Material Handling, Logistics and Intralogistics projects represent complex real-world Socio-Technical Systems (STS). Dealing with these projects at any level isn’t simply a matter of mastering the set of technologies involved. To be successful on such projects, organisations need to be adaptable and agile, with capabilities that enable them to succeed with both technological solutions and the inter-personal interactions, negotiations and relationships that come with complex projects.
Logistics is defined as the process of planning, monitoring and controlling the flow of materials, products or goods from the point of origin to the final, prescribed destination within a window of time that produces benefit and value to the business.
Intralogistics refers to the process of optimising, integrating, automating, and managing all of the logistical physical flows of supply, production and distribution within a distribution or fulfilment centre. Optimising data collection and processing with the latest material handling technologies and software can be used to achieve optimal productivity for both manual and automated systems of a business. Importantly, that requires the successful integration of all processes, systems and sub-systems involved. This is one of the greatest challenges in implementing intralogistics systems today.
Material Handling Systems (MHS) are part of the Logistics and Intralogistics businesses with MHS providing solutions for conveying, loading, packaging, sortation and distribution of raw materials or complete products.
There are a number of layers involved in these projects, each with their own concepts and technologies. The interaction and integration required across the various levels and systems, along with their innate complexities can lead to major challenges and issues during the Project Lifecycle.
We’ve included one such project as a mini-case study that illustrates some of the experience and expertise that AAC can leverage for our clients.
AAC have been involved in a project with a major European HUB for worldwide logistics to deliver an Independent Carrier System (ICS) for large Non-Conveyable parcels at a major European Hub. We became involved with the project at a critical point when the project was running excessively late and incomplete. The project was not just incomplete but had been dogged with technical and electro-mechanical reliability issues.
AAC needed to introduce a new integration team into a project under very challenging circumstances, both technically and politically. This was a long running project that had not achieved any of the past Go-Live dates for its systems or sub-systems. Our work involved the technical aspects as well as interfacing with the client’s senior management and stakeholders of various nationalities, cultures and time zones. A crucial milestone was imminent and failure would have been catastrophic for the project.
The team worked around the clock to rapidly adapt within a novel environment both technically and socio-politically. Upon deployment the AAC team’s experience, stewardship and technical contributions immediately provided value to the project. Our personnel were involved in all aspects of the project starting with hands-on experience to progress the electro-mechanical installation and commissioning of the conveyor systems to improve the stability of the underlying platform. Based on our observations and diagnoses we led changes to the Low-Level Controls whilst also involved in the High-Level Controls systems and management of the project.
Key to the successful outcome were our willingness to share knowledge and experience amongst the entire team, and to learn from others and adapt to the situation at hand. Regular sharing and dissemination of knowledge and experience enabled the team to become productive and proficient with the systems and environment in an exceptionally short period of time. Following this philosophy establishes an open culture allowing AAC to integrate into the project and make a substantial contribution.
Despite a previously adverse situation, the project was able to deliver on its first Go-live milestone. Achieving this major milestone allowed our client to make their first Application for Payment on a long running project.