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f+h Intralogistics 2/2015

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f+h Intralogistics 2/2015

MATERIAL FLOW SDI

MATERIAL FLOW SDI combines sorting system for different types of products A French retail chain for fashion and lifestyle accessories set itself the challenge of combining the follow-up supply of individual items for shops with a box handling system. To do so, two sorting techniques were integrated in a single system. Eurodif is a French retail chain for fashion and lifestyle accessories in the middle price segment with an annual turnover of EUR 197 million. Since its foundation in 1980 in Brest, the company has expanded to nearly all large towns in France. Today, Eurodif operates 85 stores in strategic urban locations and sells women‘s and children‘s clothes, fashion accessories, linen goods, home textiles, as well as furniture and home accessories. The retail outlets are not typical inner city shops, but are more like wholesale outlets with a surface area of around 1,000 m 2 . This design places specific demands on the delivery of goods to ensure that demand is always met. Ensuring efficient supply to branches The fashion world with its wide range of products undergoes rapid changes, which means that the range of products changes more and more frequently. If the latest products are not available in the shop on time, this can lead to a loss of sales. This is why Eurodif finds it particularly challenging to meet the demand of the follow-up supply for its sales stock at its city stores that have such a large selection ranging from fashion accessories to furniture. The warehouse and shelf stocking in shops is completed as efficiently as possible, as it is of fundamental importance for the turnover and cost effectiveness. The dispatch of whole boxes for the follow-up supply of stores was not the best solution for the fashion division and resulted in the inefficient use of resources, a supply chain that was too slow and unnecessary costs. The company management therefore decided to optimize the structure of the delivery and follow-up supply processes. “We needed a system that would enable us to supply shops with the exact items that they required, i.e. the follow-up supply of individual items. In this way, time-consuming tasks in the shop such as unpacking and sorting on to shelves can be avoided, which sub- sequently speeds up the provision of products and increases profits,” explains Eric Helies, logistics and transport manager at Eurodif. To supply individual items, the company required a new distribution strategy, a new infrastructure, and a respective distribution centre equipped with modern picking and sorting technology so that the required high delivery frequencies could be guaranteed. The variety of the product range does, however, present some challenges that had to be overcome. Furniture and textiles are supplied in boxes so that the new system must be able to process boxes as well as individual items to optimize processes along the supply chain. From a strategic point of view, the company requires automated warehouse technology and a central location from which the stores are supplied to ensure the challenges relating to the tasks are tackled. The outcome of the decision was for Eurodif to build a new 24,000 m 2 large distribution centre. The solution for the automated warehouse technology was developed by the SDI Group and is based on two separate sorting devices being installed; a TTU (tight-turn unit) individual sorting device with indicating disks for high-speed sorting of individual items and the versatile LS900 tilt-tray sorter with which different types of products can

MATERIAL FLOW 01 The TTU high-speed sorting unit with indicating disks sorts the issued individual items into collective packages 02 Assembled collective packages and complete boxes are added to store shipments by the LS900 tilt-tray sorter be sorted. By combining the capacities of both systems, the subsequent technical requirements relating to material flow from the orders placed by the stores could be met. The TTU individual sorting device (Image 01) sorts individual items into collective packages for the individual stores. With a sorting capacity of 28,000 items per hour, the individual sorting device with indicating disks can sort products into 120 delivery points. Occasionally stores that are particularly busy may require two delivery points depending on the outstanding orders. The TTU ensures flexibility and adjusts ordering processes for individual items according to the relevant demand. The TTU can be equipped to process online orders based on a two-stage sorting process. However, online sales are currently still in the initial phase. The collective packages assembled by the individual sorting device are then transported to the LS900 tilt-tray sorter (Image 02) by the conveyor where they are combined with complete boxes from the warehouse. With a load bearing capacity of up to 35 kg per box and a conveying speed of 70 m/min, the LS900 sorts up to 5,000 boxes per hour, whereby 90 of the 120 available terminals are used for outgoing deliveries. The remaining 30 terminals are used to sort incoming products that arrive from overseas as mixed container loads. Plasticcoated rollers and spring balancers on the tilt-trays ensure minimal noise and smooth product handling. The modular design also ensures a high-level of flexibility so that the About SDI The company, SDI Group Material Handling Solutions, develops and implements complete material flow solutions for distribution centers. The range of services include advice, planning, development, as well as production, installation, and integration of logistic systems. The company‘s customers particularly come from the retail, wholesale, and e-commerce sectors. The Group operates internationally and has branches in Great Britain, the USA, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Chile. Within Europe, the Group generates an annual turnover of € 50 million and employs around 260 staff. sorter can be configured individually for specific requirements such as size and shape of the trays or the number of chutes. Following the sorting process, orders for the stores are loaded on to palettes and delivered. The installation process for the sorting system started in February 2013 and the system was completely ready for operation at the end of June of the same year. Despite the limitations due to ongoing construction work, the project was still completed on schedule and within the planned budget. Equipped for the future The investment enables Eurodif to make deliveries to stores more frequently and improve the way individual store requirements are met. The warehouses are also managed optimally, while the combined delivery of individual items and boxed products makes it easier for staff to sort it into the warehouse and on to the store shelves. Thanks to increased efficiency, the company can react faster and is better equipped to meet the growing demands of customers. This ensures the cost effectiveness and competitiveness of the company. The supply chain is now equipped for the future thanks to the automation process for the follow-up supply. Eurodif is now in a position to expand its trading network to other towns in France and into other markets. The flexible solution ensures that operation can be organized on a demand-driven basis, existing resources are used optimally and that orders placed by the stores are processed at minimal unit costs. Photos: SDI Group www.sdigroup.com f+h Intralogistics 2/2015 35

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