Holland & Barrett e-commerce

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In August, NBTY Europe, the parent company of the UK retail brand Holland & Barrett awarded SSI Schaefer with a contract to provide an automated system to revolutionise its e-commerce capabilities.

Holland & Barrett serves more than 620 retail outlets across the UK and Ireland from its central DC in Burton-on-Trent.

With continuous online product offers the e-commerce operation required its own dedicated stock to be held separately from the retail stock.

To increase the required available storage space, SSI Schaefer built a two-tier mezzanine floor and installed mesh-deck pallet racking beneath it for bulk products. Products are separated with bulk items on the ground floor, vitamins, herbals, minerals and supplements on the first floor, and food and miscellaneous product on the top floor.

A flexible zone picking system operates on both floors allowing shipping cartons to travel only to the zones that hold order-required products which may be located on both floors. Travel between floors is via an extensive conveyor system which also connects all levels and culminates in a series of packing benches where the cartons have documents inserted and are sealed and labelled.

The operation is controlled by SSI Schaefer’s WAMAS C warehouse control system which interfaces with NBTY’s own stock system.

Mark Kendrick, group distribution director at NBTY Europe says: “We are delighted with SSI Schaefer’s new automated system which provides us with a faster, more efficient, and accurate operation in meeting our online requirements.

“The system operates many times faster than our old manual operation and financial gains will be realised as the business accelerates upwards and onwards as it has done year-on-year. Our increased picking accuracy has also increased our overall customer satisfaction and the floor design has given us a much larger SKU location potential in such a modest footprint.”

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