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Pet owners find "what animals love" at almost 1500 Fressnapf stores in eleven countries and from its pet supplies webshop. Given that storing collars, blankets, sanitary items and food requires intelligent and efficient management, as well as a lot of space, the Fressnapf Group has built a new automated small parts warehouse at its headquarters and logistics center in Krefeld. The LFS software suite from the Ehrhardt + Partner Group (EPG), combined iwth the LFS.wms warehouse management system and the LFS.mfc material flow controller, is responsible for technical management and control of the new warehouse. The LFS.tls transport control system and the Lydia® pick-by-voice system from topsystem have also been installed. Since changing over to automated processes, the specialist retailer has seen an increase in productivity per employee hour of around 265 percent for small parts.
Whether a new lead for Rex, a toy for Crumbles or premium food for Minx, turnover in the pet supplies market is growing. The trend is plain to see at the Fressnapf Group. The capacity of the manual small parts warehouse at the company's site in Krefeld, Germany, had reached its limit, so the Group has invested in an automated small parts warehouse with seven lanes and 43,000 bin locations (some double-depth) for approx. 80,000 storage bins and around 300 pallets. With great success. Since putting in automated processes to replace manual picking by portable data capture for small parts, the Fressnapf Group has seen an increase in productivity per employee hour of around 265 percent.
Fressnapf Group favors LFS
The approx. 4,000 items in the new automated small parts warehouse are managed by the LFS.wms warehouse management system from the Ehrhardt + Partner Group (EPG). The choice was simple, given the great experience the Fressnapf Group already had of the software for its manual warehousing. Also installed is the LFS.mfc material flow controller, which handles smart coordination of the entire material flow from and to the automated small parts warehouse.
The project included integrating a pallet conveyor system in goods incoming to transport empty pallets to a setup station. The goods are then separated into bins. In addition to the pallet conveyor system, LFS also controls two transverse shuttles, which return the pallets from the putaway lanes of the automated small parts warehouse to the applicable setup stations and return the empty pallets to an empty pallet stack. The filled bins are put away in the supply warehouse, pick warehouse or local reserve in the automated small parts warehouse using automated storage and retrieval units. Picking is done via a zone-to-zone system. Boxes are automatically transported to various order-picking stations from the start of the job. In addition to 18 pick-by-light stations across three lanes, there are also two pick-to-tote stations, which are each served directly by four Schäfer Carousel Systems (SCS). Once the picking process is finished, LFS.wms instructs the system to transport the finished boxes for packaging automatically. The boxes are automatically put down, the tops are attached, they are then weighed and finally labeled. Once the boxes are output via one of 50 shipping lines, they are manually transferred to the loading station.
Farewell to the in-house solution
EPG has also implemented the LFS.tls transport control system at the Krefeld logistics center to optimize the routes of forklift trucks through the warehouse and ensure that the vehicles have optimal load and utilization. In the large parts section, the Lydia® pick-by-voice solution from topsystem ensures that processes are more efficient. All the solutions are also accessed through the cloud, which is provided by EPG's subsidiary Ehrhardt + Partner Xtended. This means that the pet supplies retailer in future can focus all its attention on its core business.