Picking Solution<br>Enables 24-h-Delivery - TGW in the loop |01/2015 - Magazine - TGW Logistics Group
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TGW in the loop 01/2015


Picking Solution
Enables 24-h-Delivery



Picking Solution
Enables 24-h-Delivery

"If you place an order online, it is in the truck 28 minutes later and on its way to the customer"
More than 65,000 items are prepared and shipped in the new TGW logistics centre of Thomann. The huge growth of the Thomann empire with up to 2,500 customers on a normal Saturday and the booming e-commerce result in almost four million customers from 18 countries, who order regularly at the world’s biggest music retailer in Treppendorf.

Customer benefits

  • Order throughput reduced to 28 minutes
  • Highly flexible system for sensitive musical items
  • Optimised picking process for various classes of goods
  • Combination of automated and manual storage
  • Goods coordination through packing supported by robust IT system

Over proportional growth through
assortment and service

The massive building was exclusively built for the new logistics system.
We stretched our limits with the old system
... explains Hans Thomann, owner of Musikhaus Thomann. After the initial phase, the automated pallet warehouse had a capacity of 11,000 storage positions. Through the rapid success of Thomann, the storage has already been expanded by another 7,000 storage positions. Five stacker cranes assure automated storage and retrieval of the goods. The automated mini-load warehouse consists of four aisles and two TGW Mustang stacker cranes each, which in total reach more than 1,000 double cycles per hour. All in all, 70,000 storage positions are available in the mini-load warehouse. However, the storage function is not as important as the supply of the picking processes, especially with the high number of small goods which demands fast access to the stored items. The small items picking for fast movers is processed on a flow rack channel. For slow movers, separated goods-to-person stations were installed. The supply of goods and empty totes is fully automated concerning the small items picking process. In the manual picking area, the goods are prepared on pallets. For the picking, forklifts and picking vehicles with radio frequency controls are available and show the employees which rack bay has to be approached. The picked goods are then fed into the sorter loop from nine induct stations. Two packing areas prepare the orders for shipping. Bigger orders are transported via the sorter to one of the 32 workstations equipped with two target lanes each, whereas smaller orders are handled in other parts of the installation.

The installation’s top C

We took the path of the Natrix Sorter, which is a rather untraditional way. We do not have a buffer – the software is extremely important
... says Hans Thomann about the new installation. The requirements for the software were a challenge for both Thomann and TGW. Hans Thomann, owner of Musikhaus ThomannHans Thomann, owner of Musikhaus Thomann The software controls of the installation based on TGW’s software suite CI_LOG stays on top of the complex installation. The software assures that all single items of an order arrive at the Natrix Sorter in the fastest way possible. Both the picked items from the mini-load warehouse and those of the pallet storage find their way almost simultaneously to the packing stations. As there is no buffer, the software is responsible for all picking procedures to happen at the right time. The coordination of those procedures can be seen as the installation’s top C.

Everything for the customer

With the new system, the order throughput could be reduced to 28 minutes, which is not only important for online customers but also for customers waiting in the store. The highly flexible system for sensitive musical items such as expensive e-guitars optimised the picking processes for various classes of goods. The adequate handling of the numerous product groups is assured by the combination of an automated and a manual storage. However, the strong IT solution controls the coordination of the goods until the packing procedures. To watch a video of the Thomann distribution center, please click here.