Automating the Storage and Retrieval (AS/RS) operations of Wockhardt’s Green Field Warehouse

WockhardThe Client

Wockhardt is a global pharmaceutical and biotechnology organization, providing affordable, high-quality medicines for a healthier world. It is India’s leading research-based global healthcare enterprise with footprints in the fields of Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology and owns a chain of advanced Super Speciality Hospitals.

Wockhardt has 3 research centres and 12 manufacturing plants across India, UK, Ireland, US, and are compliant to international regulatory standards including US FDA and UK MHRA. These plants are multi-technology and manufacture all the dosage forms including sterile products as well as products with lyophilized dosage forms.

Wockhardts’ Green Field Warehouse

Wockhardt’s success in building an international manufacturing footprint has earned it the reputation of a world-class manufacturer. As the demand for contract manufacturing grows, Wockhardt continues to upgrade its world-class facilities and make further investments in new units and processes. The state-of-the-art lyophilization unit at Shendra, Aurangabad in India, is a first of its kind in Asia. The plant is fully automated to provide high-quality injectable products.7000 pallets capacity offering flexibility to store Raw Material / Finished Goods & Packaging material.

Here is a snapshot of Wockhardt’ s Green Field warehouse at Aurangabad:

  • 7000 pallets capacity offering flexibility to store Raw Material/Finished Goods & Packaging material
  • 10 high double deep racking system with 18.5m high building
  • Two curving Storage/Retrieval Machines operational in 4 aisles
  • A throughput of 40 pallets/hour

CHALLENGES

Wockhardt’s existing Warehouse Management System (WMS) was implemented in the year 2013 with 2 operating stacker cranes for performing automated storage & retrieval operations.

Post-implementation, Wockhardt team faced major challenges in automating the stacker cranes the process was not complete. It continued to face the following issues:

  • Wockhardt ERP (SAP) integration with their existing WMS application didn’t materialize
  • No direct/systematic input and output of the materials were passed on to their existing WMS
  • They were manually providing inputs to WMS to process the storage and retrieval requests
  • Stacker cranes were not automated and Wockhardt executed their stacker crane operations manually through handheld joystick

Wockhardt required AS/RS (Automated Storage/Retrieval System) integration that would integrate their WMS to automate the stacker crane operations smoothly, that will remove the manual interventions in maintaining their inventory.

Lack of stacker crane automation and executing the warehouse storage/retrieval operations manually was a mammoth task for Wockhardt’s operations team on a day to day basis.

SIERRA’s Solution

Wockhardt’s quest for identifying an AS/RS integration expert led them to SIERRA. Wockhardt’s need to completely automate their stacker crane operations in their warehouse without any change in the existing hardware systems and without support from their implementation partner was indeed a challenging task.

SIERRA rose to the challenge, with its experience in this domain, successfully figured out the problems, mapped the integration protocols and developed the solution to fully automate their AS/RS system in a record time.

SIERRA implemented it’s WMCentral Warehouse Control System (WCS) to integrate Wockhardt’s stacker cranes with their existing WMS application for automating the storage and retrieval (AS/RS) operations of the warehouse.

The stacker cranes were first made to operate in semi-automated mode from manual mode of operation in the first 3 days and the complete automation was achieved in just 10 days’ time. This is a remarkable achievement by the SIERRA engineers considering the problems that Wockhardt was living with for many years.

The SIERRA WMCentral Warehouse Control System today operates and monitors the conveyers & stacker cranes movements and is integrated to their existing WMS application. The service application offered complete automation of storage and retrieval operation to WMS.

KEY BENEFITS

Wockhardt now has the advantage of the intelligent logics employed in the WCS Service Application while driving the AS/RS to optimize put-away and picking operations.

  • Comprehensive solution with Auto mode, Manual mode, Emergency mode, Reset & Refresh features
  • Full visibility/accuracy of available Inventory
  • Improved picking/delivery accuracy
  • Highly optimized storage & retrieval operations
  • Improved operations throughput

With SIERRA WCS Service Application, the efficiencies driven by the Wockhardt’s WMS application were significant.

  • Storage operation throughput – 40 pallets/hour
  • Retrieval operation throughput – 40 pallets/hour

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