Logistics Automation in Latin America: Trends, Projects and Insights

Published on in Company, Interview, Locations, Logistics of the future, Omnichannel, Onlinehandel, Retail, Technology, Trends
6 minutes reading time

Logistics automation plays an essential role in the success of any organization. On the thriving Latin American market, the demand for digitalization, automation and robotization is growing fast. In this blog post, our solution and market experts Marcio Schilling and Rodrigo Santoro shed some light on the latest automation technologies and how they are implemented for customers in Latin America.

The need for intelligent digitalization and automation in logistics is growing worldwide. What’s the trend in Latin America?

Marcio Schilling

We are also observing that the need for logistics automation technologies is increasing in some Latin American countries, mainly in Brazil, Chile, Peru and Mexico. Over the past few years, we‘ve developed various solutions not only for new customers but also for long-standing customers who have invested in a higher degree of automation. The main reasons why our customers turn to robotization and automation is that they want to streamline their processes, increase their performance and provide a higher service level for their customers, for example with faster delivery times for e-commerce orders.

What makes an automated solution successful?

Rodrigo Santoro

Every customer faces different challenges in their business and supply chain. They also have different goals, such as improving their processes, becoming more agile and proactive or optimizing quality. In my opinion, an automated solution is successful when it helps the customer overcome their individual challenges and ensures in the success of their business. Here at KNAPP, our mission is to support our customers on this journey. First, together with the customer, we thoroughly analyze their business and requirements to get a feel for their processes. Next, we design the processes and automated solution. Then, the system is installed and ramped up. Since our services go beyond installation, we also help with maintenance, provide on-going optimization, as well as expansions and retrofits.

How do companies benefit from a partnership with KNAPP?

Marcio Schilling

It’s our general approach to automation projects. We do not offer “off-the-shelf” automation but take the time to tailor the solution to the needs of the customer. This might take a little longer in the design phase, but this approach is more successful in the long run – we’re talking about automated systems with a life cycle of 10–15 years or more. KNAPP has almost 70 years of experience in the field of automation and has carried out around 3,000 installations worldwide. In addition, we are very proud that innovation is deeply rooted in our company’s DNA, so we can provide the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence, to meet our customers’ requirements.

 

Rodrigo Santoro

What is also worth noting is that KNAPP also has a long history here in Latin America. Our Latin American headquarters in Brazil was founded in 1997. It is very important for us to be close to our customers and their needs.

We are bringing state-of-art technology to fashion retail. All the big players are investing in technology and are opting for us as a partner for their installations. For our customers, it’s a race for excellence and to wow their customers. We are here to assist them.

Marcio_Schilling
Marcio Schilling
Sales & Business Director KNAPP South America

Can you give us some examples of your automated solutions and how they meet customers’ requirements?

Marcio Schilling

The healthcare sector is all about quality with patient safety a top priority. This sector is also very fast-paced, for example pharmacies receive deliveries several times a day – or in urban areas, medicines need to be available within 30 minutes. This is where KNAPP’s zero defect philosophy comes into play to ensure highest quality and efficiency. For fast-movers, Central Belt Systems with A-frames can be used to prepare a large number of orders in next to no time. Manual order picking is supported by our ergonomic Pick-it-Easy goods-to-person work stations. Intelligent user interfaces, light curtains and scales support the warehouse workers and ensure high quality. Also, goods-to-person picking means less physical strain for the warehouse workers and a higher picking performance. Of course, space-efficient and safe storage is also important: Our automated storage system OSR Shuttle™ Evo is the heart of efficient fulfillment processes. Goods are stored and retrieved from the system automatically and transferred to the picking stations. Orders can also be buffered in the system and other warehouse areas, such as the automatic A-frames, can be easily replenished using the shuttle system. All of these processes need to be controlled and monitored, which is taken care of by our logistics software KiSoft.

 

Rodrigo Santoro

Another example is the fashion industry. This is an emerging sector in Brazil, and we are very proud and happy that major brands including Lojas Renner, have been investing heavily in our automated solutions in order to improve the separation time, increase precision and productivity. Our core technologies, such as the central storage system OSR Shuttle™ Evo, Pick-it-Easy work stations or KiSoft software serve our customers in the fashion industry perfectly. For handling goods on hangers efficiently, our portfolio not only offers overhead conveyor systems but also pocket sorter solutions which handle flat-packed goods together with hanging goods.

We are bringing state-of-art technology to fashion retail. All the big players are investing in technology and are opting for us as a partner for their installations. For our customers, it’s a race for excellence and to wow their customers. We are here to assist them.

Rodrigo Santoro
Rodrigo Santoro
Business Unit Development Director KNAPP South America

What are the new trends in logistics in Latin America?

Marcio Schilling

Like everywhere in the world, e-commerce is a growing trend in South America. In 2020, for example, the e-commerce sector in Brazil grew by almost 74 percent. Amongst the services that online shoppers appreciated the most were fast delivery times, convenient delivery and returns options and value-added. State-of the-art automation technologies as well as digitalization and data transparency are the key to ensuring customer satisfaction and profitability for businesses. Analytics tools, such as our KiSoft Analytics, or resource planning tools, such as redPILOT, help online retailers stay on top of things during peak times.

Rodrigo Santoro

One major trend that we see in the food retail sector especially is micro fulfillment. In Latin America, there are large urban areas that grow quickly, resulting in increasing demand for fresh, healthy and local food. Micro Fulfillment Centers (MFC) are an efficient solution to fulfill these needs. A Micro Fulfillment Center is a miniature warehouse that is integrated in a supermarket. Online orders can be prepared there, picked up by the customers or delivered to their homes. In addition, the MFC replenishes the store, ensuring that the shelves are always filled.

Marcio Schilling

A big driver for micro fulfillment is delivery time. The increase in demand paired with the need for swift order processing requires a solution that offers fast delivery in less than an hour or even 30 minutes. We therefore focus on developing intelligent and integrated solutions with high return on investment (ROI), on solutions that are modular and simple and do not compromise capacities. The Micro Fulfillment Center incorporates all this. We have already developed and installed an urban solution of this kind for our customer Drogaria Onofre. The solution has helped shorten the delivery time to 30 minutes to scale e-commerce business at the heart of São Paulo.

Rodrigo Santoro

Another trend is towards self-sufficient stores. This idea of fully automated 24/7 stores installed at strategic points is not very common yet, but we see that the market is heading into this direction. In our role as innovators and partners for our customers, we already have a solution for store automation at hand, our RetailCX store, which has already been implemented at several European locations. This technology can also be used for nano fulfillment or to increase the customer experience in stores.

Thank you for these interesting insights into the automation and logistics sector in Latin America.

It’s clear that we are living in exciting times and that exciting times lie ahead. If you want to learn more about our automation solutions or automation projects in Latin America, feel free to reach out at  sales.br@knapp.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

6 minutes reading time
Patricia Pimenta
Marketing, KNAPP Sudamérica
Patricia has a keen interest in technologies and automation solutions that optimize warehouse efficiency. With her finger on the pulse, she is always informed about the latest trends in logistics across all sectors, involving software, robotics, and artificial intelligence with a special focus on sustainable solutions.

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Additional Information

Lojas Renner banks on KNAPP partnership

Lojas Renner is a South American fashion retailer with department stores and an online shop. In order to optimize and streamline their order fulfillment, Renner opted for an automated solution by KNAPP. The new distribution hub will be one of the largest automation projects in the South American fashion and apparel sector/the South American fashion and apparel sector has ever seen.

The solution comprises of the following main technologies:

Fashion retailer Lojas Renner invests in an online omnichannel fulfillment center. With cutting-edge automation technology, in the future, shipments to stores and deliveries to consumers will be handled in one warehouse. The new state of the art distribution center is one of the largest in Latin America.

Logistikautomatisierung in Lateinamerika, Distributionszentrum Lojas Renner, Südamerika, Brasilien, von oben
Logistics automation in Latin America: With their new highly automated distribution center, Lojas Renner can implement omnichannel fulfillment using the same technologies to process both online orders for customers and orders for delivery to stores.