French fashion and home furnishings retailer, Eurodif, tackled the challenges of mixing ‘single piece’ and ‘full carton’ deliveries by integrating two types of sortation technology from SDI Group.
Eurodif is a €197m turnover French fashion and home furnishings retailer. Management realised they needed to make a step-change in store fulfilment.
Sending complete cartons was not the best approach for fashion retailing and resulted in poor use of inventory, a slow and unresponsive supply chain, and unnecessary costs. The company needed to move to replenishment in single pieces.
The new operation needed to cater for both single items and cartons to optimise performance.
Eurodif opted for constructing a 240,000 sq ft distribution centre near Troyes, to the south east of Paris, and in October 2011, SDI Group was commission to build a highly automated warehouse. Two of the company’s latest sorters were to be deployed – SDI’s TTU bomb-bay/split-tray sorter for the high-speed sortation of single items and SDI’s LS900, a highly versatile and fast tilt-tray sortation system capable of handling a wide variety of loads.
By use the specific capabilities of both machines orders for stores would be brought together in a sequenced manner. The TTU (tight turn unit) would sort single items into multi sku cartons per store and then these cartons would be transferred by conveyor to the LS900 which would merge and accumulate cartons from both the TTU and the full carton inventory. Store orders would then be prepared as pallet loads and despatched. Installation got underway in February 2013 and the system was fully operational by the end of June.
The TTU sorter offers Eurodif the flexibility to scale their single item order processes to varying patterns of demand. With the capacity to sort up to 28,000 pieces an hour the bomb-bay style sorter delivers goods to 120 chutes, with busy stores often assigned two or more chutes, depending on orders. In future the sorter may well be used for preparing internet orders using a two stage sortation process.
The LS900 tilt-tray carton sorter is a robust unit designed for low-maintenance and uses proven SDI Group technology to deliver packages and loads up to 35kg at a speed of 70m per minute. At Eurodif the LS900 is used to sort cartons at a rate of up to 4,000 items an hour, but of the 120 chutes available on the machine only 90 are used for outgoing orders. The remaining 30 are deployed to sort incoming goods arriving in mixed container loads from overseas.
“Investing in SDI technology has enabled our company to replenish our stores more frequently and in a way that is in tune with the needs of the individual store. Stock rooms are less cluttered and delivering in single items, as well as in full cartons, makes it easier for staff to re-stock the shelves,” says Eric Helies at Eurodif.