Tommy Hilfiger boosts productivity by 40pc

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Tommy Hilfiger has improved the service level to stores in time for Christmas after upgrading its Vanderlande automated system.

As part of its international expansion, the fashion label took over an automated warehouse/distribution centre in Venlo, the Netherlands in 2006 after the original owner changed its plans and decided to sell the property.

When Hilfiger acquired the warehouse it adapted the facility to suit its needs so contacted Vanderlande which implemented the original system.

Vanderlande implemented its Vision warehouse control system, interfaced with Hilfiger’s SAP ERP system.

After a period of steady growth, and with new customer demands creating new challenges, Hilfiger was keen to upgrade its system again.

In 2009 Hilfiger and Vanderlande planned a further system expansion, designed to improve service level to stores and make sure the right products arrive in store at exactly the right time.

The expansion has just gone into operation, in time for Hilfiger’s Christmas peak season and spring 2011 delivery season.

In the new warehouse logistics process, three additional miniload ASRS and one additional consolidation workstation have been integrated into the consolidation system.

Storage capacity has been doubled to 13,000 locations. Picked order cartons are transported from de-palletising workstations and stored directly into the QuickStore miniload ASRS.

Because the new ASRS and conveyor system is able to handle cartons, Hilfiger no longer needs to put a tray underneath.

The main advantages are higher storage density in the miniload ASRS system and a simplified and more ergonomic operator process.

The company estimates that this will lead to an operator productivity increase of 40 per cent in the consolidation area.

The order consolidation system is particularly helpful in preparation for peak seasons as products can be picked well in advance and placed in the order consolidation system.

When the order needs to be delivered it can be retrieved from the buffer automatically and delivered to the stores at exactly the right time.

Vanderlande will also upgrade the system’s PLC from S5 to S7 level. This will bring the system to the highest industry standard.

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