Projects / Retail / Distribution / INEX optimizes merchandise logistics
INEX optimizes merchandise logistics
Since April 2012, the Finnish logistics service provider INEX Partners, subsidiary of the trade company SOK, has been storing and picking all of its general merchandise products automatically at its site in Sipoo. It is considered one of the largest and most capable systems in Scandinavia. The “Dynamic Picking System (DPS)” solution is used for tote picking and the “Car Picking System (CPS)” is used for pallet picking. More than one million picking units can be picked on a peak day.
Customer: INEX Partners
The Finnish logistics service provider INEX Partners, subsidiary of the trade company SOK, manages a very wide range of products. It covers different product groups - including clothing, cosmetics, and sporting items, electronic devices, DVDs, gardening equipment, and furniture. Due to fashion, musical taste, or season, the products are subject to constant and rapid change.
Sipoo (FIN)
Industry sector
Retail / Distribution
300,000 different items for the supply of 1,200 stores
Over one million pick units per day
Special features of the project
A particular feature at INEX is that order-related pre-retailing, which means the individual preparation or design of certain products as part of a fully integrated value added service, is located at 60 workstations directly in the DPS. These pre-packaging tasks include, for example, the application of special price tags, alarm tags for theft protection, or the repacking of certain garments from flat to hanging garments, including the integration of hangers.
The DPS (Dynamic Picking System) tote picking system is the core logistics element of the distribution center. Here, items are picked directly from storage totes or storage pallets into the order / store tote in a highly dynamic process at 120 picking workstations. The employees are guided by a pick-by-light system. DPS works in combination according to the “goods-to-person” / “person-to-goods” principle and enables direct storage and picking in one automated small parts warehouse (AS/RS). Depending on the order structure, the items are provided in static and dynamic pick slots, thus enabling constant optimization of the pick front. The classification of the product structure is continuously reviewed and adjusted by DPS. Replenishment from the AS/RS to the picking zones directly integrated in the tote warehouse is exclusively system-controlled through stacker cranes. The same applies to the return of items not currently required for picking. Based on the automated static and dynamic staging of stored goods, the employees’ walking distances are reduced by up to 75 percent. The CPS logistics system is a picking system for route-optimized picking of cases onto pallets or roll containers - supported by pick-by-voice or radio frequency. Order-related replenishment of the pick front is automated by stacker cranes. The staging of an item is also system-controlled and aligned with the store-friendly picking process. According to the "person-to-goods" principle, up to three orders are picked at the same time by one picker in the CPS at INEX. Ergonomic layer trays developed by WITRON ensure that many other items can be stored in the pick front in an extremely space-saving manner. The use of layer trays reduces travel distances by 60 percent.
Customer opinion
In Finland we - as well as our competitors - are still struggling with the impacts of the Europe-wide economic and financial crisis, which has further increased the demands on logistical handling. The major challenge we are currently facing is to handle the very high number of different items from our general merchandise range as efficiently as possible within one order, while at the same time keeping order sizes small - and this with a large amount of different suppliers. And here, we see ourselves very well positioned with our new logistics center.