Vertical carousel revitalizes healthcare retailer's fulfillment operation
As sales boomed, Danish e-tailer Med24 faced a storage-space crunch. Installing vertical carousels changed all that.
By Diane Rand
Since its founding in 2005, the Danish company Med24 has gone all in where the health and fitness business is concerned. In addition to selling a vast array of healthcare, beauty, and fitness products online, it employs a host of pharmacy assistants and dieticians to provide professional advice to customers. But ironically, it was the e-tailer's own fulfillment operations that were in desperate need of revitalization a couple years back.
With combined growth rates of more than 400 percent over the last three years and a product range that has grown to include more than 10,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs), the company was simply running out of space at its 1,200-square-meter (4,000-square-foot) warehouse. Not only was storage space at a premium at the facility, but the operation was also struggling to keep up with rising order volumes.
It was clear to all involved that the warehouse needed a modern update. Among other requirements, the e-tailer needed a setup that would allow for the efficient processing or more than 1,500 orders a day, make better use of available space, and offer flexibility for easy expansion as the company grew.
Med24 found the solution it was seeking in Kardex Remstar's Megamat RS 350 vertical carousel units. Designed for medium-sized loads, the automated units provide high-density storage in a compact footprint. The carousels are also engineered to accommodate high-frequency picking. Plus, they're designed so that units can be added easily as the client's needs grow.
The latter turned out to be an important feature for Med24. The e-tailer initially installed six Megamat RS 350 vertical carousel units. But it was pleased enough with the results that it added three more units just three months later.
All of the Megamat RS carousels are integrated with Kardex-Remstar's Power Pick Global inventory management software and color picking trolleys. This has allowed the Med24 operation to pick up to 50 orders simultaneously, reducing picking time by 60 percent.
JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED
With the new system, the e-tailer is now able to pick, pack, and ship an average of 1,500 orders consisting of 4,500 SKUs each day. But the benefits don't end there.
With the nine Megamat RS vertical carousels, Med24 was able to reduce its usable storage area from 1,200 square meters (4,000 square feet) to 200 square meters (650 square feet), an 83-percent space savings.
The e-tailer has also seen a noticeable drop in training-time requirements since installing the new system. In the past, the "employee induction" process took up to three months. With the Megamat RS 350 units, employees can achieve optimal order picking performance after just three hours.
On top of that, the system can be easily expanded as the operation's volume increases. "This kind of scalability is essential to us. Knowing that we can add machines to a smooth process gives us great flexibility as we continue to grow," said Nils K. Træholt, owner and director at Med24, in a statement.
By all accounts, the new equipment has gone a long way toward easing Med24's growing pains. "The Megamat RS 350 has proven to be the perfect solution for us," Træholt said in the statement. "Excellent space utilization and high efficiency has made our business much more competitive."
This video from Kardex Remstar shows the system in action:
About the Author
Diane Rand has several years of magazine editing and production experience. She previously worked as a production editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. She joined the editorial staff in 2015. She is responsible for managing digital, editorial, and production projects for DC Velocity and its sister magazine, Supply Chain Quarterly.
More articles by Diane Rand
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