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John Lewis scoops logistics award

Leading retailer, John Lewis Partnership, has won a prestigious award in recognition of its use of technology – supplied by Knapp – at its flagship national distribution centre in Milton Keynes.

John Lewis received the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport’s Annual Award for Excellence 2011 in the category of ‘Materials Handling Equipment and Technology’. The accolade was presented to John Munnelly, Senior Project Manager (Distribution) for John Lewis, at a gala awards dinner held recently at a top London hotel.

The award recognises John Lewis’ overhaul of its distribution systems, undertaken not only to maintain the company’s competitive edge in traditional retailing but also to create a platform on which to grow the firm’s e-commerce business. Commented John Munnelly, "We are very proud to have won this award, which justly recognises a fantastic effort by a great team. Our distribution operations have been optimised through excellent co-operation with our suppliers, including Knapp. Our journey is not over yet," continued Mr Munnelly, "as the system is still evolving, but we are very confident in its ability to adapt to our changing business needs."

In 2009, John Lewis invested in a 750,000 sq ft, state-of-the-art national distribution centre (NDC) at Magna Park. This housed a £28 million automated warehouse solution from Knapp that featured over 12 km of conveyors and which John Lewis has continued to develop to meet the needs of its expanding multichannel business.

A staggering 95% of products from the NDC arrive at John Lewis’ 29 department stores and 6 John Lewis At Home stores as shelf-ready, single products, organised by department. Given that each individual store is laid out differently, these store-friendly deliveries are no mean feat. Using pick-to-light technology, the Knapp systems achieve pick rates of about 750 items per hour and picking accuracy of 99.7%.

Commented David James, Managing Director of Knapp UK Ltd, "We are absolutely delighted that the continuing trading success of John Lewis Partnership has vindicated its ambitious investment at Magna Park, and that the vision and sheer hard work of the company’s supply chain team have been recognised publicly with this prestigious award. With John Lewis now forecasting £1 billion of direct-to-customer sales for the year 2012-13," added David James, "automation will undoubtedly continue to feature strongly in the company’s distribution strategy."

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