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New distribution center for e-commerce and retail with 600 stores

Nuremberg/Turkey (12/2020) – Gratis, the leading Turkish drugstore chain with more than 600 stores in 79 cities in Turkey makes its logistics fit for e-commerce, together with Klinkhammer. The current, manually operated distribution center in Tuzla near Istanbul was expanded by several building areas and floors. An innovative conveyor and sorter system with 42 order picking and packing sta-tions controls the material flow from the start of the order to dispatch.

Gratis, number one in cosmetics in Turkey, supplies its drugstores with 30,000 products. The company is represented with more than 600 stores in 79 cities. The product range extends from everyday consumer goods to cosmetics, personal care products and household goods to baby products.

Powerful transport system
„All storage and work areas on different levels of the Gratis distribution center are connected by a high performance conveyor system” explains Mehmet Toy, project manager at Klinkhammer. Hereby, the main aim was to achieve more flexibility in order handling. In order to avoid bottlenecks, retail work stations should be able to be quickly converted into e-commerce stations through a consistent, coherent conveyor technology concept. „The ongoing operations were not allowed to be impaired by the expansions“, emphasized Mehmet Toy. The core of the system is a sorter system with 42 order picking and packing stations to ensure that the increasing demands on process quality and efficiency in store and e-commerce dispatch are met. The sorter distributes all containers to the work stations, depending on the shop. There the containers are emptied and picked and packed on trolleys or pallets using put-to-light. 1000 put-to-light modules for rack and pallet picking are installed in this way.

Automation of material flows
In order to meet the requirements for speed, product availability and ever smaller packing units both for e-commerce and the local stores, the goods are stored in separate areas. An additional shelf storage with picking stations on several levels was built especially for e-commerce. Ordered items are picked into containers and transferred to conveyors at each level. After quality assurance, all containers and cartons are separated by the sorter depending on the store and transferred to ergonomically arranged work stations. After the containers have been emptied, the goods are packed in cartons and plastic bags and either stored in trolleys or picked on pallets.

Put-to-Light work stations for fast, safe dispatch
In a 1-stage process, store orders are prepared at several work stations for dispatch on pallets. When the goods are scanned, a lamp on the put-to-light display indicates which pallet has to be picked. E-commerce orders pass a 2-stage process. At another 8 work stations, put-to-light racks with multiple shelves are available for order-related sorting of the items. The lamp on the rack indicates where the item should be picked until the container is empty. As soon as the order is completed, the signal lamp on the shelf switches from red to green and the order can be packed in cartons or plastic bags and be transferred to the trolley. Dispatch documents are printed directly at the work station. Several of the sorter’s retrieval lines are designed as flexible work stations that can process both 1-stage and 2-stage orders. If the buffer of the target work station is overfilled, a bypass loop transports the containers back to the starting point of the sorter. An additional area for promotional goods offers the option of transporting fast-moving items directly, without repacking, in delivered boxes to the sorter via conveyors. Two lifters with a lift height of 15 m ensure performance and redundancy of the entire conveyor system and connect the main levels with one another. Two more lifters ensure the removal and supply of the intermediate levels.

Visualization at a glance
The material flow computer of Klinkhammer communicating with the Gratis warehouse management system of High Jump controls the automated transport of the containers to the correct target. All load carriers can be clearly located on the conveyors at any time in the visualization software. The integrated sensors and drives contribute to the transport control system so that disruptions can be identified and rectified quickly and clearly. Numerous services that previously required on-site work can now be performed remotely with the help of the system visualization KlinkVISION®. All systems of Klinkhammer are connected to the remote service and are monitored and maintained centrally.

Data and facts

  • 2 km container conveyors connect all storage areas
  • Sorter with 42 picking and packing stations
  • 1000 put-to-light modules for rack and pallet picking
  • Material flow control and Klinkhammer visualization system
  • 4 lifters with a lift height of 7 m, 10 m and 15 m connect the floors
  • 40t steel construction
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