In conversation with Sven Waldhaus, Director Mobile Subsidiary KNAPP AG.

“A further great trend is, that automation is moving closer to the customer now. The MFC and new urban logistics solutions enable brick & mortar stores to ease the challenges of last mile delivery and compete with major ecom companies.”

What are your best-known solutions/products/services?

KNAPP provides intelligent automation solutions, including software, for the entire value creation chain – from production and distribution to the point of sale. We are famous for our fully automatic pharma and cosmetics picking robots and we are benchmark in Shuttle systems for Ecom warehouses and MFC automation.

Which industry sectors are your customers in, and which ones are growing fastest?

Our core areas are pharma & cosmetics, food & fashion, for e-commerce and omnichannel solutions as well as production. We are an important partner in industry and deliver off-the-shelf solutions (e.g. for pharma and MFCs) as well as individual automation solutions for big DCs and Ecom operations, which are attuned to the specific logistical requirements and growth targets.

What are your most recent product innovations?

One of the greatest innovations is the new generation of our shuttle systems – the OSR Shuttle Evo. In addition, solutions that combine our shuttle system with autonomous, free-moving robots – we call them Open Shuttles. KiSoft, our intelligent software that connects all systems in the warehouse, plays a decisive role here.

What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?

Due to the economic situation and the rapidly changing business models, there is a major trend towards greater flexibility. With our range of solutions, our customers have the greatest possible flexibility in order to be able to adapt to future conditions.

The major move into ecom brings new requirements on speed and processes into the warehouses. Flexibility is key and systems have to adapt to new requirements and have to be easily expandable.

A further great trend is, that automation is moving closer to the customer now. The MFC and new urban logistics solutions enable brick & mortar stores to ease the challenges of last mile delivery and compete with major ecom companies.

How does business in 2020 compared to previous years? What’s your strategy for succeeding in the current climate?

Thanks to the agility and international orientation of the organization, we have come through 2020 in an excellent way.

The ecom business has been accelerated due to Covid 5-6 years, which leads to huge investments into automation to be able to handle the increasing volumes and the required short lead times (same day). If you want to grow now, there is only one way, focus on e-com. Connected to this is the breakthrough of MFCs in 2020. We are currently going live with MFCs across the globe and order books are permanently loaded with new sites.

“The major move into ecom brings new requirements on speed and processes into the warehouses. Flexibility is key and systems have to adapt to new requirements and have to be easily expandable..”

Can you tell us about any of recent customer contracts and how you helped the customer meet their challenges?

In Pharma we have recently gone live with our benchmark “all-in-shuttle evo” last month in Greece and the next one will follow up soon in Saudi Arabia. It fulfills all the requirements of serialization and trackability with our inhouse SAP EWM. In South Korea we went live with a fully automated production line supply system for the high quality cosmetics production of AMORE PACIFIC.

Last year we have also helped the Korean Retailer ASUNG DAISO with a brand automated DC to replenish their stores faster. They operate more than 1,000 shops and can replenish them now much more often by doubling their efficiency with our KNAPP technology.

“The most interesting news for sure is everything around our new pick-it-easy-robots, who can pick out of boxes and our intelligent software, which is connecting the real world with the processes in the warehouse….”

What’s the latest news from your company?

The most interesting news for sure is everything around our new pick-it-easy-robots, who can pick out of boxes and our intelligent software, which is connecting the real world with the processes in the warehouse. The software is furthermore permanently optimizing and adapting to a changing demand and providing data for decision making to the management of our customers in real time, everywhere and any time. Please read more about latest news and COVID-19 related innovations in our blog and on our website.

Can you tell us about any areas where you’re currently making technical advances?

AI in connection with VISION technology and machine learning is for sure the most interesting technology and the possibilities for automation use are amazing. E.g. our robots are learning to see and pick from the data, which is collected form our world wide installations in the cloud. This is giving the robots a steep learning curve and customers around the globe are getting the benefits of this cloud-based innovation.

With our innovations in the field of data-driven logistics and our flexible shuttle systems, we are well positioned for future challenges in our target industries.

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