Geek+ and Körber partner to improve warehouse operations at Hawesko Group

a Geek Plus AGV moves a shelf through a warehouse to a packout station.
A robot delivers a shelf to a picking station where human associates can fulfill Hawesko customer orders. | Credit: Geek+

The Hawesko Group said it is Germany’s largest trading house for high-quality wines and champagnes. It wanted to add automation to its warehouse in Tornech, Germany. The company ultimately turned to Geekplus Technology Co. and Körber Business Area Supply Chain to add robots to the facility.

Hawesko handles millions of bottles

The Hawesko Group offers wines, champagne, sparkling wines, liqueurs, gourmet cuisine, wine glasses, and wine-related books. It employs about 1,200 people across its retail (Jacques’ and Wein & Co.), business-to-business or B2B (especially Wein Wolf, Abayan, and Grand Cru Select), and e-commerce (especially HAWESKO, Vinos, and WirWinzer) segments.

Hawesko sources wine from wine-making regions around the world. The group mainly distributes its goods via wholesale shops across Germany, catalogs, the Internet, and Jacques’s Wein-Depot retail wine stores.

In Tornesch, in-house logistics service provider IWL handles around 20 million bottles and 600,000 gift packages each year. It had online sales of €220 million ($237 million U.S.) in 2023.

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Geek+, Körber add AMRs to the mix

Mobile robot provider Geek+ collaborated with Körber Supply Chain to deploy 21 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) at Hawesko’s warehouse. These robots will automate order-fulfillment processes across 330 shelves in the newly expanded 6,000-sq.-m (64,583-sq.-ft.) facility.

Geek+ goods-to-person (G2P) systems recently surpassed 5 million picks with its global fleet. The Beijing-based company said the breadth of this experience has helped it continue to optimize and improve its G2P product line. Geek+ was also a 2024 RBR50 innovation award winner for its PopPick solution for order fulfillment.

“Geek+ is proud to continue our longstanding partnership with Körber, which has now grown to more than 3,000 robots deployed in 11 countries,” said Simon Houghton, director of sales for the U.K. and Ireland plus Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) at Geek+.

“We work together to create unique solutions for customers like the Hawesko Group, helping them solve the challenges they currently face while enabling them to easily scale up their level of automation to meet future demands,” he added.

IWL handles millions of bottles for Hawesko Group in Tornesch, Germany.
IWL handles millions of bottles for Hawesko Group in Tornesch, Germany. Source: Geek+

Hawesko sees results

Through the integrated interaction of modern software and automation, the Hawesko Group reported that it has increased warehouse performance by 50%.

Behind the scenes, all operational warehouse processes converge on Körber‘s digital logistics platform. The warehouse management system (WMS) acts as an operational hub, while the subdivided unified control system (UCS) optimizes the control of the automation portfolio and creates extended communication interfaces to the robotics application.

Because of this, pick performance in the expanded area has more than doubled, said the partners.

“Given the growth in online retail, the importance of efficient processes to support e-commerce fulfillment has increased significantly. High-performing and resource-efficient solutions are required to address increasing customer demands and seasonal fluctuations,” said Michael Brandl, executive vice president for software in EMEA at Körber Business Area Supply Chain. “The new solution accomplished this for the Hawesko Group through an integrated combination of WMS, AMR technology, and UCS.”

Mobile order-fulfillment robots have consistently proven themselves in the logistics services segment. Geek+ said that companies can use its G2P systems to improve storage space utilization by up to 30%. With robots as a service (RaaS), additional robots can be integrated without any interruption to operations, it said.

“Compared to the use of conventional automation solutions, the expansion in Tornesch proved to be the most economically effective solution, creating not only additional storage capacity but also the necessary freedom for future expansion,” explained Frederick Paulsen, project manager of information logistics at IWL. “Capacities for up to 100 additional racks, which corresponds to approximately 40,000 additional article items, are possible in the future in the existing space.”

Written by

Automated Warehouse Staff