain network will undergo dramatic change. Larger boxes (Distribution Centres) will emerge and small will perish. With this, adoption of technology and automation is inevitable to support the demand. Without it, large boxes cannot be operated and managed to draw efficiencies. Therefore, I don't see cost factor as a question here. The mindset and outlook must change to adopt to business needs. I see that coming. The change in overall network strategy will justify the volume and cost. You have no choice but to adopt change. Cost will not be a detrimental factor here. Ease of doing business in a changed environment and the demand for volumes will drive technology and automation adoption. Let's adopt it. There is a limit to dependency on human factor to operate a large-scale warehouse. Technology only helps to reduce human errors and boosts accuracy to near 100%.”

“Velocity at which you do business will be a differentiator going forward. I suggest, choose technology and and automation wisely,” asserts Sheshadri.

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