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Automated storage plugs into productivity

Online electronics retailer upgrades its DC with automated storage system to keep up with increase in sales.
By Lorie King Rogers, Associate Editor
December 01, 2011

As the largest online retailer in Scandinavia delivering PCs, PC components and other related electronic equipment to more than 700,000 customers, Komplett’s inventory capacity, accuracy and speed of order fulfillment are critical to maintaining its market position. 

For more than a decade, Komplett filled its orders manually. But as sales grew and the product line expanded to more than 10,000 SKUs, its need for increased inventory capacity, additional pick faces and a streamlined order fulfillment process solution reached a critical level. The manual operation couldn’t keep up with the order volumes and the market demands for speed and accuracy.

After reviewing a number of automation options, Komplett upgraded its DC with an automated storage and fulfillment system (Swisslog, designed for dense storage and efficient piece and small case picking. The system is made up of a three-dimensional grid of self-supporting bins that are moved to pick stations by independently operating robots. Each robot has two sets of wheels that enable it to move in multiple directions, making it possible for each robot to reach any position on the grid. Each of Komplett’s 55 robots is equipped with a lift for picking up, carrying and putting the system’s 34,000 bins stored in the grid.

“We like that the system provides the most compact storage possible for our inventory and continuously reconfigures the position of SKUs based on those used most,” says Pal Asbjorn Vindegg, Komplett’s CEO. “This provides for optimum efficiency.”

From its newly automated 270,000-square-foot central distribution center, Komplett prepared and shipped 1.4 million orders in 2010. The result is a DC that provides a streamlined capability for order processing. 

“Since we completed the DC automation, our man hours have reduced and our order volumes have increased,” says Vindegg. “We doubled our inventory storage capability and increased productivity by 30%, all within the same building footprint.”

About the Author

Lorie King Rogers
Associate Editor

Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.

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