DOSSIN ENTREPÔTS: Automation serving both people and the business

Dossin Entrepôts, a French storage and logistics services provider, offers its customers agricultural, pet, pharmaceutical and packaging industry process management through 100,000 m² of warehouses on seven regional sites. The company provides facilities with ambient temperature, cool rooms, and controlled humidity for bulk or pallet storage. The storage capacity corresponds to 80,000 pallet spaces, 9,000 m3 cold rooms and 110,000 tons of bulk goods. An automated warehouse was the next step for them to accelerate the efficiency of their operations.

Dossin Entrepôts started the build of a new 36,000 m2 site in Roye, France, to meet the constantly growing customer demands. They wanted to outsource all their logistics in the new storage facility in order to be able to acquire an automated solution to increase the order preparation quality and responsiveness.

Dossin commenced the automation preparations one year before commissioning the new site. The deployment of the solution began with adapting the IT infrastructure with a new automated solution and providing the operators at the site with educational material to help them work in the automated environment with novel applications. The facility was also prepared from the start to suit seamlessly for automation and AGVs: the aisle’s width was checked, and paving and floor evenness ensured to accommodate the vehicles.

Optimised industry-specific solution

The solution was provided in a joint effort with Aprolis and Logisnext Solutions that dates back to 2015. With local expertise enabled through our vast partner network, we can find the best solution in cooperation; the established partnership secures customers with first-class service locally all over the world.

“Our cooperation with Aprolis is seamless, and the customers’ results speak for themselves, showing that collaboration works. Together with Aprolis, we can provide a comprehensive offering of AGVs, manual forklifts and automation solutions in France, as they have a nationwide network with maintenance and after-sales service to guarantee satisfied customers. As a local partner, they have a direct, well-working relationship with the customers, which ensures that we have a good insight into the customers’ needs and take them into account in the solutions we offer. This produces industry-specific solutions that genuinely meet the needs of the industry, support their processes, and bring much value to the customer with this kind of teamwork”, says Oskari Lindstedt, Solutions Sales and Marketing VP, Rocla AGV Solutions.

Dossin’s functions and processes were studied carefully in the beginning so that modular Rocla AGV Solutions could be optimised according to Dossin’s needs and wishes. Each modification resulted in being made to Dossin’s standards, and their teams could provide precise and fast-quantified responses to make the best end result possible. The solution included 39 AGVs in total, of which 18 were pallet movers, 17 tri-lateral head VNAs and the reach trucks. In the first phase, four ARTs were installed, while in the second phase, VNAs and pallet movers were introduced to the site. ARTs were initially introduced to another site, but when the new warehouse was introduced, they moved in and served as the pilot AGVs there.

High and heavy – but safe as well

In the 36,000 m2 warehouse, 39 AGVs buzz around, carrying the goods safely and effectively. The pallet movers pick up the pallets from the receiving area and deliver them to the pick-up and drop-off positions at the end of the racks. With the aisle width being 1.8 meters, VNAs pick up the pallets from the pick-up positions and deliver them to high racks for storage. The maximum lifting height is 11 meters, and the maximum load is 1,100 kg. The process also works the other way round, where the transports happen from the storage to the sending area. In the Roye site, both euro pallets and industry pallets are used.

“This solution improves the safety of our operators. Automating allows us to have a noticeable improvement in safety as the tasks, such as high lifting, do not need to be carried out by a human,” says Matthieu Dossin, Associate Director of Dossin Entrepôts.

Efficiency despite the unusual circumstances

All in all, the project was fast to execute: the first discussions took place in 2017, and the first batch was already delivered in September 2019. The last vehicles arrived at the Dossin site in late 2020, meaning the delivery of the whole fleet took only one year. Even though the amount of AGVs to be delivered to the site was significant, the planned delivery schedule was well met – all the phases, from manufacturing to testing and shipping, needed to be done in time. Thanks to a skilled team, fluent cooperation between Rocla AGV Solutions and Aprolis, as well as collaboration with the customer, it all resulted well.

Since the automation project took place during the COVID pandemic, the situation put more pressure on the implementation of the project than usual. It required more planning and preparation from all parties. Due to travel restrictions, travelling was impossible, but luckily, a maintenance visit was done just before the restrictions were launched. The support during the pandemic was given remotely from Finland, which challenged the team to find new innovative ways to work efficiently despite the situation.

From left to right: Matthieu Dossin, Emmanuel Delorme and Bertrand Dossin.

Meeting the goals

The critical obstacle Dossin Entrepôts was able to solve through the automation was the time-consuming deployment. In addition, they appreciated the support for changes in forklift operators, such as training and guidance of teams.

“We are a family business, and we are committed to respecting people. For us, it’s important to develop the teams’ skills to support them in their daily work while we move towards future solutions that do not replace their everyday work on traditional trucks but complement the specific solutions we have here,” explains Bertrand Dossin, Associate Director of Dossin Entrepôts.

Through automation, Dossin Entrepôts has gained flexibility in the operation, such as preparation time of orders, but also in quality, reducing the rate of product wastage of the items they stock to almost zero. As the solution is scalable, everything can be adjusted according to Dossin’s needs. They have, for example, the possibility to acquire more vehicles according to their customers’ demands.

“We have vehicles working 24 hours a day, so the operator can launch a transport order and still leave on a lunch break, for example. The work is done in the meantime,” says Emmanuel Delorme, Maintenance Manager at Dossin Entrepôts.

DOSSIN ENTREPÔTS: Automation serving both people and the business


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