2021-11-24

Box It Up: KION Keeps Packages Moving in the Online Retail Sector

Every autumn, the retail race ramps up as shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit the stores—and online retailers too. With online purchases on the rise, companies need to ensure their orders reach customers quickly and in one piece. And for that they need both customized e-commerce solutions and the right packaging for every delivery. Enter the KION Group brands! They play a vital role in both these areas, and are experts in the requirements of the paper industry.

The boom in online retail has seen an ever-increasing stream of packages arriving in our homes and offices. As early as November, we started hearing regular reports from delivery service providers proclaiming their latest record-breaking delivery figures. By this time last year, Deutsche Post DHL alone had already delivered more than 1.6 billion parcels in Germany—and that's before the Christmas shopping rush had even started. The reason? Big shopping events like Singles Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, all of which help boost sales ahead of the run-up to Christmas. According to Statista, a total of 4.1. billion parcels were dispatched in Germany in 2020, including over the Christmas period. That figure puts Germany fifth in the world rankings. Only the UK, Japan, the US, and China dispatched more parcels in 2020.

Cardboard—the Perfect Choice For Closing the Raw Material Cycle

Billions of deliveries mean billions of items of carefully selected packaging. First and foremost, this packaging needs to protect goods from damage. That goes without saying. But there are other requirements too, some of which are laid down in law. For instance, on July 3, 2021, the German Environment Agency introduced an amendment to the German Packaging Act, which requires online retailers to use recyclable packaging and to prove their packaging can be processed through the German recycling system. One material that has absolutely no trouble complying with this new legislation is corrugated cardboard. Almost 100 percent of delivery packaging made from corrugated cardboard is recycled into new paper products, thereby closing the raw material cycle. Producers of corrugated cardboard rely heavily on highly robust forklifts and reliable intralogistics for their manufacturing and material handling processes. So, it's no wonder the KION brands are so widely used and appreciated in the paper industry.

Keeping the Paper Industry Moving

One such company is Werner Kenkel, Poland's leading producer of corrugated cardboard. Its enormous production plant in Krzycko Wielkie, between Poznań and Wrocław, measures 130 meters in length and processes paper pulp 24 hours a day. Here it rolls, corrugates, and combines the paper layers to produce 345 kilometers of top-quality corrugated cardboard every day, which it then turns into packaging on site. Throughout the process, its material handling operations need to run seamlessly, from the delivery of the raw material on rolls weighing up to 3,500 kilograms, to the loading of the 80 to 130 trucks that leave the site every day. That's why Werner Kenkel employs a fleet of 60 forklifts from KION subsidiary Linde Material Handling.

In the north German town of Lüneburg, the company Lünewell produces more than 150 million square meters of corrugated cardboard every year. It too relies on a fleet of forklifts from the KION family—in this case trucks supplied by STILL GmbH. Every day, delivery lorries arrive at the production hall loaded with around 72 rolls of paper, each of which measures 2.5 m in length and weighs up to 3.8 tonnes. To help it maneuver these unwieldy rolls, Lünewell uses two STILL RX 60-80 electric forklifts, which are specially designed to prevent the batteries from overheating and are fitted with special attachments for clamping the rolls. In total, Lünewell employs a fleet of 30 electric industrial trucks from STILL to help it optimize its material flows.

As demand for corrugated cardboard grows, so too do the companies that produce it. The company Tillmann Wellpappe is a great example: They have been using KION subsidiary Dematic as their intralogistics partner for decades. In fact, the company's pallet warehouse in Sundern-Stockum in north-west Germany was set up by Dematic's predecessor Mannesmann Demag Fördertechnik back in 1990. Over the years, the company has grown and grown. In 2018, Dematic was asked to update the storage and retrieval system in the company's original warehouse and also started work on plans for a second automated warehouse. The new warehouse came online in 2021, boasting 4300 extra pallet storage locations and a fully automated system that makes it even quicker to dispatch all sorts of packaging to customers, from folding boxes to jumbo boxes.

Double Team Effort at the Mondi Group

The Mondi Group is an international packaging and paper business specializing in sustainable design. It relies on forklifts from two KION brands, Linde Material Handling and STILL GmbH, to keep its operations moving. The group produces packaging for a host of different industries, ranging from food to cosmetics, including for the e-commerce sector. Paper is at the heart of all its product designs, since the company is committed to using as little plastic as possible.

Consequently, rolls of paper pulp weighing multiple tonnes need to be maneuvered around its production facilities every day. At its southern German production site in Bad Rappenau, near Heilbronn, the company uses a fleet of forklifts and two narrow aisle trucks from Linde Material Handling to store and retrieve pallets from its 16-meter-high shelving system. And its Austrian branch Mondi Neusiedler GmbH employs 85 STILL industrial trucks across its two sites in Ulmerfeld-Hausmening and Kematen an der Ybbs. These STILL trucks keep the three-shift production operation for Mondi's office and printer paper running smoothly twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Smart Material Handling for Fashion Retailers

The fashion industry is yet another area where smooth processes from warehousing to dispatch are extremely important. Third party logistics providers such as the Toll Group are often involved here. This Australian transport and logistics company works for several large clothing companies in Australia. When Toll wanted to optimize its processes in 2017, it chose to fully automate its distribution center in the west of Sydney by implementing various Dematic systems. Since then the company has been able to pick up to 170,000 items a day at the 32,000 m2 distribution center using the Dematic solution. This is achieved with a Dematic Multishuttle system, 24 RapidPick picking stations, and ten automated guided vehicles. Another part of the fully automated system is a station where the boxes are reduced down to the optimum size for their contents. This not only saves packaging and reduces waste but it also makes space for an additional 30 percent shipping volume in the trucks that collect the parcels. Since its introduction, the combined solution has enabled the logistics expert to significantly speed up order processing for major clothing retailers, as well as making processes more cost effective, and more sustainable. That means fast deliveries and satisfied customers in Australia—and, of course, happy fashion retailers too.

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