Fashion Logistics Perfection

A new logistics center by SSI Schaefer has recently become operational for omni-channel distribution by the Finnish Stockmann Group, one of the leading retail companies in Scandinavia and the Baltics. A combination of hanging and flat goods and a design concept based on Schaefer’s 3D-MATRIX Solution® facilitates the order processing of both over-the-counter and online trade from one single distribution facility.

The capacities of four former warehouse locations were consolidated in the new facility at Tuusula. It houses about 100,000 different products – more than 1.8 million individual items in total. “All types of articles – from large products to cosmetics and decorative items to hanging textile goods – are now bundled together in one location for every distribution channel,” explains Stockmann’s Logistics Manager, Elina Laine. “The distribution centre is the central component of our omni-channel strategy.”

In the middle of October, Stockmann held its thirtieth “Hullut Päivät” – literally ‘Crazy Days’ – five-day discount event. In this period, 1.4 million items were sold at the Group’s stores, including the flagship store in Helsinki. With more than 50,000 m² of retail space over eight floors, it is the largest department store in Finland and one of the largest in Europe. Over one million customers also visited the online shop during this period, with shoppers unpacking their internet orders the very next day.

To overcome seasonal peaks like these and to build a firm foundation for further growth and the expansion of the firm’s operations, Stockmann in recent years completely overhauled its corporate logistics and became geared towards omni-channeling. The new operation is based on a system concept with the latest, future-proof automation components, a picking strategy according to the goods-to-person principle and a high-performance warehouse management system that coordinates the completion of orders for the different distribution channels. “An intelligent material flow concept, innovative system technology and attractive after-sales services for reliably supplying all distribution channels from a single installation,” are how Laine explains the decision to opt for SSI Schaefer. “SSI Schaefer offered us a thoroughly coherent overall package for long-term efficiency and investment security.”

SSI Schaefer developed a solution that organises the complex order handling processes into clear structures. By considering how to make the most efficient use of the 29,000 m² of warehouse space available, the automation components and IT installed guarantee the requisite performance levels. Furthermore, a five-strong team of technicians – provided on location and round the clock as part of SSI Resident Maintenance® concept – ensure for the continual maintenance and constant availability of the installation.

The centerpiece of the concept is a shuttle system with 130,500 bin storage locations for double-deep storage. The warehouse was designed according to SSI Schaefer’s 3D-MATRIX Solution®. Forty-five shuttle lifts and 72 multi-level Navette shuttles guarantee the maximum availability and efficiency of the processes. “We were already looking for a shuttle solution when we issued the call for tenders,” adds Logistics Manager, Laine. “The modular and scalable solution concept from SSI Schaefer impressed us immediately, as it provides our business with that all-important flexibility.” Furthermore, a pallet rack warehouse with 7,800 storage locations to replenish picking locations and a three-level hanging goods warehouse for more than 350,000 garments characterise the installation’s design.

“The material flows for store and eCommerce orders had been consistently separated due to the different shipment packaging and transport service providers,” says Rami Syrjä, Sales Manager for SSI Schaefer in Finland. “Coordinating this, structuring it according to staging times and different priorities and maintaining this all in perfect balance across a single installation presents a considerable challenge for the design of the warehouse management system.” Stockmann opted for SSI Schaefer’s WAMAS® logistics software. This is responsible for stock management, process control for a coordinated order completion and also offers complete transparency via its visualisation components.

The system as a whole is currently designed to have a performance of 55,000 order items with 180,000 articles per day. The innovative concept has already proven itself: “In the new distribution centre we are now able to complete orders for department stores and online orders much more quickly and transparently than before,” summarises Stockmann’s Logistics Manager, Laine. “The thoroughly scalable system concept also offers us a high degree of flexibility for our variable range of articles and leeway for further growth. SSI Schaefer’s solution has thoroughly impressed us.”