Galexis AG is a leading pharmaceutical wholesaler serving the Swiss healthcare market. While currently equipped with a high-tech distribution center located in Niederbipp, the leading pharma wholesaler is once again expanding its capabilities due to rapid growth. In order to meet these increasing customer needs, Galexis AG solicited the help of SSI SCHAEFER to further capacities and to gain a competitive market edge.
Galexis, part of the Galenica Group, delivers integrated services throughout Switzerland. As Switzerland's leading pharmaceutical wholesaler and market leader in health-related logistics, Galexis guarantees punctual delivery with a ready supply of pharmaceutical drugs across the entire country. In addition, Galexis currently operates a high-performance distribution center in Niederbipp – supplying pharmacies, family physicians, drug stores, assisted living centers, and hospitals.
Long-term partnership with SSI SCHAEFER
In early 2007, SSI SCHAEFER laid the foundation, on behalf of Galexis, for one of the most modern distribution centers within the Swiss healthcare market at its Niederbipp site. Instead of carrying out costly renovations to existing warehouse locations in Bern-Schönbühl and Zürich-Schlieren, Galexis decided it was time for a new, ultra-modern solution implemented by the intralogistics specialists SSI SCHAEFER.
Pioneering initial construction
The construction of the initial Niederbipp distribution center reached an automation percentage of 70 and boasted complete turnkey storage location management. At any given time, the location of an item can be determined—even during transport. The location management provides an integrated batch tracing solution with the ability to block items for fulfillment in an unfortunate event of a recall—extremely important when working with pharmaceutical products.
The distribution center contains four complete small parts warehouses with a total of 16 carousels and four goods-to-person work stations. Also included is one automated miniload system (ASPW) with 74,650 storage locations and flow racks with an additional 23,167 storage capabilities. There is storage to accommodate 4,663 pallets, coupled with automatic picking systems boasting performance rates of 1,600 bins per hour. Plus, a fully automated bin washing system and several kilometers of conveying systems form the core equipment elements during the first initial construction phase – all with an impressive performance of 2,700 bins per hour.
Increased demand and production
As an experienced wholesaler and service provider, Galexis guarantees a punctual and uninterrupted supply of pharmaceutical goods to all its partners throughout Switzerland. Thanks to outstanding customer satisfaction and an aging Swiss population, Galexis is experiencing an increase in market demand. In order to meet the growing need for pharmaceutical supplies, Galexis is boosting capacities through an expansion project with SSI SCHAEFER, which will improve customer satisfaction even further.
Expansion with 81,500 additional bin storage locations
The expansion is impressive and includes the installation of a second ASPW with 81,500 bin storage locations for double-deep storage – all provided by SSI SCHAEFER. The system includes a complete logistics solution with control system and approximately 4 km of bin conveying system with double de-stackers and around 65,000 bins.
Three Schäfer Miniload Crane (SMC) 2 XL storage-retrieval machines will serve the three-aisle ASPW. With their double combi-telescope load handling devices, the compact machines achieve 51 combined double cycles per hour and per aisle while automatically replenishing for order picking from flow racks. Picking occurs at 52 manual picking stations and two quick work stations, and remains a paperless process following the goods-to-person principle. Furthermore, the system layout includes a platform construction with additional picking locations for the 13,000-m² footprint adjacent to the picking area and the picking hall.
SSI SCHAEFER completed the initial distribution center back in 2008, with the goal of achieving both significant efficiency rates and quality increases. Plus, SSI SCHAEFER was able to provide a more cost-effective work processes and met the highest standards of safety. Thanks to the successful Niederbipp warehouse expansion in 2016, the performance of the Galexis automation system has increased as a whole to reach throughputs to 4,000 bins per hour—an increase that meets the increase in market demand and contributes to punctual and error-free delivery.