A 2018 project designed to speed and improve picking performance was so successful it’s bearing fruit a second time for Australian fashion retailer Cotton On Group.
The company partnered with material handling and logistics automation specialist Vanderlande to implement its popular Traysorter sortation system at Cotton On Group’s Avalon, Victoria, distribution center three years ago, and has since added a second at the same facility—a unit that was installed just in time to streamline operations for last year’s peak shipping season and ensure confidence for this year’s busy peak as well.
“Given the success of the first project and the positive impact it has had on our DC, the next logical step for us was simple—to add another one!” Andy Sanderson, general manager for Cotton On Group distribution, said this past spring in evaluating the product’s performance post-peak. “The second [Traysorter] became operational three weeks ahead of the agreed schedule, and we handled the 2020 peaks with ease.”
The Cotton On Group has eight brands, operates more than 1,300 stores in 20 countries, and employs 20,000 people around the world. The company’s successful implementation of Vanderlande’s Traysorter in 2018 paved the way to address growing demand for both retail and online orders—a situation that has only accelerated since then.
The Traysorter is a highly flexible flat sorter, also known as a “bombay” sorter, that is part of a larger system capable of handling any combination of order types and delivery requirements, according to Vanderlande. The sorter can handle a wide range of products—from apparel, accessories, and small parcels to shoe boxes and multimedia items—thanks to its interchangeable tray types. The product’s modular design means that it’s fully scalable and can be adapted to individual requirements as well. The solution can also adjust easily to fit into an existing warehouse architecture, leaders from both companies claim.
The key result: shorter picking-to-delivery times and improved performance and overall quality out of the DC.
“We have been able to dramatically reduce the time between picking items through to delivery, as well as improve picking accuracy,” Sanderson explained. “The [Traysorter] also supports a more efficient picking strategy, [which] will help us to achieve sustainable growth, and most importantly, will allow us to continually deliver … excellent service to our customers.”
Vanderlande’s focus on fashion retailing made a difference as well. The 72-year-old company has long supported airports and the parcel market with its process automation solutions and has also developed a specialty in material handling automation for warehouses, particularly those focused on e-commerce and omnichannel distribution. The company’s systems sort more than 52 million parcels around the world every day, company leaders claim.
“Vanderlande has a focus on solutions for specific industries, such as fashion. As a result, we have an in-depth understanding of the complexities involved in running a successful fashion warehousing business,” Roald de Groot, Vanderlande’s warehousing solutions manager, said in a statement. “Our scalable solution was the perfect match for the Cotton On Group’s omnichannel distribution approach.”