Distribution Center Lighthouse Automation Design & Supplier Competition

Case Study: Consumer Goods

A large multinational beverage and brewing company partnered with Miebach to automate the logistics of their raw materials, brewery packaging operations, finished goods handling and storage, and outbound shipping at one of their breweries located in the Southeastern U.S. The client realized the need for automation to support future business growth and to increase the amount of inventory that could be stored on-site. In addition, this facility was to serve as an automation lighthouse for all other breweries in the network to follow to remain a best-in-class industry leader.

Miebach developed the design requirements using historical data and 10-year growth projections for the brewery to build a fully automated baseline solution, business case, and an RFP package. To determine the best solution for the client, Miebach facilitated a competition using the RFP package to obtain automation proposals from 6 suppliers. Miebach completed a full quantitative & qualitative evaluation of the 6 supplier proposals and provided a recommendation on the best solution for the client’s business.

Automation Solution Design

The design for the planned automation solution that Miebach had developed included ASRS as well as AGVs. The ASRS was positioned in an area of the facility with proximity to the dock doors, in addition to being in an area that has potential for expansion if future needs require it. The area will have more than 7,000 pallet locations and be utilized for slow- and medium-moving inventory. Stacker cranes capable of handling double loads will enable a throughput of over 100 pallets in/out per hour. 

The AGV solution will require 2 types of AGVs, one for raw materials and another for finished goods, however the solution needs to be flexible across the two functions so that they can be utilized as needed during peak periods. The 35 AGVs required will need to handle pick-up and drop-off to and from floor storage locations, trailers, racks, and conveyors. 

RFP and Supplier Competition

Miebach developed the RFP design requirements and documentation. Six suppliers were invited to participate with proposals for the solution considering a 10-year planning horizon including contractual requirements for safety, testing, and commissioning. Each supplier delivered a formal proposal and presentation for their unique overall solution, which were all evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively by Miebach for the client. 

The proposals were compared based on the cost of MHE, building construction, maintenance and spare parts, software and licensing, project fees, payment terms, and KPIs. They were also rated based on offer quality, requirements met, overall solution design, service and implementation abilities, vendor reputation, and references. 

Miebach provided the client with the final recommendation for the ideal supplier based on these evaluations, and supplied guidance on contractual terms for the selected supplier.