Kruidvat finds beauty in Witron’s dynamic picking

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Kruidvat, a Dutch health and beauty retailer and a subsidiary of the AS Watson group, is building an automated warehouse and picking system for its distribution operation in Heteren, The Netherlands.

It is adopting Witron Engineering’s turnkey dynamic picking system. Kruidvat operates around 900 stores. 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.

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 are placed at the pick front. Totes with products that are not required immediately are 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 order volume, product classification and order history. 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. Kruidvat’s new operation is expected to handle around 3,000 articles by the fourth quarter of 2007.

Witron also installed a similar system in Nottingham for Boots The Chemists. In a complete overhaul of its supply chain network, Boots centralised its warehousing and picking operations at the future Store Service Centre in Nottingham.

The Nottingham site is replacing 17 regional warehouses. Witron installed the Dynamic Picking System for small parts and Car Picking System for cases.

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