Boston Scientific implements ‘contactless’ distribution in DC

Boston Scientific is aiming for ‘contactless’ distribution at its distribution centre (DC) in Kerkrade, the Netherlands. It first started automating the DC back in 2013. The manufacturer and distributor of medical products has now taken the next step by implementing Inther Group’s Automated Document Applicator (ADA).

Every year, 24 million patients worldwide are helped thanks to one or more of the 13,000-plus solutions from Boston Scientific, a ‘med tech’ giant with locations in over a hundred countries worldwide. Every day, the distribution centre in Kerkrade ships approximately 60,000 medical products in an average of 5,000 boxes.

Due to these huge volumes, Boston Scientific was looking for an innovative and fully automatic system for printing the packing slips and attaching them to the boxes. It found the solution in Inther Group’s Automated Document Applicator (ADA).

Manual labelling

Up until recently Boston Scientific attached all documentation to the outside of the shipping cartons manually, which was a very time-consuming process. To facilitate future growth, it was necessary to automate that process, and the ADA offered Boston Scientific the ideal solution – not least because it can automatically print, fold and attach multiple pages to the exterior of a box. The company first started using one Automated Document Applicator in 2017 and has recently purchased its second.

Because Inther Group’s solution extracts the relevant data from SAP, it knows exactly which products are in each box. From there, the correct documentation is printed automatically, including a complete order list. “Thanks to the Automated Document Applicator we can now attach the right documentation and a shipping label to all our orders fully automatically,” says Jack Frijns, Director Engineering at Boston Scientific.

‘Failure is not an option’

“In our business, we have to ship all the orders by the end of each day. Failure is not an option here, because tomorrow morning there will be patients on operating tables who need those medical products. In that respect, we need a high degree of stability – and that’s what the Automated Document Applicator provides. This solution is fully integrated inline into the total conveyor system at our DC in Kerkrade,” adds Frijns. With its two ADA machines, Boston Scientific is now well prepared for the anticipated future growth.