Further expansion with investment in new automation

In order to prepare for the continuously growing online business of new and existing customers and manage seasonal ordering peaks, Arvato is expanding their locations further, relying on state-of-the-art warehouse modernization.

A new hall with one of the largest AutoStore storage systems in Europe was recently put into operation in Dortmund, and now the company has its sights on expanding their warehouse in the industrial core of Dorsten/Marl. This location is currently the commercial hub for six clients from the fashion and lifestyle branch. By 2023, a new warehouse with a 10,000 square meter footprint and 16,000 square meters of floor space will be established and equipped with a highly dynamic shuttle system. The investment in this technology is in the larger two-digit million Euro range.

"We made the decision for early expansion at our locations in Dortmund and Dorsten not only due to the continuing boom in e-commerce, but also as a measure to counteract rising personnel costs," explains Axel Mayer, President Lifestyle Fashion & Sports at Arvato Supply Chain Solutions. "Rapidly increasing cost of materials, delivery bottlenecks and increasing lead times for technical equipment have been a crucial incentive to enhance our automation." Process automation through the increased use of intelligent systems is an essential part of the company's comprehensive digitalization strategy, which has been successfully applied in various locations worldwide. Arvato is not tied to a manufacturer or a specific system but designs the best possible combination of suitable components from standardized building blocks. The combination of automation and manual solutions, enables the greatest possible flexibility and individual fit to customer needs.

Shuttle system accelerates processes

Construction work on the new logistics hall in Dorsten is already in full swing and is expected to be completed in September of this year. A highly dynamic shuttle system using the newest 2D-generation from KNAPP will then be implemented, promising a significant increase of processing speed at the site while simultaneously improving the quality. The shuttle system will have a capacity of approximately 130,000 totes, each divisible into a maximum of eight compartments, and with a potential storage and retrieval capacity of up to 6,800 totes per hour. The storage volume amounts to 8.5 million liters, translating e.g. into storage of approximately 2 million fashion articles. The system has 345 shuttles moving in 16 rack lines, and using 22 lifts (11 double lifts), they can quickly move among 23 shuttle levels. The new shuttle system will be connected to the fully automated packaging system, which was put into operation in Dorsten last year, leading to massive reductions in throughput times.

In addition to the accelerated processes of the shuttle system and automated packaging, the central location of the site in Europe enables fast distribution to end customers. The proximity to several carrier hubs enables the latest of pick-up times while still getting packages to customers next day. In addition, Arvato’s extensive linehaul network ensures that most European countries can be reached overnight every day. The integration of B2C couriers who have proven themselves "local heroes" in their respective countries offers further last-mile optimization. Approximately 310 million online shoppers in Europe make use of these local heroes. Their availability increases the acceptance of an online shop as well as reorder rate.

"Through the use of innovative automated solutions, we can reduce implementation times for new customers, further increase the productivity of our locations, and minimize error rates", says Axel Mayer. "Not only are we better prepared for the volume growth of our existing customers, but we also have capacity available for new customers." Plans are in the works to employ between 300-500 additional staff to support the current 600-person team at the site in the future.

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