How AutoStore maximized efficiency for German fashion brand Styleboom.
Facing rising demand for their Seventyseven urban streetwear line and rapidly diminishing space, Styleboom needed an innovative, space-saving automated warehouse solution to maintain their market position. AutoStore stepped in to provide the system they needed.
Germany-based fashion company Styleboom sells clothing online under their Seventyseven urban streetwear brand. In 2020, the company’s success prompted them to move to a new warehouse facility and begin planning a logistical overhaul to increase throughput, capacity, and efficiency.
The new facility was planned to comprise three segments, and initially, Styleboom anticipated requiring 4,500 m2 (48,400 ft2) of shelving to accommodate stock.
But in their previous facility, as Styleboom Operations Manager Tomasz Stefanowski explains, “the customer orders were picked manually based on the article number in a multi-level shelving system,” resulting in “high stress levels for employees, inefficient processes, and a high picking error rate, which was unsustainable for our quality standards.”
To Styleboom’s leadership, it was clear that an automated solution would be required to alleviate their earlier difficulties while preparing for future demand. AutoStore stepped in to provide an automated warehouse management system designed for maximum efficiency.
Given the spatial requirements for Styleboom to satisfy demand, an automated warehouse system was the only solution that met their needs. AutoStore offered several advantages that made them the clear choice, including the system’s modular design based around vertical stacks of inventory Bins under a rail system that uses Robots for rapid retrieval and delivery.
With the AutoStore automated warehouse system, Styleboom was able to reduce the initially planned 4,500 m2 (48,400 ft2) of shelving space to a mere 1,300 m2 (14,000 ft2) — less than 30% of the initial estimate. In addition, processing times were significantly improved, enabling warehouse staff to pick and pack orders more quickly and with fewer errors than in either their previous facility or a conventional logistics facility.
Furthermore, the warehouse management system’s display-based menu navigation has vastly simplified training for new staff, allowing the company to streamline their onboarding processes and reducing overall training costs. “Within 30 minutes, new employees can be trained and pick without errors,” says Stefanowski.
The AutoStore system is built around a highly customizable modular Grid of aluminum rails. Robots mounted on top of the rail system move along it to retrieve Bins containing stock items vertical stacks and deliver them to Ports for further processing.
This vertical storage model is the key factor behind the AutoStore system’s space-saving qualities, since much of the floor space needed to accommodate shelving and warehouse employees on foot can be replaced by the ultra-compact Grid. AutoStore Grids can also be customized to fit facilities of all sizes and layouts, making it highly adaptable to Styleboom’s new logistics center.
In the initial phase, Styleboom’s new automated warehouse system consisted of 52 Robots, 7 Carousel Ports (workstations), and 52,000 Bins on 16 levels. Following an increase in order volume and growth of 35%, the system underwent two expansions, which eventually brought the total to 9 Ports and 74 Robots.
After the Robots retrieve Bins, they deliver them to CarouselPorts for fast Bin exchange, RelayPorts for even faster Bin exchange, or ConveyorPorts for slower changes, such as goods storage. The finished system not only increases processing capacity, but is also capable of sustaining future expansion, both permanent and temporary, such as during peak periods, without the need for additional large investments.
After Styleboom's upgrade to AutoStore, they have also seen marked enhancements in their returns process. Their AutoStore system now efficiently manages customer product returns. The process is as follows:
1. Returns are checked
2. Returns are packed on different compartments on a trolley
3. The packed trolleys are brought to an AutoStore Port (one of the CarouselPorts or ConveyorPorts, whichever one is available)
4. The trolley at the AutoStore Port is allocated as a task group to this specific Port
5. When the AutoStore has prepared the task group, the picker gets a message to switch from order picking -> return inbound
6. Compartment by compartment is brought into the Bins where the specific SKU came from
7. The task group is completed, (the returns trolley is empty, in other words the returned items have been placed back in AutoStore)
8. The picker gets a message to switch from return inbound -> order picking
The completed automated warehouse solution exceeded Styleboom’s expectations, as Stefanowski makes clear: “The fully automated AutoStore system (…) meets all the expectations we have associated with the automation of processes in terms of quality, increased capacity, efficiency, and managing the shortage of skilled workers.”
Installation type: Greenfield (New site)
Robots: 74 Robots
Ports: 9 Carousel Ports
Partner: Element Logic
“Within three seconds, a new Bin is presented in the Port. The AutoStore system knows which Bin is in which place, calculates the travel paths and then distributes the orders to the Robots via a radio link. The Robots work in a coordinated manner, quickly rearranging the Bins, providing the required Bin for direct access, and supplying the Bins for the integrated Ports for order picking.”
“With the system, 14 employees can pick the same volume of orders as 80 to 90 employees previously did with manual processes. We efficiently pick 6,000 orders a day with zero errors and no back orders. This allows us to easily implement further growth without significantly increasing the number of employees.”
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