Company: A Leading E-Commerce Retailer
Industry: Repeat Equipment Manufacturing (REM)
Region: North America and EU
- Current supplier was struggling to scale.
- Wanted to expand across their global fulfilment centers.
- Needed to reduce their packaging machinery defect rate.
ATS Industrial Automation:
- Solved packaging error issues with version one machines and implemented design changes for version two machines.
- Scaled and managed logistics of machine deliveries to global fulfilment centers.
- Customized training to allow on-site personnel to service and support equipment.
The e-commerce retailer:
- Delivered hundreds of systems in 6 months.
- Reduced packaging defects caused by human errors.
- Reduced life-cycle cost of ownership.
Scale, Grow, Profit
When a major e-commerce retailer was looking to finalize their prototype packaging machine and deploy these machines into production scale across their global fulfillment centers, they turned to ATS Industrial Automation, the leaders in factory automation systems and deployment.
The original prototype machine had many positive merits, and with an ever-growing customer demand, the operations team eagerly awaited its production debut. Like many prototypes, a significant amount of work was needed to achieve production certification. An original pilot release with the local partner was a small win but also showed the limitations of the partner to reduce time to market; the partner was unable to simultaneously manage the varied and needed elements of a new production introduction.
These needed elements included managing concurrent design changes to address machine defects and safety, reducing production costs, and interfacing with regulatory requirements to achieve UL and CE designations – all while supporting an early adopter network that needed 24/7 remote support, spare parts and other support programs that did not originally exist.
It was evident the retailer needed a partner with more capacity and capability to match their global ambitions. The retailer turned to ATS Industrial Automation to help industrialize the machine design and scale production.
ATS Industrial Automation: Not a Traditional Contract Manufacturer
From the beginning, it was clear that ATS Industrial Automation was not a traditional contract manufacturer. As a leading full-service automation integrator, ATS designs and develops customized, value-add, turnkey solutions. With more than 24,000 factory system installations worldwide, the ATS team has an in-depth understanding of Repeat Equipment Manufacturing (REM), and helps customers improve design, processes, and procedures, ensuring consistent product delivery.
ATS Industrial Automation’s value analysis process brings its engineering, design, manufacturing, supply chain, and service expertise. Combined with global service and support from the best team, it’s clear to see why ATS is more than a traditional contract manufacturer.
“ATS Industrial Automation is more than a traditional contract manufacturer. Our deep expertise in automated tools, assembly and test solutions enables us to provide global manufacturing for both custom or repeat solutions, as well as value engineering, cost containment, training, and device servicing to our customers,” – Udo Panenka, President, ATS Industrial Automation.
ATS Industrial Automation goes beyond traditional manufacturing and fuses leading industry knowledge, proven processes, and design, with automation services. The ATS team evaluated the machinery’s design, taking into consideration parts handling, manipulation, and assembly.
Reduced Automated Packaging Defect Rate
The original machine design had a high packaging defect rate. The automated process failed to consistently seal packages, with labels often being misaligned. To reduce these defects, ATS introduced an improved alignment, using an off the shelf third-party product used on past projects.
Starting in 2018, ATS Industrial Automation manufactured machines with these new components that resolved defects. ATS applied principals of continuous improvement to further robustify the product as it went into production.
In 2019, a new design was introduced which optimized servicing and manufacturing of the packaging machinery. This new design included a new automated vision system for bar code scanning that simplified machine manufacturing, increased first pass yield, and eliminated most packaging defects. The improved machines perform better and use Automated Vision Inspection – objective quality control (QC) – to inspect line packages for errors. This Automated Vision Inspection eliminated the need for some operators, increased accuracy, efficiency, and streamlined Production Processes. In addition, the new machines are also CE and German TUV compliant and cost less to manufacture.
These performance improvements let the retailer quickly and properly seal and label products, achieve a labor savings, reduce machine life-cycle cost of ownership (LCC), and ultimately save working capital.
Scaled and Deployed Automated Packaging Machines
ATS Industrial Automation scaled machine deliveries in two waves. In 2018, ATS scaled production and delivered hundreds of the ATS-improved version one machines to the retailer’s global fulfilment centers. In 2019, ATS increased machine deployment of newly designed version two machines to other global centers, and handled all logistics coordination, freight, customs, and importation/exportation requirements.
In addition to scaling, the retailer saved on service and support. By partnering with ATS for turnkey solutions and customized on-site training, the retailer benefited from ATS’s existing network and infrastructure, avoided a costly and fragmented third-party piecemeal approach, and minimized lost time to market.
ATS Industrial Automation’s service and training support solution helped the retailer’s team quickly get up to speed, and members gained the expertise needed to perform machine maintenance, saving on total cost of ownership (TCO).
The ATS team increased year-over-year, on-time, large-volume machine deliveries to five countries and kept pace with global milestone targets, meeting the customer’s time frame.
The e-commerce retailer wanted to scale packaging machinery across its global fulfilment centers, reduce automated machine packaging errors, and achieve a large global footprint.
ATS Industrial Automation’s global presence let it turn on the needed facilities to help the retailer scale. The ATS team improved manufacturing quality and consistency, and finished the machine design for the retailer, while driving down cost. By handling all aspects of the project, including full post-deployment support, ATS provided a complete solution to the retailer’s needs.
This retailer now uses innovative and reliable equipment strategies to confidently run packaging operations with low error rates that satisfy demand in their respective regions.
Steven Mounnarat, Global Sales Manager at ATS, reflected upon the customer experience and ATS’s ability to deliver customized automation solutions, “Customers need a company that understands their challenges and can execute targeted solutions across the project space. ATS has proven success in all projects aspects, and we help customers scale.”
ATS Industrial Automation is a global integration leader with experience solving customer unique challenges. ATS deploys targeted automation to control, and measure complex processes, giving customers predictability. With expertise in all steps of repeat equipment manufacturing, ATS Industrial Automation is the ideal partner to help customers solve challenges and succeed.