Netherlands' leading health and beauty retail company, Kruidvat, a subsidiary of the worldwide operating A.S. Watson group of companies, is planning to build a new automated warehouse and picking system for retail distribution in Heteren (NL). The technological solution that has been selected is the “Dynamic Picking System” (DPS) of the Dutch Witron Engineering BV, which belongs to the German Witron group of companies. Kruidvat enjoys a strong brand awareness throughout The Netherlands and Belgium where they operate roughly 900 stores. With the DPS system solution, the Dutch health and beauty retailer will possess sufficient logistics capacities to further promote the growth of its branch network. Additionally, DPS will enable to significantly reduce the costs per item picked. Because DPS is a Witron developed turnkey solution for fast and efficient picking of small-sized and tote compatible articles. As general contractor the Dutch logistics experts will fully integrate the DPS until a project handover to Kruidvat in February 2008.
The distinctive elements of Kruidvat's DPS are the largely dynamic provision of storage totes into the picking channels and the spacious combination of the warehouse with the picking zone. The picking work stations are equipped with data terminals and will be located in aisles on two levels directly within the automated small parts warehouse. A total of 18 picking workstations will enable access to 3,150 picking channels, all equipped with pick-by-light displays. In accordance with the incoming orders, four automated cranes (AS/RS) will replenish the picking channels with storage totes. Continuously, Witron's Warehouse Management System determines the allocation of the picking channels. Thus only those storage totes that are needed for current orders will be placed in the pickfront. Totes with products that will not be picked within a foreseeable period of time will be returned to the automated small parts warehouse by the cranes. This warehouse offers enough space to store up to 45,900 standard sized storage totes. The dynamic allocation of the picking channels is managed against multifaceted parameters – such as order volume, product classification, or order history. For the consolidation of the orders the general contractor will add an “Order Consolidation Buffer” (OCB) with room for nearly 3,000 totes. Three compact AS/RS cranes make sure that up to 1,200 totes are consolidated to orders per hour. The order totes are automatically fitted with lids, stacked and finally palletised.
By the beginning of Q4 2007 the new warehouse and picking solution is expected to handle around 3,000 articles out of the Kruidvat assortment for a performance of approximately 130,000 pick units at peak days.
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