Wholesale | Case Studies | Toyo Kanetsu, Manufacturer of Logistics and Material Handling Equipment" />
Shiseido West Japan Distribution Center started operation in February 2021. The aim of this Distribution Center was to optimize the Shiseido supply chain by consolidating three different centers with different functions in the Kinki region and integrate distribution at one center adjacent to a newly build factory. The Center serves customers in the Kinki, Chugoku, and Shikoku regions. The major challenge was to achieve stable, same-day delivery to customers.
Previous centers only had the option of increasing the number of workers to contend with an increase in volume and still ship same day. In order to dramatically increase the efficiency of the warehouse, we introduced the GP3 (Goods to Person for Pick and Pack) toward achieving Shiseido’s goal.
At the heart of GP3 is the "Multi-Shuttle" system, an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS). Work stations are situated on either side of the facility and combine box-making, sealing and final shipping processes for a smooth workflow. In the past, workers had to walk around the warehouse to pick single items to fulfill orders. Now with GP3, that is not necessary because the right goods are delivered directly to the worker at the right time for picking and packing at the same workstation. This is the most important feature of GP3. Products are received by case from the adjacent factory where they are inducted into the AS/RS and stored until ordered. Shipping boxes are automatically assembled and also inducted into the system. A large number of product and boxes are stored in the ASRS temporarily, and when a ship order is received, the items are retrieved and sequenced using multi-shuttles. The final result is that items arrive at the workstation in the exact order in which they need to be packed. Items are delivered to workstations in a timely manner, eliminating walking and waste. Furthermore, the order in which items are delivered makes it easy for the operator to understand.
Depending on the capacity needed, either a small or large box is automatically delivered, followed by the products in the order in which they need to be packed. For example, the larger items are sent to the workstation before smaller items for better packing. The only thing workers have to do is scan each items in the order retrieved and according to the instructions on screen, and place it in the shipping box. Furthermore, photos appear on the screen to provide additional help to the operator and prevent mistakes. GP3 allows for one operator to complete the entire process, start to finish, without the need for walking. In the previous operation, picking and packing was done separately, requiring 2 or 3 additional workers to inspect items for accuracy. With GP3, one operator can complete the entire process, directly contributing to greater efficiency and reducing manpower requirements.
After items are placed in the shipping box, it is then automatically sent to the auto-sealing machine. The auto-sealing machine automatically adjusts the height of the box to the volume of product in it so the size of the box is optimized to its contents. Finally, shipping labels are automatically applied to the shipping box by an auto-labeler to complete the shipping process.
The introduction of GP3 has provided Shiseido with the system needed to achieve stable, same-day shipments. Shiseido also worked with Toyo Kanetsu to develop workstations that were easy to use. One feature in particular allows the height of the equipment to be adjusted to the height of operator.
Another key feature of GP3 is its compactness. By adopting Rapid Pass, a feature by which items can be moved across racks inside the system, cumbersome and complex conveyors for sequencing could be eliminated, thereby freeing up space for other purposes. Further efficiencies are available when the GP3 system is using two floors.
This Center is the flagship center that represents the future of Shiseido’s logistics. Since state-of-the-art equipment has been installed, Shiseido plans on continuing to make improvements in efficiency through further automation while improving the processes in line with future technological developments. The first step toward that end will be the introduction of picking robots installed in the space above the multi-shuttle system. New technologies will also be rolled out to other Shiseido warehouse operations. Including GP3, Shiseido plans on developing their best practices for this solution and deploying it globally in addition to sites in Japan.
* Source: Based on an interview conducted August, 2021. Data, organizational departments and personal names appear as they were at time of interview.