AMR-s implementation: among Europe’s largest

A well-known Dutch fashion brand is the main customer of Radial’s distribution center in Groningen, the Netherlands. This ecommerce retailer introduces new products every Wednesday, resulting in a wide variety of SKUs and frequent changes to them.

They started outsourcing ecommerce fulfillment to Radial with a manual facility in Zwolle. However, from the very beginning, it was clear that this was a short-term solution. With tens of thousands of box locations, a vast array of products and late cut-off times, fulfilling all orders during sale or peak was a real challenge. Introducing automation to serve this customer was a necessity.

Challenges of manual fulfillment

The biggest challenges of the manual fulfillment operations were:

  • Increasingly growing footprint
  • Fulfilling orders within a single shift
  • Risk of errors due to numerous locations
  • Maintaining operational quality


Radial faced with manual fulfillment

  • 40 000
    box locations
  • 20 000
  • 2km
    picking line
  • 1,5h
    cutoff time

Cooperation with Dematic

The need for more efficient storage and increased picking productivity led Radial to seek a hybrid solution capable of handling bulky and small goods and a new location in the Netherlands. At quite an early stage, the AMR system was recognised as best for this line type.

After a thorough search, Radial partnered with Dematic, the intelligent automation technology supplier, a KION Group member, and their strategic partner, Quicktron. Radial moved operations to a modern, greenfield facility with a BREEAM very good certificate located in Groningen.

Farly Orie, Managing Director and Market Leader Benelux & Nordics, Dematic, explains:

“Radial came to us wanting to optimize the customer experience while having more efficiencies in its processes and flexibility within its warehouse, so we examined several technologies and were convinced that a solution involving AMRs would be the ideal response to achieving these goals.

He adds: “The solution we developed with Radial plainly demonstrates what we can deliver in terms of innovative fulfillment solutions customized to specific customer requirements. Radial also benefitted from our end-to-end expertise when it comes to concept development, installation, and customer service.”

AMR tote lifter in Groningen can lift and lower totes, allowing for efficient loading and unloading operations. This feature enables it to access totes stored at different heights within the warehouse


Our way to automation

2021, Autumn: the start of work on the new automated solution.

2022, Autumn: the project was well underway. Construction of the racks had commenced, and the pick tower, utilizing ground-level shelves, had already been completed. Radial, in collaboration with Quicktron, began software testing.

2023, March: field testing on the floor was completed. Rigorous testing was essential as Radial couldn’t afford any downtime in operations for its fashion client.

2023, May: the system successfully went live.

Automation components

in Radial’s facility in Groningen

  • 45
    pick-and-pack stations
  • 299
  • 600
    pallet rack locations
  • 64 000
    tote rack locations

This wasn’t just about deploying AMRs; it was about designing and implementing a large-scale, integrated goods-to-person system where robots seamlessly collaborate with up to 200 human employees.

Francis De Backer, Managing Director, Dematic NV

Benefits of the semi-automated solution

  • Dense storage in high racks optimizes space utilization, ensuring ample storage capacity for the future
  • Flexibility offered by multi-client semi-automated solution
  • Scalability due to the ease of expanding rack sections and integrating more AMRs
  • Operational safety
Daniel Falkena, Radial Europe, Groningen

Daniel Falkena, Performance Manager, Radial:

“What sets this solution apart is that we have a shelf-to-person solution and a tote-to-person solution.

All our 10  picking stations are hybrid. Whether it’s receiving a shelf with a pallet box, a shelf with goods already boxed, or having totes presented directly at the station, our system offers flexibility and efficiency“.

Increased picking speed

The goods-to-the-person solution eliminates the need for employees to walk long distances. With AMR robots handling this task, the picking speed has greatly increased.

Previously, it took up to 2 hours to complete the picking line, but now, it’s a matter of minutes. This also resulted in substantial improvements in the packing operations.

Goods-to-the-person solution installed in Groningen increased the picking speed

Increased productivity

thanks to advanced robotics and AI technologies

  • 50%
    reduced footprint
  • 150%
    higher packing efficiency
  • 400%
    higher picking efficiency

Ruben Tiben, Operations Manager, Radial:

“The system itself, along with the totes and screens, is much more user-friendly, making it easy for our employees to operate.

Additionally, training new employees has become significantly easier. In the manual warehouse, it took considerable time, but now, it only takes an hour for new employees to reach their targets”.

Ruben Tiben in a black shirt standing in Radial's distribution warehouse in Groningen

Maximizing picking accuracy

Picking mistakes are reduced due to the AMR system presenting only one tote at a time, minimizing the chances of errors. However, some errors may still occur during stock inbound processes.

The system incorporates several intelligent features, such as prompting confirmation when a tote appears empty after picking the last item.

Radial’s employee fulfills customer orders by picking fashion items from the shelves

Safe and versatile

The installed AMR is operationally safe. Sensors and cameras detect obstacles and can reconfigure the route accordingly. In addition, the solution has powerful controls and software which allow AMR-s to make simple and quick adjustments during operation.

Ron Kleinsmit, Radial Europe, Groningen

Ron Kleinsmit, Site Manager, Radial Groningen:

“Our goal was to strike a balance between manual and automated processes, and I believe we’ve achieved that. We optimise operations by incorporating human operators and fine-tuning processes. People contribute intellect, effort, and experience.

A 100% manual process wouldn’t meet the market’s demands, and a fully automated approach is neither optimal nor aligns with Radial’s values. We value people and recognise their indispensable roles. Ultimately, the individuals behind the processes and the company genuinely matter. This belief is fundamental to us”.

Combination of AMR-s for efficient processing  

Processing fashion e-commerce orders in the Radial facility in Groningen takes three types of AMR-s.

Pallet-carrying AMR-s transport pallet racks from the pallet infeed stations to the storage area. From there, they are brought to any picking station on demand. The same robot also transfers moveable put-walls from a picking station to the appropriate packing station.

Vertical tote carriers transfer totes with received goods from the buffer zone to the respective rack storage locations (single or double deep). At the same time, they bring down any totes that contain goods to be picked down and put them in the buffer zone. The racking system has a capacity of approximately 64,000 totes for end-customer goods.

Horizontal tote carriers, the workhorses of the fleet, bring totes from the inbound area to the buffer zone under the racks and pick up totes from there that have goods that need to be picked and delivered at the required picking stations.

Pallet mover AMRs transport goods and materials throughout the warehouse using environmental features to safely navigate around people, equipment, and inventory

Automated system specification

The system implemented by Dematic in Groningen includes the following solutions:

Processing stations

  • 3 Pallet infeed stations
  • 10 Tote Inbound stations
  • 10 Picking stations (hybrid tote-to-person & pallet-to-person)
  • 35 Packing stations

Quicktron Fleet

  • 299 AGVs
    • 50 C56 vertical tote carriers, max. 30 kg carrying capacity each
    • 44 M60 horizontal pallet/shelf carriers, max. 600 kg carrying capacity each
    • 205 M5B horizontal tote carriers, max. 30 kg carrying capacity each


  • 600 pallet rack locations
  • 64K tote rack locations
  • 52 movable put walls for the pick to pack, with 6 slots each
  • 1.573 tote buffer locations

Embrace efficiency with automation