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Cost-efficiency and store friendly deliveries

Witron wins picking system project for Boots The Chemists

Boots The Chemists, the UK's leading health and beauty retailer, is to re-organise its UK-wide supply chain network to respond more efficiently to the fast changing UK retail market. The core of the future logistics structure will be the Store Service Centre (SSC), Boots' distribution facility in Nottingham (UK), which will replace 17 regional warehouses. Witron Logistik + Informatik GmbH, Germany, was awarded the contract to realise the SSC. Boots has opted for Witron's “Dynamic Picking System” (DPS) for small parts and “Car Picking System” (CPS) for cases. These systems will be used for centralised distribution to around 1,400 Boots The Chemists stores all over Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Concentration of the warehousing and picking processes at one site and the correct level of automation of the SSC are key advantages of the new supply chain network. The Witron systems solution was selected particularly for the high cost-efficiency of the new SSC to be expected and the introduction of store friendly deliveries. Witron also impressed decision makers with its industry know-how and the proven DPS and CPS technologies. The new systems will be integrated into existing buildings at the Nottingham site.

One of the biggest challenges in this project is the seamless replacement of the current logistics and material flow systems during ongoing operation. Witron UK Manager Karl Högen had this to say about the intensive design phase: “From the beginning, Witron as an experienced expert in design and realisation was asked to develop an optimum integration concept jointly with Boots that will ensure uninterrupted delivery capabilities during retrofitting”. With the DPS and CPS solutions, warehousing and picking will be merged to form one total system. The Bavarian systems integrator will be the general contractor, bearing overall project responsibility during all phases of the project. A total of approximately 200,000 tote storing positions, nearly 39,000 pallet storing positions and 66 stacker cranes will be installed for the automatic small parts and pallet high bay warehouses, within the picking areas and for the order consolidation buffer. The phased implementation process will span three years. Apart from reduced capital tie-up and lower stocks, Boots anticipates much higher productivity from the SSC once this large-scale project is completed.

In a complete overhaul of its supply chain network, British health and beauty retailer Boots The Chemists is to centralise all its warehousing and picking operations at the future Store Service Centre (SSC) in Nottingham (UK). The winning bidder for the large-scale order to realise the SCC was systems integrator Witron.

Witron Logistik + Informatik GmbH was founded in 1971 with its headquarters in Parkstein (Eastern Bavaria/Germany) and today ranks among the leading design and realisation companies of automated logistics system solutions. Numerous national and international market leaders of industry and trade rely on the multidisciplinary and intersectoral competence Witron has gathered during 35 years of implementing more than 2,000 specific logistics projects in a wide variety of industries. As general contractor, Witron takes responsibility for budgets, deadlines and functionality during all project phases, starting with concept and design, all the way through installation, the complete realisation phase of logistics installation and the system ramp-up phase. By means of a Customer Support Partnership, users can benefit from Witron's know-how even after project completion for their systems' complete life cycle.

At the end of the 2005 financial year, the Witron group of companies employed 720 people worldwide, about 590 of them in Germany. The annual turnover in 2004 came to 200 million Euros. Further subsidiaries for business development and customer support are located in Arlington Heights/Illinois (USA), Buckinghamshire (UK) and Venray (Netherlands).

WITRON Engineering,
Town Hall,
Penn Road,
Buckinghamshire, HP9 2PP,
Great Britain

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