Every day, Esprit ships up to 25,000 packages to its customers. In order to achieve and keep these capacities and to offer the customer appropriate service, Esprit trusts the logistics know-how of fashion logistics specialist Fiege and technological competencies of systems integrator TGW.
Esprit’s Distribution Center Europe (DCE) in Mönchengladbach, Germany, supplies all retail and wholesale shops in Europe. The distribution center is designed to handle up to 150 million articles per year. 85 % of Esprit’s revenue are generated in the warehouse in Mönchengladbach, which provides exclusively Esprit flat garments.
The requirements of the new logistics centre were high. Performance was a crucial aspect as well as the opportunity to provide the exact, customer specific sequencing of single items. This was the reason for TGW to offer the DropBox solution for Esprit.
The DropBox solution is the answer to store-specific sortation in the shipping carton. For each shop the required sequence of packing the articles can be determined according to the sequence of the goods in the shops. Thus, the shop employees need little time to replenish the stores’ shelves.
The storage of cartons in the automated mini-load warehouse is done by 36 TGW Mustang stacker cranes with more than 202,000 carton storage locations. Cartons are stored double-deep until they are retrieved and transported to the picking workstations.
The DropBox system works on two levels and allows for extremely strong performances with regards to picking and packing power as those two processes are separated from each other. At 45 picking workstations the goods are picked from the cartons and packed into provided DropBox order totes. One order line means one DropBox – only this way, the sequencing according to SKUs can be made without problems.
Due to the ergonomic workstation arrangement and the easy picking processes, pick performances of 1,000 items per hour and picking workstation can be achieved.
Packing takes place in the correct sequence, secured by a multi-level fully automated sortation system. This pre and fine sortation is based on a mathematical algorithm (Radixsort) and is realized with TGW Natrix sorters. As a result, the sequencing buffer provides the packing employee with the goods in the exact sequence how they should be found in the carton. Up to 1,600 items per hour can be packed on those workstations.
The implementation of the new DCE in Mönchengladbach was a success for both Esprit and Fiege as well as for TGW. “The dimensions of the project are hard to grasp at first sight. Therefore, it was implemented in five building phases,” said Herbert Marquardt, Managing Director of Fiege. “To avoid long assembly times, parts of the installations were commissioned in modules. This means that certain parts had already been commissioned while others were just starting with the assembly.” All people involved are more than happy with the logistics centre. “Maybe the most important success factor was that all teams involved were on site from the start, working in close collaboration,” recalls Axel Witte, Head of Global Warehousing at Esprit. “Only in this way we were able to implement the interfaces without problems.” According to Witte, the greatest challenge was the SAP integration. “Our biggest challenge – and all parties involved agree on that – was the SAP integration, or rather the interface from SAP to the material flow controls,” added Witte. “Together we were able to make it all work and now we have a unique distribution centre.”
“Maybe the most important success metric was that all teams involved were on site from the start, working in close collaboration. Only in this way we were able to implement the interfaces without problems.”