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INTERSPORT Poland catches up with TGW's logistic solution
"Sport to the people" - that is the international slogan of INTERSPORT. As a worldwide supplier of sports equipment and accessories, INTERSPORT wants to ensure that people enjoy sporting activities. To guarantee their part of contribution maximising the joy of sports, INTERSPORT Poland strived to create a new logistics centre. TGW implemented an innovative logistics centre including an automated mini-load warehouse, a manual pallet warehouse and an extensive picking solution for the sports and fashion retail company.
The complete process of planning a new warehouse started about five years ago, when INTERSPORT implemented a new software system for its warehouse. However, INTERSPORT's fast expansion and the extended sales network demanded a new solution providing more space for new and bigger orders.
"We started to search for a solution, which could ensure fast inbound and outbound of goods in a cycle of 48 hours for inbound and 24 hours of outbound goods before sale. These were the biggest logistics problems we had to face and we focused on them. The rapid expansion of our company and development plans were hard to determine regarding the movement of goods", explains Łukasz Chmaj, Logistics Director of INTERSPORT Poland.
Among all presented solutions, INTERSPORT decided for the solution based on the mini-load storage technology, which offered the most appropriate solution for their requirements. "TGW provided Polish people for negotiations, so it was easy to establish a mutual understanding concerning language and vision. Additionally, TGW's commitment and immense willingness built mutual trust, which is necessary in such big logistic projects", says Łukasz Chmaj.
In the middle of 2008, INTERSPORT started the process of collecting applications for EU funding and could move on with the project. Six months later, the warehouse building was ready. At that time the responsibility was handed over to TGW to implement the mini-load storage and retrieval system and the conveyor technology.
New logistic solution at INTERSPORT The new logistics centre in Cholerzyn near Kraków (Poland) serves about 31 INTERSPORT stores in Poland today, and another two to five newly opened stores are added each year. Moreover, it is used for handling INTERSPORT's online sales, which are rising together with the number of shops. Today, within the 2,600 m² logistics centre, INTERSPORT operates a complete, partly automated material handling system including the entire process from the goods receiving area to dispatch and shipping to guarantee fast and proper replenishment of the company's retail stores across Poland.
During the phase of building the new central logistics, INTERSPORT was forced to find an intermediate solution to store all the items. They had to split their warehouse and to use three different buildings - a great challenge for a growing company seeking for more space to store the ever rising stock.
Preparing the expansion
With the move into the new distribution centre the Polish sports and fashion retailer now has a consolidated warehouse building. An automated mini-load storage and retrieval system cares for the replenishment of the picking workstations. In this system the goods are stored in two different sizes of plastic totes, depending on the size and quantity of each stock keeping unit (SKU). This entire part of the warehouse comprises a floor space of only 600m2. The 17,600 storage positions are served by three fully automated TGW Mustang stacker cranes, each equipped with the highly reliable Combi-telescope load handling device for double deep storage and retrieval of the totes in the rack.
The four goods-to-person picking stations are replenished from the mini-load warehouse. At these workstations the goods are picked for 31 INTERSPORT retail shops located in shopping malls in Poland's big cities and for e-commerce. These stations are multi order picking stations, as each worker handles several orders simultaneously. They are thoroughly guided by the pick-to-light systems and the CI_LOG warehouse management software, which indicate how many of each item have to be picked into which order tote. Finished order totes are then transported to the dispatch area.
In addition to the mini-load warehouse the logistics centre includes a manual pallet warehouse where larger items can be stored on 1,200 pallets. To pick directly from these pallet storage locations the workers are guided by radio controlled hand held terminals with the TGW software CI_LOG. These terminals include a scanner to identify the right storage position and article in the warehouse.
The entire process, from goods receiving through warehousing and picking to dispatch, is coordinated by the warehouse management software CI_LOG from TGW. This software suite is connected to INTERSPORT's host system, which is SAP. The interface between the host and the warehouse management system is based on IDOC messages.
Future growth of INTERSPORT Poland
The new logistics centre by TGW enables INTERSPORT to perfectly handle the challenge of expanding their business throughout Poland. It was designed to ensure INTERSPORT's successful operation for at least ten years and increases the efficiency by automated features and a highly reduced error rate. From tiny sports equipment to oversized goods - the new site enables INTERSPORT to handle all of their 50,000 stock keeping units. INTERSPORT is now equipped to handle the expected growth in e-commerce and the rising number of shops in Poland.
Łukasz Chmaj mentions three reasons to choose TGW: "First, an Austrian company is considered to be well organized and professional. Second, the people who were selling the products connected with us on a common basis. And the third - and probably most important aspect - was the price, which allowed further cooperation."
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