As outdoor specialist Jack Wolfskin has been constantly growing by more than 20% every year, the company’s warehousing and logistics systems were bursting at the seams. For this reason, the company turned to TGW to outfit a new distribution centre featuring TGW’s innovative storage and order picking systems. This new Jack Wolfskin distribution center involved a conversion of the entire logistics organisation, and now supplies all of Europe.
Leading technologies and decades of application experience are in every JACK WOLFSKIN product, turning "At Home Outdoors" into a reality for the end consumer. It only makes sense that the market leader for outdoor equipment in Europe also relies on a partner that can prove its technical lead and corresponding implementation know-how in this area for the design and realisation of its new distribution centre. "TGW was able to demonstrate the necessary reputation, experience, and competence so that we were able to feel secure in our choice," Christian Brandt says, who is also responsible for the area of logistics as the CFO of Jack Wolfskin.
The new logistics centre, located in Neu Wulmstorf, Germany (near Hamburg) completely relies on direct carton handling – pallets, trays, or other additional load carriers are not needed. Jack Wolfskin’s Logistics Manager Uta Mohr explains: "Very early in the planning process, it became clear to us that we wanted to work without trays or additional load carriers since that would not be a solution for us, but rather merely an aid for the AS/RS technology. We also looked at other solutions, but only TGW had the courage to say from the beginning, 'This is what we want do with your cartons.' TGW also provided us with a competitive offer for an efficient solution that adds up not just on paper."
The new logistics centre brought Jack Wolfksin not only the use of new material handling automation technology, but also led to extensive changes in the organisation and to a complete replacement in the old IT system. For so many changes, it was absolutely necessary that the entire project should lie in the hands of a general contractor. "We do not want to be at the interface otherwise we would always be in the situation that every subsupplier makes excuses to the others," Uta Mohr says. "The integration of technology and IT is also the decisive point that makes such projects a success or failure." TGW was able to clearly fulfil these requirements and complete the project together with Jack Wolfskin without a single day's interruption of operations. "We exchanged the IT systems and technology and radically changed the organisation and process, all while moving to a new distribution center. None of our customers noticed. To be honest, I wasn't really expecting that," Brandt says enthusiastically.
The core of the new logistics centre is TGW’s automatic carton warehouse. The automatic carton warehouse stores the delivered cartons directly and without additional load carriers in the triple-depth storage structure using Twister technology. "For us, it was decisive that, using a triple-deep solution, TGW managed to create an optimum ratio between storage capacity and storage density with sufficient dynamics at an acceptable relation to the investment volume. No other company offered such a solution," Brandt says. In the first step, a 12-aisle warehouse with 210,000 storage locations for cartons was realized. In two additional steps, whereby the first can already be realized now, the warehouse can be expanded to a total of 19 aisles and almost 310,000 storage locations.
"TGW managed to guide us out of the Stone Age into the modern era of logistics," Christian Brandt says in conclusion. "It not only managed to implement a solution, but it included our entire company and organisation. We had no know-how or experience, no figures, and no history in automation technology. A company needs a lot of experience, expertise, and sense of responsibility in order to complete such a project successfully in its entirety."
Jack Wolfskin is thus obviously proud of its new distribution centre in Neu Wulmstorf, not least because it was completed and fully operational just in time for the start of the Autumn/Winter season 2010. "We have 150 permanent employees here and, now, at the start of the season, about 150 temporary employees with whom we can cover the demand in two-shift operation for the very first time," Uta Mohr says.