What it takes to deliver the best in warehouse automation

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What began as a journey towards automation in 2015 has grown into an incredible success story for THE ICONIC – one of the leading fashion retailers in Australia and New Zealand. I’m happy to say that we were able to support them in achieving their goals, and now they have one of Australia’s most state-of-the-art e-commerce warehousing systems.

Author

Michael Jee

Sales Director Australia

An eye-opening experience

But let’s go back to the beginning… without doubt, day one was a real eye-opener. I remember arriving at one particular warehouse and could see people running everywhere to pick products. THE ICONIC’s aim was to deliver to central Sydney in three hours and we instinctively knew that we could take this operation to the next level.

At the time, the company was growing rapidly, and it needed a new solution to keep pace with the increasing number of SKUs. In close discussion with my counterpart at THE ICONIC, the goal quickly became clear – not just to pick and deliver a few orders in three hours, but every single one!

A world first

To match these requirements, we proposed a unique solution. It was actually a hybrid of two technologies: a microshuttle system (an automated storage and retrieval solution) and TRAYSORTER, integrated with a goods-to-person solution. This was an exciting ‘first’ and has never been designed or built anywhere else in the world by Vanderlande.

It was not all plain sailing during the project, however. While the initial design was for a greenfield-type development, a change of location meant we had to adapt our solution to a new warehouse, which took some careful planning and design alterations.

Exceeding customer expectations

For me, the key to success was asking THE ICONIC a simple question: ‘what do you want to achieve?’. Their benchmark requirement was to receive an order, pick and pack it, and have it ready for delivery dispatch in under 12 minutes. By combining speed and accuracy in our solution, operators can pick at eight times the speed of what they used to.

THE ICONIC was delighted with the result – one of the fastest e-commerce solutions in the world. In fact, the time it takes for an item to be retrieved and packed ready for pick-up is only eight minutes. And even beyond that, the record time for a delivery is 26 minutes. Imagine being that customer and receiving your item in less than half an hour!

The ‘wow’ factor

At all times, we strove to guide THE ICONIC through the process in a professional manner and worked tirelessly to ensure that we could uphold our promise. It’s been an adventure, but we both agree that transparency has been central to the project’s success.

We’re honest with THE ICONIC, and like any relationship, it always comes down to trust. After six years, they aren’t even a customer anymore – we’re friends. We put our hearts on our sleeves with the solution we promised to deliver and never walked away. Now, even other companies visit the system and say, ‘Wow, we want that!’

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