Swisslog wins major deal to automate Almarai’s distribution logistics operations in Al Kharj

With the goal of delivering the maximum storage capacities, picking accuracy and throughput in the most efficient way possible, Saudi Arabian food producer Almarai recently commissioned Swisslog to automate its distribution logistics for its operations in Al Kharj.

The project will begin in the second quarter of this year and run through 2018. It includes five phases covering the four production sites and the connected consolidation facility in Al Kharj.

“The deal itself is quite significant -- value of the order is approximately 43 million Euros and will cover five phases over the next three years,” Daniel Hauser, head of Central Europe and Middle East for Swisslog Warehouse & Distribution Solutions, recently told Gulf News Journal. “It includes cranes, conveyors, monorail systems, automated truck loading and automated picking modules for the automation of Almarai’s distribution logistics operations in Al Kharj.”

By teaming up with the company, Almarai, the world’s largest vertically integrated dairy company, is looking to boost its overall efficiency and capabilities, particularly in the demanding temperature-controlled sector. As a purveyor of perishable goods, the company realizes the tracking of product movements is vital, as is on-time delivery in a cost-efficient manner.

To control all goods movements for Almarai, Swisslog also will install warehouse management software based on the EWM warehouse management module from SAP, which provide superb levels of control, flexibility and responsiveness.

Swisslog's management team is optimistic about the logistics market in the region despite the economic uncertainty following the fall of oil prices, as there is great transition toward more automation, despite these recent challenges.

 “There are plenty of companies that are well placed to take advantage of the latest technological developments,” Hauser said. “The intralogistics operations in the Middle East are clearly on the threshold of change and adaptation. Increasing land price is also favoring warehousing automation, so the future does indeed look interesting.”

In addition to providing automation to warehouses and distribution centers, Swisslog also serves the health care industry. 

 “We’re also optimistic about talks with Almarai and other companies for further projects,” Hauser said. “We are delighted to be in the process of expanding our Dubai office, and to see a lot of interest in our offering and intralogistics solutions. It’s also a major opportunity for those considering automation in the region to see exactly what the technology is now capable of. To that end, we’re very excited about the attention already received and the interest from local companies.”

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