Superdrug: Logistex’s Automation of Superdrug’s NDC
With e-commerce sales more than doubling year on year, Logistex were asked to design a solution capable of handling in excess of 60,000 orders per day. Peter Appleyard, E-Commerce General Manager for Supply Chain at Superdrug, explains how their previous paper based operation was not equipped to respond to the change in market; “When we were looking at our old operation it was clear that our processes were outdated and slow, and our warehouse management system couldn’t support our growth strategies.”
Following Go-Live, Superdrug have already seen a 48% increase in throughput (year to date) which has been fulfilled using 60% less operational cost.
The solution designed to facilitate growth within e-commerce, includes conveyor order forwarding, sortation and packaging machinery and is controlled using Logistex warehouse management system LWS Reflex. LWS Reflex manages all aspects of the operation including SKU management, replenishment and picking.
LWS Reflex is a highly sophisticated Warehouse Management System which optimises order picking, and enables orders to be fulfilled individually or batch picked, which increases pick rates and drives further efficiency into the operation.
New enhancements to LWS Reflex automatically diverts any order to an alternative picking zone should a pick location be put into audit, or a particular SKU become unavailable. This prevents any unnecessary build-up of orders within a picking zone, and ensures an even work load balance is maintained throughout the operation.
Logistex also deployed its new business intelligence suite Analytex. Analytex provides real time warehouse data in graphical easy to read detail. Managers can create, configure, customise and save their own reports giving unrivalled access to trends and historical data. Analytex delivers key information needed for continuous improvement in service and productivity.
The conveyor system is a newly developed aluminium conveyor system from Conveyor Units, and has been developed for its functional and aesthetic properties. Highly versatile with higher strength to weight ratio’s, the system can be installed faster than conventional systems. Additionally, as the aluminium is resistant to corrosives, it is virtually maintenance free.
Logistex worked closely with Superdrug to design an e-commerce solution that is based entirely on its needs for growth and expansion. Jerry Walkling (Supply chain and Logistics Director) commented, “The investment in this project demonstrates AS Watson’s commitment to improving its supply chain to meet the demands of the on line customer and the new technology and automation in E Commerce will ensure we continue to grow our on line business in the future”.
The solution that Logistex designed and integrated for Superdrug automates picking, packaging and sortation of orders and includes:
- Automated carton forming
- 18,000 SKUs
- Function for both single and batch picking
- QA stations for random checking
- Document insertion
- Carton height reduction and lidding
- Final integrity check (staff are alerted to any discrepancy before the order is sent)
- Sortation system
- On-site residential support
Everything, right down to the last detail, has been put in place with the increase in online customer demand in mind; for example the fastest moving SKU is located nearest to the pick zone in order to increase operational efficiency and get orders out even faster.
Logistex’s experts worked closely with Superdrug to ensure the solution provides flexibility and growth for the future.
Peter Appleyard is thrilled with the results which have helped with the day to day running of the distribution centre immensely; “Knowing where we are at this moment, what the system can do and how we are progressing you can strategically look at what we can do to grow the business, rather than trying to solve or fix problems”. He goes on to say that “The new system has allowed me to look at specific growth areas, and what we need to do as an operation to support business objectives, rather than coming into work and thinking ‘how are we going to get through today?’”
The new processes and procedures that have been put in place in response to the increase in online customer demand has seen the operation move away from slower paper based picking to a modern solution delivering higher pick rates, a better work environment and a more motivated team.