McBride: making moves with Movanis

Our smart driverless systems offer reliable and flexible solutions for automated warehouse transport. But instead of going into great detail about the ins and outs of these systems, why don’t we let the companies who use them talk about their experience first-hand? Here, we put the spotlight on McBride, the leading European manufacturer and supplier of private-label and contract-manufactured products for the domestic household and professional cleaning/hygiene markets. We spoke to OpEx facilitator, Geert Devarrewaere.

The automation challenge

McBride has been automating whatever and wherever they can for some time now. “It’s all part of our lean management philosophy”, says Devarrewaere. “All of our operations and processes are designed to achieve as much as possible with as little efforts as possible. Anything that doesn’t add value should be eliminated from the process”.

But there was still room for improvement in internal logistics. “Moving goods from A to B doesn’t add value. Only cost. If you consider that within the group, we are a manufacturing plant situated in the area with the highest salaries (Flanders – BE), and that all logistics were done by people, you can imagine the expense”.

The major challenge in terms of automation was stability. “Piling our empty bottles and moving them to the warehouse was a delicate task. We did stack trays with bottles on top of each other with some shrinkwrapping with a very low stability . Transporting these with AGVs would—at best—be difficult. If it’s unstable, it can’t be automated. Sometimes it’ll lean left and sometimes it’ll lean right. And when you start to move, it starts to wobble. Automating something like that risked opening a can of worms”. It was clear we needed to switch to a more stable packing solution and thus we started with putting the bottles into big boxes instead of on trays to be ready for further automation.

The search for a solution

Initially, McBride had contacted several candidate companies. But only Movanis made the cut. “Their approach was different”, says Devarrewaere. “Their competitors were just interested in pitching us their products. But Movanis sat down and really listened to our needs and challenges. They took this all on board to work with us to find a solution. That’s exactly what we needed”.

Movanis also offered a great deal of flexibility. “This was refreshing to see. And it was good to know that Movanis could see a way forward with this”, he reflects. “We have 29 machines and 58 pick-up points in our blow moulding. Plus a range of priorities that need to be applied. That means you can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. It has to be bespoke”.

But did the Corona crisis put a spanner in the works? Devarrewaere: “Luckily, we kicked this process off before the pandemic hit. But in any case, nothing stopped Movanis from being available when needed. Look: our internal logistics in blow moulding are now fully AGV driven!”

Both quick and long-term wins

Automating the internal logistics was hands down a win. “We can produce the same volume, but with less manpower. This saves us effort, time and costs”, says Devarrewaere. McBride plans to optimize more areas through automation in the future. “Lean is a never-ending journey. But I’m sure Movanis will be along for the ride”.

Curious as to how Movanis could benefit your company? Believe you could save time and money by automating your logistics? Or simply want to know more about what we do?

Get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to listen to your needs or challenges and see what we can come up with together. Book your no-obligation consultation today!