Crossborder E-commerce Fulfillment
Active Ants is an international multi-client, Multi-Warehouse, E-commerce Fulfilment solution. We handle the complete logistic process (Storage, Pick&Pack, Sorting to last-mile carrier, Returns and Data Reports) for multiple online B2C stores from multiple fulfilment centers. As of today, we have a total of 5 E-fulfilment centers, located in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom.
First, we receive and store products in our AutoStore system. This system allows us to store products 6 times more efficiently than a traditional warehouse, because the products are stored in bins that are stacked on top of, and around each other. The products are processed in our self-made WMS-system that gives a clear overview of stock, sales, orders and all other things our clients need to know about their business.
Once an order comes in, the robots that drive on the grid on top of the AutoStore start to collect the bins that contain the ordered products and bring those bins to the operators in our picking-ports. Our operator picks the products out of the bin and puts them in a pre-selected box, which is brought and presented to them by another robot (AMR-robot).
After the order is picked, the robots brings the filled box to our automated packing machines. These machines cut and fold the excess carton of the box precisely around the products, without the need of filling material. The box gets closed off by a lid, that can be printed in full-colour, completely to the liking of our clients. Once the box is sealed with the lid, it gets sorted by the AMR-robot to the right carrier and the order is ready for transport.
Our Multi-Warehouse E-fulfilment process is almost completely automated by the use of robots and machines. By implementing the different robots and machines into our process, we've not only made a more efficient and sustainable process, but also a more humane one.
All the heavy tasks like:
that you will find in a traditional warehouse or fulfilment solution, are all being done by machines and robots in our warehouse. Doing this, we've given our employees the opportunity to develop themselves in other, more interesting jobs like robots maintenance.
By measuring every product with 3D-cameras, our system knows precisely what the smallest box is an order can be packed in. Therefore we never ship products in an oversized box and we don't need filling materials. This saves the materials, of course, but also space in transport vehicles and increases customer experience.
Next to that, the custom printing on the lid of the box gives webshops tons of opportunities to personalize their packaging, as well as increase customer experience. They're now able to have a specific print for specific types of customers. This way, they can integrate a sale coupon into the design for first time customers, for instance. Or a special design for customers from a specific country.
Last, but not least, the possibility to store and ship products from multiple warehouses, gives webshops the opportunity to reach customers the cheapest and fastest way possible. Special algorithms are in place to calculate from which warehouse certain orders should be sent. This also works for returns. Did you sent a package from the Netherlands to Germany and the customer wants to return it? They can do so to the Fulfilment center in Germany. This, again, saves time, money and reduces the overal footprint.
'Go-live' of our Multi-Warehouse solution. A single webshop can now sent orders from different E-fulfilment centers in different countries. Our software calculates from which fulfilment center the order should be sent, with the shortest leadtime and lowest cost. Customers can also choose where they want to sent their returns. If the product comes from a center in the Netherlands, it doesn't have to be sent back to the Netherlands. It can also be sent to one of our centers in Germany, Belgium, or the UK.
The implementation of AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robots) robots into our E-fulfilment process. These robots replace the traditional conveyorbelt in the warehouse which saves a lot of space and hard labor for our employees because they transport the orders through every part of the operation (Pick, Pack & Sorting).
The combined use of 3D-cameras, 'tetris-software' and box erectors. All products are 3D measured so we know the exact dimensions of every product. When an order with multiple products comes in, our software makes sure that the products fit in the smallest box possible. This way, products never get packed in an oversized box which saves materials, excludes the use of filling materials and saves space in transport vehicles.
Customized printing on box. Our automated packing machines close the packaging boxes with a lid. This lid can be customized and tailored to the liking of the webshop and on a customer level. This way they don't need to purchase and store their own branded packaging, which saves a lot of costs. It can also be designed on a customer level. Which means that webshops can make different designs, based on the customer that orders. Which, in turn, helps with customer experience and retention.
From Imby PetFood: “Active Ants set itself apart from the other candidates due to some unique solutions, such as simple software integration with language recognition for orders, no-air packaging tailored to the product and affordable, flexible custom printing on boxes to improve brand recognition.
The presence of Active Ants in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK means we can accelerate our international growth without having to search for a new local partner.”
From WeightWatchers Benelux: Offering fast delivery and higher service levels, combined with a larger product range, had been on Annette's agenda for some time. Therefore, the fact that Active Ants works with automatic packing machines, allowing the shipping packaging to be designed according to your own taste, is a big plus. "Usually we choose a box with our logo, but I also like to do something different during holidays or promotions. That can now be changed quickly."
From STOX Energy Socks: "But we have ambitions and we want to become market leader in Europe as well as in the Netherlands. The key then is to have your logistics in order and to be able to deliver to all countries. And Active Ants can do that. They meet our ambitions. They can facilitate our expansion in Europe. We are very satisfied with the way things are going now.
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