DSV building 20 automated fulfillment facilities

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by Emily Atkins

DSV is building 20 automated fulfillment centres across Europe, North America, and the Asia Pacific region.

These large, multi-user facilities will make it possible for even small companies to adopt automated fulfillment. For many companies – especially small and medium-sized – optimizing the warehousing setup to cope with the surge in e-commerce demand is a challenge. Companies both need the efficiency of automated processes as well as the flexibility to manage fluctuations in demand. At the same time, warehouses must be strategically located close to the end-user to secure swift distribution to the nearby areas.

The multimillion EUR investment in DSV Fulfilment Factories will be rolled out in several phases. Four of the twenty automated warehouses are already in operation, while an additional six are underway. The company wants the remainder to be completed in the next few years.

The twenty facilities will be placed close to regional logistics hubs on several continents. They are all connected on a ‘string’, which means that one company can have stock placed in multiple warehouses across regions or continents while at the same time having one stock overview.

Toronto to host

Toronto will be home to one of the centres, although the timeline for its development remains unclear. According to Rob Chanona, DSV Canada’s managing director, solutions, the company has completely filled its Milton DC and is “currently out of capacity. I’m actively engaged in building additional capacity in the GTA and that will then be able to address the vision of DSV’s Fulfillment Factory,” he said. “The timeline for Toronto is therefore fluid at the moment.”

DSV’s Fulfilment Factories will act as regional hubs as close to the end user as possible. DSV will manage order fulfillment and will scale up or down according to the demand.

The already operational DCs are in Kolding, Denmark; Oslo, Norway; Helsinki, Finland; and Venlo, the Netherlands. in addition to Toronto, new ones are scheduled for the United Kingdom; Germany; Spain; Copenhagen, Denmark; and, Sweden.

The DCs will use AutoStore ASRS technology with goods-to-person automated workstations. This enables DSV to accommodate the surge in, for instance, e-commerce demand by allowing the skilled warehouse employees to work more effectively than before.

The interconnectivity across facilities brings flexibility into the picking, packaging, and delivery processes, as the system will automatically choose the product at the warehouse closest to the delivery point for swift delivery.

“With DSV Fulfilment Factory companies do not need to be a multinational to get automated, competitive and efficient warehousing. We know there is a significant gap in the market for automated warehousing solutions for companies without enormous volumes because, usually, these solutions, such as AutoStore, are only accessible as a single-user solution for companies with a certain scale,” explains Ronald Poort, executive vice-president, DSV.