Ocado - is a ground breaking online grocery shopping service which serves customers within London from a highly automated fulfilment centre.
the brief - we were retained by the automated equipment supplier, Thyssen, to validate and optimise the design of the entire facilities, operations and process by simulation before construction began.
the approach - the Customer Fulfilment Centre (CFC) services orders for groceries made via the internet for home delivery. Orders are assembled into Batches and Picked To Batch by operators working on 3 levels and 13 different aisles. The items picked are then transported, via a monorail system, to a number of Workstations where they are Picked To Order. The orders are then assembled into delivery modules to be loaded onto vehicles for delivery to customers' homes. The aim is for the CFC to be able to fulfil a peak daily throughput in excess of 30,000 customer orders requiring over 1,5 million individual items.
We used our own unique simulation software to prove throughput objectives and optimise performance. The simulation model, which included variable parameters, performed a series of statistical feasibility analysis runs, to prove that throughput objectives would be achievable. A series of "what ifs" developed and optimised the design. This was supported by dynamic graphical representation and statistical analysis.
the result - various problems with the initial design were resolved and the system optimised to provide throughput in excess of the original requirement. Gist have been contracted to operate the entire fulfilment operation and this is now serving customers.
Building 243, University Campus, Cranfield, Bedford, MK43 0AL, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1234 750323 Fax: +44 (0) 1234 241431