ABeam Consulting and Thai City Electric partner up for AI-powered warehouse

Digitized solutions have improved employee safety, streamlined productivity, and boosted storage capacity


Bangkok, Thailand: ABeam Consulting (Thailand), one of a leading global business and digital transformation consulting firm, has partnered with Thai City Electric, distributor of SHARP electrical home appliances, to develop a fully automated warehouse management system through the integration of SAP solutions and an Automated Storage & Retrieval System (AS/RS). The project, which went live on the 1st of March 2022, transformed Sharp’s warehouse into one of Thailand’s first complete AI-powered warehouses, helping the company streamline operational efficiencies, make better use of manpower, and improve end-to-end Lean manufacturing and inventory and logistics processes. 

Aiming to build business resilience and sustainability due to global and local challenges, Thai City Group wanted to implement technology to help navigate current and future operational challenges. These include meeting manpower shortage challenges, having improved visibility of supply chain and commercial operations, and adjusting to changing customer demands. 

Implementation of AS/RS and SAP end-to-end system covering from production to delivery has already resulted in a doubling of storage capacity due to more efficient operations, faster order turn-around time to meet the demands of e-commerce and use only one-third of manpower when being operated with manual warehouse while also improving employee safety. 

Mr. Montree Tuntithavorn, Principal, Head of Consumer Business sectors at ABeam Consulting Thailand

Mr. Montree Tuntithavorn, Principal, Head of Consumer Business sectors at ABeam Consulting Thailand, said, “This has been a very challenging project for both ABeam Consulting and Thai City Group and one that has furthered our Digital Transformation on complete warehouse operation. ABeam Consulting’s team had a clear understanding of business requirements at Thai City Group through a clear process of pre-assessment, building consensus on relevant functions, and providing solutions and options to Thai City Group teams to ensure the best practice and success for the project. The benefits of this implementation have already been proven today, and importantly more benefits will continue to become visible as Thai City Group business continues to grow.”

Prior to implementing the AS/RS system, common issues faced by Thai City Electric (SHARP) warehouse teams included limited storage capacity, shortage of manpower, and damaged goods from manual handling. The AR/RS system uses advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms for dynamic, proactive decision-making that helps move higher volumes of products and make the best possible use of valuable warehouse space. 

The main benefits to date include:

  • Doubled storage capacity from 7k to 15k pallets using one-third of manpower on the same footprint
  • Quicker order turn-around time as able to run 24 hours around the clock instead of one daily shift.
  • Greater flexibility to meet demand and supply customer
  • Better visibility of inventory management
  • Minimize the running costs, including labor costs and maintenance costs for material handling equipment
  • Reduced risk of stock variance and damage from manual work
  • Improved safety and Ergonomics for employees and a happier workplace.

“Thai City Group is a large manufacturer and distributor of small home appliances of the Sharp Brand. One of our key strategies is to adopt technology to support business growth and meet company roadmap goals. Embracing new technology to improve how we work is critical to our future success, and we recognized ABeam Consulting’s expertise and knowledge in AI technology, system integration, and SAP experience would be the best fit for us to meet our goals,” said Thai City Electric Factory Director Mr. Littikrai Phokhamanee.

“While we can say that this project is a success, there is still room for improvement as we are still in the early phases of development. For example, inbound and outbound logistics capacity has seen a significant increase, but we’ve yet to achieve our forecasted expectation of 90 pallets per hour,” added Thai City Electric Factory Director Mr. Littikrai Phokhamanee.

Thai City Group manufactures six products directly and indirectly connected with the factory. The main products are electric fans, blenders, water heaters, water dispensers, rice cookers, electric irons, and other OEM products. The AS/RS system is expected to handle more than 20,000 units per day. The AS/RS technology is fully automated, reducing the need for manpower and accompanying equipment while making more space available for storage. It occupies air space and allows aisles to be narrowed, and automation eliminates the need for people traffic space, aisles space for lift trucks, and handling equipment generally required in a manual warehouse.

One of the key concerns about introducing automated systems is the need for fewer people, but no one at Thai City Group has lost their job due to this technology. 

“There have been rotations in job functions, and our employees have benefited from learning new skills to be able to oversee the automated processes,” said Thai City Electric Factory Director
Mr. Littikrai Phokhamanee. “Most importantly, with this system, we can avoid operations-related accidents such as workers bumping into goods or into each other during hectic hours.”

The installation of the AS/RS system, complete system integration, and commissioning run together with hand-over was completed within four months of the manual warehouse being dismantled. ABeam Consulting has previously implemented the system and will continue to support Thai City Group for future improvements.

About ABeam Consulting (Thailand) Ltd.

ABeam Consulting (Thailand) Ltd. is a subsidiary of ABeam Consulting Ltd. – headquartered in Tokyo having 6,900 people serve clients throughout Asia, the Americas and Europe providing consulting services in Thailand since 2005, ABeam Consulting (Thailand) has more than 400 professionals serving clients in Thailand with expertise in business and digital transformation services that create the future together with corporations and other organizations. As a creative partner leading the way reliably through change, we contribute to industrial and societal change. 

Please contact us at contactthailand@abeam.com or visit https://www.abeam.com/th/en for more details.

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