KNAPP’s automated solution for Boots wins five awards

Warehouse automation specialist, KNAPP AG, is celebrating its success in no less than five prestigious retail and logistics awards programmes for the automated handling system that it designed and installed for the pharmacy-led retail giant, Boots.

At the Grocer Gold Awards in June 2012, KNAPP scooped the ‘Technology & Logistics Supplier of the Year’ award for the automated handling solution it supplied for Boots’ new distribution centre in Burton-upon-Trent. Also in June, Boots won the Operational Excellence accolade at the Supply Chain Distinction Awards in Berlin. Then, in September, Boots with KNAPP won the Retail Week Supply Chain Award for the ‘Logistics Distribution Development of the Year’. October saw the award of the fourth prize – the GDS International ‘Leader in Innovation’ accolade – presented to KNAPP at the NG Retail Summit in Milan, the convention for the worldwide food and retail industry. The final award came when Boots with KNAPP received the Retail Award at the European Supply Chain Excellence Awards in November 2012.

£50 million investment

The multichannel system supplied by KNAPP to Boots UK’s Burton-upon-Trent facility opened in February 2012. The retailer had experienced rapid growth in its online operations, driving a move from its outsourced, largely manual operation in Birmingham to in-house fulfilment in the new Burton Service Centre. Alliance Boots invested over £50 million in the new facility, which included the purchase of the existing 460,000 sq ft building – the area of six football pitches – its total refurbishment and the automated handling systems.

Automated shuttle storage

At the heart of the solution are 12 of KNAPP’s OSR Shuttle™ systems, which provide automated storage combined with goods-to-person order picking at eight ergonomically designed Pick-it-Easy workstations. Ideal for slow- and medium-moving goods, the OSR Shuttle™ systems process the majority of the inventory at Burton. Fast-moving products, meanwhile, are picked in a flow rack area at one of eight workstations that utilise pick-to-light technology. KNAPP also supplied its KiSoft WMS (warehouse management system) and KiSoft WCS (warehouse control software) to optimise all warehouse movements and processes. In addition, Boots UK contracted KNAPP to provide a team of resident engineers in order to maintain the handling solution.

Efficiency increased by 65%

The automated handling system has increased time efficiency by 65% compared to the previous manual operation, while also improving order traceability. It is already providing a significant reduction in variable costs and its modular design provides a platform for further growth.


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