Sorting system for 22 buffers and processing 13,000 SKU
Watsons is the largest international health and beauty retailer in Ukraine and is part of the A. S. Watson Group. The company has been operating in the Ukrainian market since 2006 and is the only foreign player in the beauty and wellness retail sector to date. Today, the company has 319 shops and 12 pharmacies in more than 100 cities. The company employs more than 2790 people and has around 3 million customers per month. The chain’s shops sell high-quality cosmetics, perfumes, hygiene products, household goods and medicines.
Almost 6 years ago, Watsons was one of the first multi-channel retailers of health and beauty products to enter e-commerce. Since then, the company has improved its supply chain, particularly through enhanced warehouse automation.
The warehouse contains 13,000 items and KAPELOU had the following objectives:
- increasing the productivity of the warehouse to 120,000 items per day;
- reducing the workload of the employees, thereby reducing the physical strain on the employees;
- increase in warehouse capacity;
- development of a customised sortation system;
- increase picking accuracy, consolidating all picking types (XAC, TSF, Pick);
- increase in storage capacity.
During the preparation phase, a lot of effort was put into analysing and studying the data, product flows and business processes. In addition to the usual drafts and various concepts, a 3D representation of the warehouse operation was designed. The live demonstration of the finished project, created by the experts of the planning department, helped to see all the advantages of the proposed solution for the future warehouse.
The KAPELOU team has taken over all aspects of warehouse automation: Analysis and audit, in-house production, installation, commissioning and service support.
We then installed a corresponding system in the 3000 m2 picking area:
- the efficient OptiSorter sorting system with 22 buffers and up to 6,000 sorting boxes per hour;
- a 1,170-channel gravity flow storage system;
- 1,764 lanes for the flow storage of cartons;
- a two-storey mezzanine structure with 2,340 shelves and 9,360 grids
- more than 420 meters of KAPELOU® belt and roller conveyors;
- over 9,5 m high spiral conveyor with access to each mezzanine level and a capacity of 3,000 cartons per hour. It serves as a buffer zone.
The following technologies were used in the project:
- paperless picking system Pick by Light;
- Ukraine’s first 4-step picking technology with 190 boxes per hour;
- machine reading of barcodes from three directions.
Pick-by-light technology has been implemented in the sorting area. Each storage location has an 8-digit digital display with a confirmation button. The displays show the item number and one of five colours at the time of picking. In this way, staff can see in seconds, which item is being picked at which time. This ensures that the picking area operates without interruption.
We have also developed customised WCS software that monitors the entire automation system and communicates perfectly with the WMS.
We were able to develop an innovative total solution for the automation of the Watsons shop chain as a result of the coordinated work of our team and KAPELOU's own production. We ensure high quality and durability of the equipment. This is enormously important for the 24/7 operation of the Watsons warehouse in Ukraine.
The solution implemented here is unique because it was developed specifically for the customer's needs and at the same time reflects the years of experience of the leading companies in the intralogistics market.
For many years, Watsons has been setting standards in the health and beauty industry. That is why the company never remains idle, modernising its stocks and improving its warehouse processes in line with current market trends. Watsons is a reliable business partner and leading retailer in the beauty industry. We are grateful for the collaboration and the opportunity to have been involved in such a large-scale, innovative and exciting project.