News Column

WITRON: Successful in Terms of Projects, Innovation, and Growth

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ThumbnailNew construction: The production area for conveyor system elements will triple by the summer. (Image: Photo: Manuel Schlueter Photography)ThumbnailCompany founder Walter Winkler: 'Holistic E-Commerce and Multi-Channel solutions will become the focal point of interest in the future.' (Image: Photo: WITRON)ThumbnailCEO Helmut Prieschenk: 'Revenue increased by 20% from 2011 to 2012.' (Image: Photo: WITRON)ThumbnailMulti-functional: Thanks to patented technology, the new WITRON shipping buffer is able to transport pallets, roll containers, and insulated containers at the same time. (Image: Photo: WITRON)ThumbnailAnniversary: With more than 500 COM machines sold, WITRON's OPM system for fully automated case picking is a worldwide success. (Image: Photo: WITRON)Tracker

PARKSTEIN, GERMANY -- (Marketwired) -- 05/07/13 -- Consistently positive news from Bavaria -- WITRON increased sales to 240 million Euros in 2012, a level that is significantly higher than in 2010. "The percentage increase in sales was 20% compared from 2011 to 2012", says WITRON's CEO, Helmut Prieschenk, in the course of this year's press conference held at the headquarters in Parkstein. "For 2013, we also expect an increase in the double-digit range, so we can look very positively into the future. Our motivation is to provide our customers in every project a solution with maximum cost-efficiency and effectiveness. Therefore, we do not sit back and relax, but keep on working hard and consistently."

The fact that WITRON opts for the right technology in the area of automated tote and pallet picking is illustrated by the number of awarded projects.

A recent example is the awarded project for Finnish customer INEX Partners Oy. This order represents the largest single project in the history of both WITRON and INEX. When complete, it will be one of the largest food retail logistics centers in the world. The 1,528,475 square foot logistics center in Sipoo will supply some 40% of all Finnish people with food from the dry goods assortment, the perishable area, as well as frozen goods. On a peak day, WITRON's modules OPM, DPS, ACS, and CPS will pick over 1.4 million units store-friendly onto pallets or roll containers.

Scandinavia has become a very attractive market for WITRON in recent years based on their intense focus on ergonomic work processes.

State-of-the-art E-Commerce logistics center currently in the ramp-up phase
WITRON continues to be successful in its core markets of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and North America. "We are also expecting interesting new projects in Russia and Singapore in the near future", according to Prieschenk. "For us, there is always the question: Are we going to support an existing customer with his internationalization strategy, or will we engage ourselves independently in the market by establishing a new subsidiary?" In this case, it is all about reasonably evaluating the opportunities, risks, and existing resources. WITRON is also particularly proud of bringing a new customer from France on board this year. E. Leclerc, a market-leading French food retailer, awarded WITRON two projects in a very short time. "It took us ten years to convince the French logistics market of automated solutions "made in Germany. And now we have succeeded", according to Helmut Prieschenk.

"Our goal is to cover the entire value added supply chain with complete logistics solutions. Regardless of whether that supply chain falls within food retail, spare parts, drugstore, cosmetics, or pharmaceutical sectors", said Walter Winkler, founder and owner of WITRON. "As general contractor, we offer systems with high optimization potential for all industry sectors -- through to the complete system operation." And E-Commerce will become a greater focus in the future. For example, WITRON is currently in the ramp-up phase of an ultra-modern E-Commerce logistics center for the online retailer ATP, Auto-Teile-Poellath Handels GmbH, in Pressath (Germany). New Multi-Channel solutions are currently being developed based on concrete customer demands.

WITRON subsidiary FAS triples production area
WITRON's strategic decision to buy FAS (Foerderanlagen Systeme GmbH) some years ago for the in-house production of mechanical components has paid off.

"This is the only way to ensure our ambition in terms of speed of innovation, quality, and availability for a system used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week", explains Walter Winkler. "The fact that our customers rely on this high quality is demonstrated by the constantly increasing demand of WITRON solutions worldwide".

WITRON is currently realizing a new production plant which will triple the FAS production area to a total of 516,666 square feet starting in summer 2013. FAS' revenue tripled from 2010 to 2013 -- from 24 million Euros to 85 million Euros.

Innovations for upstream and downstream logistics processes
Decisive for WITRON's success is -- besides many other factors -- the high innovative potential of the enterprise. Current new developments were presented in the course of the press conference: For example, the mechanized empties buffer as a solution for the intelligent buffering of empty pallets, roll containers, and insulated containers that are provided to the picking areas in a completely automated, quantity-friendly, and time-friendly manner. Also new is the use of ETP (Ergonomic Tray Picking) in all temperature ranges including perishable and frozen goods as well as a new automated shipping buffer. This shipping buffer enables the provision of different load carriers from a shipping module to the loader. All that takes place automated, just-in-time, sequence-friendly, route-optimized, store-friendly, and storage space optimized. Moreover, customer orders picked in a module can be stored in different temperature zones.

Generally, "multi-functional" mechanical components play an important role for WITRON. Pallets, roll containers, and insulated containers are transported on patented conveyor systems at the same time. Mechanical tote stackers are designed in such way that these totes with different heights and sizes can be stacked one above the other in a store-friendly manner. "Even the demanding requirements for the mechanized stacking of fruit and vegetable cartons in different sizes and with various packaging qualities can be managed", according to WITRON's CEO Helmut Prieschenk.

Two good reasons to celebrate!
2013 is an anniversary year for WITRON because Walter Winkler presented the OPM technology exactly 10 years ago for the first time. OPM technology has continued to evolve since then, and current projects are implemented with the third generation. To date, more than 500 COM machines are being used or have been ordered in 30 projects throughout the world. More than four million cases are picked with this technology on a daily basis, corresponding to approx. 60,000 pallets / roll containers shipped per day.



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