ASSA ABLOY’s automated DC unlocks the door to supply chain success

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ASSA ABLOY is the global leader in opening solutions, covering products and services related to openings such as locks, doors, gates, and entrance automation solutions. The Asia Pacific division, headquartered in Melbourne, has annual sales of around USD 1 billion and leads the development within door openings and products for access solutions in homes, businesses and institutions.

ASSA ABLOY needed to automate its largely manual distribution centre (DC) to accommodate a growing business and provide longer-term certainty in operational capacity. It was also seeking new facilities and amenities for its people.

In 2019, ASSA ABLOY took possession of a new, 6,500m2 DC in Mentone, Victoria, to store and distribute its keys, locks, safes, and door hardware and fittings. The DC had the capacity that ASSA ABLOY needed for its warehouse operation, including a planned Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS). The long-term lease also provided security for ASSA ABLOY’s investment in automation.

In 2020, ASSA ABLOY engaged ThreeSixty to provide property services, project management, systems integration and operational support for the build and fit-out of the automated DC, including implementing the new AS/RS and integrating the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Warehouse Control System (WCS).

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“We selected ThreeSixty for its proven experience in the successful planning, implementation and commissioning of automation equipment across a multitude of disciplines. We also liked that its tight-knit team had worked together for a long time and were willing to put in the hours and commit to achieving results.”

Michael Danaher, National Logistics Manager, ASSA ABLOY

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The Solution

The new integrated materials handling solution chosen by ASSA ABLOY included the Dematic Multishuttle Goods-to-Person (GTP) system, in addition to a variable-size, inline carton sealer.

ASSA ABLOY planned to store 450 SKUs within the GTP system, accessed by 12 shuttles over 14 levels of double-deep storage, with a capacity of 3,080 totes. Two vertical lifts brought totes to and from the GTP station for picking or replenishment operations.

ASSA ABLOY’s Warehouse Management System (WMS), Microsoft AX, was designed to directly interface with the WCS and be responsible for overall inventory management and movement and order management and replenishment requests to the GTP system.

ThreeSixty provided a dedicated project manager and systems lead, and project managed operations, automation integration, IT infrastructure, ERP analysts, software developers and sub-contractors.

Property services provided by ThreeSixty were critical to the successful kick-off and timeline. These services included seeking council building permits and certificates of compliance, and direct liaison with the airport building controller, local authorities, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, fire engineers and building surveyors.

ThreeSixty managed key stakeholders across the project and created and managed communications teams and streams, including a steering committee and a cross-functional project team.

Through rigorous systems integration testing, the WMS was integrated seamlessly with the GTP  system.

ThreeSixty provided ramp-up plans to meet ASSA ABLOY’s enhanced operational volumes, a change management framework, and end-user training, testing and transition. Go-live management included an issue register and a communications plan.

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“ThreeSixty understood our business objectives and clearly communicated how they would achieve them.”

Michael Danaher, National Logistics Manager, ASSA ABLOY

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Challenges

Though a relatively standard automated DC implementation, the project was not without its challenges.

The DC’s airport location necessitated a rigorous permit approval system for the project to get the green light. ThreeSixty provided compliance approvals from the airport building controllers and local authorities. This project element happened seamlessly, and the project received the green light as early as possible.

With Melbourne swept up in the COVID-19 lockdown, ASSA ABLOY, ThreeSixty, suppliers and technology integrators were all impacted. The pandemic presented the most significant challenges to the project implementation.

It necessitated different safety systems and the reworking of timelines to keep things moving and complete the project as close to the estimated timeline as possible. It also resulted in much software-related work at an international level, posing challenges in getting the solution up and running.

The Result

ASSA ABLOY’s warehouse automation project was delivered successfully on a COVID-modified timeline in February 2021, despite the impediments and disruptions of the lockdown.

ASSA ABLOY now has an efficient, automated DC to support future growth, improve its team facilities, and provide a superior delivery experience for its customers.

Benefits

  • A dedicated project partner to protect ASSA ABLOY’s interests
  • Strong leadership in managing all partiesand vendors
  • Seamless integration of the WMS to the GTP system
  • Complete visibility of the operation through integrated software and technology
  • No disruption to ASSA ABLOY’s DC operations during implementation
  • A team transitioned efficiently to the ‘new way of working’
  • Project completed within agreed timeframes and budget

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ThreeSixty was a critical partner in the implementation of our new DC. We now have a solution that meets the expectations of our customers for fast order and delivery turnaround, and one that will provide a superior experience that will help their, and ASSA ABLOY’s, business grow.”

Michael Danaher, National Logistics Manager, ASSA ABLOY

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