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Harrods appoints SSI Schaefer to fit-out its new distribution centre in Thatcham, Newbury

The luxury retailer is currently relocating its entire warehouse operations to Berkshire from its existing site in Osterley, West London.

Work is underway in the 240,000sq ft centre, now known as TVDC, with the aim of being fully operational by mid-2012 and SSI Schaefer have already installed narrow aisle pallet racking that will provide immediate additional storage capacity and meet the requirements for future sales and growth of the business.

SSI Schaefer are also designing, supplying and installing a fully integrated and automated storage, handling and picking system.

The system will comprise; a four aisle miniload cranes system, transport, replenishment and picking conveyors, automated goods to man workstations with pick by light technology, medium item shelving, man up order picking in very narrow aisle (VNA) pallet racking to 12 metres, unique big ticket high bay racking integrated with special large product order picker machines, process area workstations for inbound stock handling and outbound store preparation, 10,000 store delivery totes and handling equipment.

Simon Finch, Deputy Director, Distribution, Harrods, said: "From the outset of this project we were looking for a turnkey supplier that could project manage the entire fit-out of the warehouse, and we found this in SSI Schaefer. Their expertise in systems integration, design, installation, delivery and on-going service and maintenance support proved to be a winning formula for such a relocation project of this size."

In addition, SSI Schaefer have been given sole responsibility for the implementation of SAP’s latest Warehouse Management Software, EWM – Extended Warehouse Management – into the new centre, due to their in-house expertise and ability to configure and deploy EWM.

SAP EMW will provide Harrods with a high level of process and inventories transparency, a precise planning of warehouse steps as well as efficient distribution and storage processes, managing both the manual and automated processes.

The new warehouse will hold some 10,000 product lines while many more SKUs will be cross-docked and delivered to the Knightsbridge store continually throughout the day from its convenient location off the M4.

The project represents a major investment for Harrods and a long term commitment to SSI Schaefer who will provide on-site resident maintenance.

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