Footwear manufacturer deploys miniload and WMS
21 June 2023
The leading manufacturer Elten has expanded its central warehouse in Germany with WMS, miniload AS/RS and improved storage and processing capacities for 1.4 million pairs of shoes.
ELTEN PARTNERED with integrator Fortna to consolidate and upgrade the facility in response to steady growth and rising customer demand for greater speed and flexibility. Elten commissioned Fortna with the design and implementation of the project, which will be rolled out in stages and during ongoing operations. The go-live of the miniload AS/RS in April 2023 marked the completion of the first construction phase.
Head of supply chain management Georg Maxwill, says: “With over 5,000 order lines daily, a trend that has been rising steeply for ten years now, we have known for a while that our logistics operations would have to adapt if we wanted to stay competitive in the future.
“We started construction of the miniload on an adjacent site back in 2020 with a view to centralising all processes so as to improve the volume and efficiency of our operations and increase our turnaround times. The Fortna team supported us, as they have in all our projects since the original construction of our current building at the start of the millennium.”
The warehouse is moving from manual to automatic. Key characteristics of the warehouse are – 22 metres tall, eight aisles, a footprint of 5,250 sq m and a storage capacity for 143,840 cartons containing shoes, insoles and shoelaces – all of these are the cornerstones of the new miniload making significant improvements to the intralogistics processes.
“Before the construction phase even started, a new WMS was installed in anticipation of the forthcoming automation,” explains Waldemar Ungefug, project manager with Fortna. “The miniload system now consolidates all incoming items – shoes and shoe components – from third parties and Elten’s production. We expect the connection of the automatic storage system to the outbound processing in Phase 2 to happen equally flawlessly during ongoing operations.”
The second phase of construction is planned for completion by the end of 2023. Phase 2 will include the expansion of shelving capacities through the installation of a mezzanine and new conveyor technology to ensure automatic replenishment of the order picking area, as well as connection to outbound goods. This is also where order sorting takes place, with orders reaching their final destinations via shipping companies or CEP service providers.
“Integrating the miniload into the existing operations without any problems and the improvements we gain from the new systems and processes are vital for the positioning of our company,” says Maxwill. Equally important, automation will help Elten overcome the challenges it faces in finding qualified labour. “However, our team needn’t be worried about losing their jobs because by consolidating our fulfilment in one place, Uedem is increasing its processing capacity, thereby, requiring additional staff.”
Capacity expansion and centralised processes enable Elten the ideal conditions to meet changing customer requirements and to process orders quickly and flexibly both now and in the future, even with substantial long-term growth.
Fortna is an automation and software company focused on the full logistics value chain.
For more information, visit www.fortna.com