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Swisslog debuts ACPaQ, a fully automated solution for creating mixed pallets

The robot-based ACPaQ solution is the next milestone in the successful cooperation between Swisslog and KUKA. This world-class intralogistics innovation is the latest development to emerge from the bundled robotics and intralogistics know-how of the two leading providers. Swisslog showcased this system for fully automated mixed-carton picking and palletizing for the first time at the recent LogiMAT exhibition in Germany.

Swisslog’s robot-based ACPaQ solution will automate one of the most important areas of the intralogistics operations of successful retailers: creating customized mixed pallets for individual stores from single-SKU pallets. This innovative palletizing system has a highly modular design. It combines robotics solutions for depalletizing and palletizing with CycloneCarrier shuttle technology and enables a fully automated process controlled by the SynQ warehouse management software which, compared to traditional methods, doubles or even triples the speed of picking cartons in distribution centers based on store layout, item groups or item classes.

At the core of the ACPaQ solution is the RowPaQ cell featuring a state-of-the-art 5-axis jointed-arm KUKA robot. It is equipped with a flexible gripper with adjustable forks which allows it to pick up as many as four cartons at a time even if they don’t have the same size or weight. A RowPaQ cell is capable of setting down up to 1,000 cartons per hour in the exact location predefined by the palletizing software. The solution is completely scalable and additional RowPaQ cells can be added to the system to increase throughput as required.

Networking new and proven technologies

Robot-based palletizing builds on an intelligently organized process. Before cartons can be palletized in sequence, they are first separated, loaded into trays and stored temporarily in the highly dynamic CycloneCarrier shuttle system. Even before the warehouse management system issues the palletizing order, Swisslog’s software autonomously performs a complex calculation process based on product parameters to determine the best way to load the pallet. The cartons are then transported in the exact sequence from storage to the RowPaQ cell. After palletizing is complete, it is shrink-wrapped and transported via conveyor directly to the right shipping station.

“ACPaQ is the perfect combination of KUKA and Swisslog know-how in one solution,” says Dr. Christian Baur, Chief Operating Officer of the Swisslog Group and CEO of Swisslog Warehouse & Distribution Solutions. “As a result, our customers benefit from a solution that significantly outperforms manual palletizing processes not only in terms of packing density and dimensional stability but also in terms of cost effectiveness and ergonomics.”

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Kudos for Swisslog blog

Huge congrats go to our friends at Swisslog for winning a Gold Award for Best Vendor Blog in the Warehouse Technology Writers’ Awards 2017!

The automated intralogistics provider and long term TB Marketing customer took the award home for recognition of the superb work on their website.

Swisslog’s writers were praised for the blog’s well-researched opinion pieces and ability to present complex topics in an easy-to-follow manner. The easily navigable page structure was also applauded.

The Warehouse Technology Writers’ Awards recognise top writing talent across the warehouse and supply chain industries from all types of publication, with categories for both vendor and independent blogs, and for individual writers.

The final results were decided by a combination of recommendations from the two awards judges and a public vote. Awards judge and Explore WMS editor Kathryn Beeson said: “We had a lot of top quality entries to the awards, making the judging process an enjoyably difficult one. Nevertheless, I felt that the insights Swisslog’s blog provides and its clear presentation of complex subjects really stood out.

“As we were judging the blog as a whole as well as the articles on there, I was also drawn to Swisslog’s breadth of content and the clear layout.”

As a thought leader in the automated intralogistics community, high quality content is a necessity for Swisslog. Last year, over 60 news releases, 26 new movies, 20 case studies, 19 blog posts, and nine whitepapers were uploaded to the website, bringing in more than 450 marketing leads via

A.K Schultz, Swisslog’s Vice President of E-Commerce/Retail WDS Americas and regular blog contributor, also received a Bronze Award in the Best Article category, for his article ‘Interoperability: what is it and why should you care’.

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Swisslog Launch SmartLIFT At ProMat 2015

Leading automation specialists, Swisslog, will launch a new system for the monitoring and tracking of materials handling equipment at the ProMat 2015 exhibition.

SmartLIFT is a Real Time Location System (RTLS) that guides, monitors and tracks every movement of a fork truck vehicle within a facility. Along with live inch-accurate visibility of all vehicles, operators and inventory movements, SmartLIFT provides equipment monitoring and fleet management tools to track vehicle usage.

“We are excited to be unveiling our latest product at ProMat,” says Swisslog director of business development & marketing, Bill Leber. “Data plays a key role in our business, and using SmartLIFT is one of the ways in which businesses can increase their knowledge regarding their fleet utilisation and operator efficiency.”

The launch is being timed to co-incide with a seminar on Big Data, sponsored by Swisslog and hosted by VP of Customer Support, AK Schultz and Program Manager, Sahil Patel.

Says Schultz: “Big Data is an incredible area of development. We have the means to collect and synthesize data which opens the door to predictive modelling. The more we can find relationships and understand our systems, the more we will be able to understand patterns. We can then use this learning to find optimizations and improvements, today which are unknowable.”

In addition to the latest thinking in e-commerce, solutions for cold storage environments and wireless case picking, the company will also showcase its expertise in software and integrated system design.

Swisslog is rightly proud of its successes to date, particularly in the food storage, retail and pharmaceutical industries. A number of recent projects and installations have broken new ground in the US as well as enabled efficiencies in existing tote and goods-to-man handling systems.

But Swisslog not only has an excellent range of solutions for materials handling requirements, it also has considerable expertise in the planning and implementation of entire distribution centres including architecture and construction aspects, all aimed at ensuring the complete facility is perfectly aligned and optimally utilized.

“At Swisslog we have a fairly straightforward approach to what can be seen as a complex issue,” concludes Schultz. “We eliminate risk and inefficiencies for customers when delivering new or adapted automated warehouse solutions, but it takes the type of face-to-face opportunities that shows like ProMat offers, to really demonstrate this in more definitive terms.”

Other seminars presented by Swisslog during the show will cover the impact of automation on warehousing; improvements to safety with AGVs and the latest automated storage and retrieval systems.

ProMat 2015, held March 23-26, 2015 at Chicago’s McCormick Place South, is the largest expo for manufacturing and supply chain professionals in North America, and provides attendees access to the latest material handling and logistics equipment and technologies.

More info: Introduction to SmartLIFT

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More than milk

When UK supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s, asked Twitter followers this simple statement, it summed up one of the key assets of retail stores – serendipity.

The happy, ‘accidental’ purchase. It is a truism to say that stores want you to buy more than what you just came in for, as anyone who’s faced a battle of wills over toys or confectionery at the checkout can testify.

Online retailers have aimed to replicate this phenomenon with the ‘other customers also liked’ feature and by personalising our browsing experience, relying on excellent data mining to impress the casual shopper.

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With around 1.7 billion social network users in the world, SOCIAL MEDIA is one of the most popular ways for people to share their opinions. could this be the future of customer service?

Although social networking has only taken off in the last 10 years, more and more businesses are using it as a platform to offer customer service in new and different ways.

Social media makes it much easier to complain, and not only complain directly to a business, but to broadcast the complaint publicly. More and more businesses today are taking this opportunity and are using social networking as a platform for offering customer service in a different way.

The search functions of Facebook and Twitter, combined with the use of hashtags, make it easier than ever for people to “tag” and direct their complaint to the company while allowing everyone else to see it.

However, these functions also allow companies to monitor what has been said and respond quickly and publicly. This is where social media can be used advantageously for customer service, underscoring that companies are interested in the complaint and are looking to make the customer happy.

The leading exponents can turn a complaint and bad word-of-mouth into something positive, showing the company is listening to the customer and, in trying to help customers, it can work wonders for the reputation of the business. A good example of social media customer service is what airline JetBlue provides on Twitter.

An unhappy JetBlue customer, Cassidy Quinn, took to Twitter to complain about her flight, tweeting: “Dear @JetBlue, next time can you fix the plane before we all get on it?! Fingers crossed I do not miss my next connecting flight…”

JetBlue replied quickly, offering a sincere apology and confirming that the flight would be on its way very shortly. Not only was JetBlue efficient and reassuring in its response, it turned Cassidy’s complaint into a positive by way of good customer service. She later thanked JetBlue, tweeting: “@JetBlue Thanks for the super quick response! Luckily I made my connecting flight! #happy #phew”

Social media customer service may be more common, but that doesn’t mean that every company is doing it well. Many provide worse customer service via social media.

British Airways’ poor customer service was broadcast to thousands of people on Twitter when, annoyed by BA’s failure to locate his father’s lost baggage, Hassan Syed paid for his tweet rebuking BA to be promoted on its public newsfeed. Hassan tweeted: “Don’t fly @British_Airways their customer service is horrendous.”

British Airways not only then failed to reply for 8 hours, but when they did eventually respond, it was of no help to the customer at all: The airline blamed “Twitter opening hours” for the late reply. A furious Hassan replied with a witty tweet, criticizing British Airways further: “@British_Airways how does a billion dollar corp only have a 9-5 social media support for a business that operates 24/7? DM me yourselves.”

The tweets went viral, with around 76 000 people seeing Hassan’s tweet and hundreds re-tweeting and favoriting them, publically shaming British Airways’ customer service.

The best customer service is not all about complaints. By searching social media platforms, businesses can find other generic and subtle comments that may relate to them. This gives them an opportunity to create conversations directly with customers.

It may be that someone is commenting on needing smaller sizes to be stocked in a certain product, allowing the business to create a conversation with them and ensure them that they will look into the matter.

Having conversations with customers, responding to complaints and generally answering customers queries highlights how social media can be utilized as a platform for good customer service and is a great way to grow as a business and actually deliver what people want to see.

Engage with the Swisslog Inspiration team on Twitter via @swisslogInspire.

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Willkommen! Bienvenue! Benvenuto!…Swisslog!

Team Beno would like to officially welcome on board our latest PR client Swisslog UK!

With their global head office based in Buchs, Switzerland – Swisslog are a worldwide provider of logistics solutions for warehouses, distribution centres and hospitals that pride themselves on their fantastic customer support, entrepreneurial spirit and their outstanding products….just the kind of client we love!

Our aim now is to provide them with some top-notch PR stories in these next few months to really help them smash their marketing objectives for 2012.

Welcome to the family Swisslog! You’re gonna love us…

Keep a look out for all latest Swisslog news stories here!