Another Partnership Milestone: Sonepar Commissions KNAPP with New Automation Solution in Germany

Press information: Published on in Industry, Retail, Wholesale

KNAPP and Sonepar are excited to announce the next milestone in their longstanding partnership: an automation solution with the latest shuttle technology, ergonomic goods-to-person work stations and the comprehensive KiSoft software solution by KNAPP. This will automate the handling of small parts for Sonepar at their existing warehouse in Holzwickede near Dortmund and will expand the delivery service for electrical wholesale.

Sonepar is the world’s top seller of electrical devices and components for professionals such as electricians. The business has 2,400 subsidiaries in 40 countries and employs around 45,000 people. “Thanks to the positive experience we have already had with projects implemented in Germany, the new order went to KNAPP,” explains Markus Jahnel, VP for Logistics at Sonepar, Germany.

Innovative, sustainable shuttle solution

Sonepar decided on a comprehensive automation solution by KNAPP. A six-aisle OSR Shuttle Evo supplies eight ergonomic goods-to-person work stations from the Pick-it-Easy series. Fast movers are picked either directly from pallets or from flow racks that are supplied directly from the OSR Shuttle Evo. Orders are picked to reusable containers which are sorted, stacked, photo-documented and labelled according to the outbound delivery routes. Sonepar’s customers return the empty containers to the warehouse where they are prepared and supplied again for picking – fully automatically. This saves on packaging material, making an important contribution to sustainability.

KiSoft software package with simulation tools

The KiSoft warehouse logistics software pairs perfectly with the innovative hardware. One tool is the simulation software KiSoft Sandbox. KiSoft Sandbox can be used to simulate and test all the warehouse processes. “Virtual startup saves time in both the installation and startup phases. It also lets us make software changes more quickly and securely,” explains Heinz Stiglmayr, Key Account Manager at KNAPP, on the benefits of KiSoft Sandbox.

Implementation during on-going operation

One of the particular challenges of the project is the modification of an existing warehouse during on-going operation. In order to integrate the new equipment, parts of it have to be successively dismantled and then re-installed. Implementing a project like this requires a lot of finesse in addition to experience and perfect planning. “Even though we are accustomed to successfully implementing this type of complex project, we value the trust that Sonepar repeatedly shows us.” As their Key Account Manager, Heinz Stiglmayr has been working with the Sonepar Group for many years: “We continuously support Sonepar in optimizing their delivery service and adapting to current demands. We really value working together and always provide the same contact person, not just at the sales stage, but across all the departments. Together, we have already implemented projects in Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden and Canada.