006. From business model to automatized distribution center project with Eng. Davide Fedeli from Knapp Italia

“Welcome to “I LIKE TO MOVE IT,” the Rulmeca podcast that explores the latest trends and innovations in the material handling world. 

I’m your host, Mr R, and in this episode we will speak about the approach to the move from the business model to a project for an Ultimate Eyes distribution centre. 

We will do it together with a special guest Mr. Davide Fedeli, Head of Operation of Knapp. 

Welcome, Davide, thank you for being with us today. 

Good morning, everybody.  

Could you tell us something about yourself?  

I’m graduated in mechanical engineering to Politecnico di Milano. And then since the beginning of my life career, I have work in the logistic part, starting from project engineering and then step by step field of my actual position as head of operation of Knapp Italia. 

Not long ago we hosted the CEO of Knapp Italia Mr Stefano Novaresi. The company, for those who know the world of logistics, needs no introduction.  

Knapp is a prominent energy engineering company with 62 subsidiaries, ranked among the top companies on Forbes’ global list. 

Davide, going into today’s topic, what is your business strategy and what has changed compared to the past?  

In the past there was the technology that was driven the solution, but now is really the needed that can bring and these driving to the solution because the automation have to be intended as a strategy enable and not anymore jobs as are inefficient see enable. 

What are the phases to follow? 

The first phase is for sure is a macro analysis. A macro analysis means to answer to two fundamental question where we are today and where we want to go. 

So placing the target for the project and what does it mean placing the target of the projects? in which we want the company grow? Because for sure there, there the target is always to grow is jobs, meaning grow in term of a number of order process four is just the cause that we want to approach new distribution channel is changing our growth. 

What we have seen, for example, during the pandemic period and is a trend that is still running, is still after the pandemic period, the number of order is increasing day by day. But the pieces, for example, for each order is decreasing because for sure is that the classical or the typical example is that the e-commerce where they deem pieces for our for order is one or 1.3, 1.5. 

So very few pieces for order, but for sure, much, much more order. Or we want to approach. We have a new kinds of products. So the number of articles that we have to manage is increasing. So right now we have to answer to where we wants to go. For sure, we have to analyse different aspect and is something that can be done only at foreign. So let me say we are the customer. That is not anymore just the customer. It’s really partner.  

Davide, going into today’s topic, speaking about the distribution centre, how its vision is changed? 

In the past The distribution centre was always considered as a standalone entity and was just thinking how to ultimately. So the process that was done manually before. But now the real important piece is that we have always to approach the distribution centre, thinking that these are just part of a chain, is part of the supply chain, and based on that, is influenced by different topics, higher level for sure, which is the business model of the company, which are the strategy of the company, as we said before, in which way we want to grow. But at the same time, the distribution centre is just in the middle of material flow, so is influenced by the materials that is getting in, material that is getting from production, is getting from external supplier in which way they are coming in. But at the same time the materials are going out from the warehouse and for that are influencing and influenced by which is there and the customers are there the last mile of their day, the distribution. So of the supply chain. 

What does it mean to have a vision of the business model of the Company? 

Means for sure having a big picture. Again, we are in a macro analysis, so we need to have a big picture of how the companies getting money is earning money. 

which is the purpose of the warehouse?  

because as well, as I said before, we have all these two things that they were obviously in jobs in the middle of a process. So it’s really important to consider all the chain because it’s really sometimes happening that the real optimization is coming, changing or approaching. For example, the supplier to have a different inbound of their the goods, but at the same time also on the external part to understand in which way we want to reach the end customer. And for sure we have to analyse the different business cases because the same warehouse is every day much more and omnichannel warehouse. 

What does Omnichannel Warehouse mean? 

Omnichannel means that from the same barrels we have to distribute and reach the end customer for an ecommerce, for example. But also it’s secondary warehouse to have having a secondary step of distribution. So in the same warehouse we have to manage completely two different floor also in thermal volumes that needs to be handled and considered. 

E-commerce is every day much more important. How to manage the returns. In the e-commerce, the number of our returns is getting bigger and bigger and the time consuming for the managing of the returns is much, much more expanding time because we have a lot of single pieces that have to be reconciliatory that we for the pieces that are already inside of warehouse so is for less number of our pieces so let me say is taking much more time and for that of course are related course that is getting bigger 

Which are the goals for the project? 

It is not just thinking we want to reduce the number of people, for example, but means also to reduce the lead time, the transit time of their products inside their warehouse or the really the lead time in terms of order preparation. So to be for example, in the case of the ecommerce, they after already in the in the delivery to the end customer.

How we can measure the success of a project? 

time frame of the realization of the project of the budget for the project and really the phase in closer now of when we are approaching a project, we have always to thinks that the future is coming and the changing are coming always faster and faster. And the flexibility in the scalability of the project is one of the main topics to be considered. 

What does it mean? Means that when we are approaching a new project, we have always two things a target, a goal to be reached, but also the different phases to reach that target, because that means also distributed investment in the future means that if I’m project now, if a project in now a a new a new distribution centre considering when we want to go into one year means that we can have a parcel that can be ready in five years and then based on the different kinds of growth that have the company and the different kinds of our growth that have the markets we can change. 

And this is the effect of the flexibility of the season. We can change how to create the next step of the project. But for sure we need to. Things on the Fula and the big picture since the beginning in order to consider that the second phase, the first phase of growth on the technology can be implemented without stopping the existing warehouse because I think in to a greenfield installation. 

So a completely new warehouse is easy to do. Let me say the first installation because all the spaces are available for us, but they’re not we’re not using production. We have always to consider that the production will have to not stop and we have to be able to implement the new technology and the extension of the expansion of the is the system without stopping the production. 

Can you give us some examples? 

for example, the shorter warehouse is possible to create since the beginning of the full rack. Consider in also the future expansion, but not placing the automation for that. But automation that can be is implemented during the production in the future and so can be anticipated of was dissipated in the future based on the different parts of growth of the company instead of what was our plan that the since the beginning or what is changing in there, the projects can be implemented in a different way and the effect of this flexibility of the new technologies. 

You explained how the warehouse has a new identity and how strategic its central position has become. So I guess it’s essential to understand the type of material and how this material transits through the distribution centre. 

we have to analyse from where are coming the day. Then the goods are coming from an internal production are coming from external productions or from the centres of supplier. 

And in which way they are coming? are coming already we’ve they are find out our packaging or needs to be really operated in inside the warehouse to way for the final packaging. For example, or to have some value added, I think into some kinds of products where needs to be added. For example, the gift message goes out. 

For example, in the e-commerce you can cannot the same sentence or some personalization. So it needs to have in the distribution centre also some additional operation. 

and for sure how is coming in, in which way in terms of up towards in terms of carton, in terms of pallet pallets that are mono excuse or mono articles or a mix that articles so it needs to have some different the counting station at the end three of their whereas  

How do we move the material within the warehouse and how important is it to know the regulations? 

first of all we have to see far we are inside the existing warehouse so we have already some specific requirement or we are completely talking about a new around where we have also the possibility to change also the way in which are handle or are transported. 

Are they the goods and which kind of goods for sure, because are moving from one sector to another. There are some specific requirements. So an example that is easy for everybody to understand. If you are feeding into food, for example, you have to think that the food means a dry food about the source of fresh food or cool if push the food. 

So it means that you have to have a differentiated data inside the warehouse. You have to the to have differentiated technology to handle this kind of all of goods. But it to other sector, there are sectors that are classified as are trucks so needs to have specific and lean or specific area where to be stocked or for example, dangerous exploding products and so on that they have other specific requirements. 

So it’s really important to know which are the requirement also in terms of the normative that have to be respected and which are the technology that can match these requirement 

How do we move the goods outside? 

we have to reach different target. So it is important to understand which are these target are the owner shop chain or the retail or we have to reach a secondary warehouse or we have to reach the end customer. As I said before, every days we are much more encountering distribution centre that are omnichannel, warehouse. 

And based on that also in which way we which carried out is a the own careers are feeding again on the food are special delivery means that we have a cooler truck call it are small truck and the for sure  again which are the special requirements again for our explosive our products or our call it and so on. 

So I think this is the first phase. After this, we come to a new phase, which I imagine is that of data collection and analysis, this is the more intensive part. 

There are a lot of data that have to be collected and sometimes all these data are available inside the company, but in different parts of the company. And one of the main activities is to collect from all the different sector and let me say create a group of all of these data and analyse their not these data. 

All this analysis is bringing to an end easy example to an analysis to define which are the rotation of the products. This is just one of the result of the analysis is not only that one, but these is a typical example that is a helping to understand which are the technologies, technologies that can be applied to the handle of these goods in this part of the articles.  

Why you said technologies using the plural?

I was using the plural cause we we’ve all the technology that are now present. It’s really important to not being solely on the one direction, on wanting a knowledge about things, always on the combination of all the technology policy present on the market and combine all of these technology to create the best solution. 

Where the technologies are present and where are the automation in the projects can be present inside the warehouse?  

Let me say everywhere, because as I say, the different combination of is now allowing to be present from the peak to the storage to the delivery. And for sure, in top of all of that combination is important to have a brain that is the software. So the Tea Party energy in artificial intelligence is every day much more relevant inside their warehouse. 

So the technology as to be think it to 360 degree because it’s not just the automation in term of movement but of the combination of the movement to be moved in the right way at the right moment and for sure afterwards. This serving is super integrated. Set within super is not just the mechanical gauge that is going to adjust a screw, but is a full approach. 

We have monitoring of their consuming, of their single motor, for example, to understand which are the motor more under stress score or to see the variances in the time to understand if could be a problem in that area. And so direct the maintenance on this specific area. And this is something that with the new technology and again the new software technologies is now every day possible. 

And as I said, the approach is now to be considered a partnership of we for the potential customer because we really need to understand the daily needs of the customer and what we have are for. And so we them to understand that which could be the right solution. So as we always say, partnership matters.  

I am pleased to hear this because “Partnership matters” is also one of the claims we use at Rulmeca; we believe it is essential nowadays. 

It was a particularly informative episode, we went a little longer with the time than usual, but the information you gave us today was exciting. 

Thank you, Davide, for being with us and for telling us 

Thanks again for listening, we’ll see you next time on “I LIKE TO MOVE IT“, the Rulmeca podcast.
Thank you for your attention and I look forward to seeing you next time to explore together again the most interesting new trends and developments in the world of materials handling. 

Take care and keep being awesome.”

That’s all for now!