New automated logistics system unlocks a more dynamic supply chain for TJX Europe

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TJX Europe, the company behind the successful TK Maxx and HomeSense retail chains, has invested in a high performance automated logistics system at its Processing Centre in Walsall.

Designed and implemented by automated logistics systems supplier Dematic Limited, the order consolidation buffer and automated pallet building system is playing a key role in the redevelopment of TJX Europes logistics operations.

TJX Europe has established over 200 stores in the UK and Ireland and six in Germany, selling designer fashion, accessories, homeware and gifts. In addition, six new HomeSense home stores opened in Spring 2008. As Mick Wright, vice president of processing for TJX Europe, explained, the new Dematic system is part of a strategy which aims to increase the frequency of store deliveries: With multiple daily deliveries to stores, customers can be offered a constantly refreshed choice of goods. Also, stores will be able to keep their displays full, even during the busiest sales periods, without the need for large backroom stores that take up expensive retail floor space.

Comprising a miniload automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) that consolidates orders, two high speed articulated robots that build despatch pallets, an interlinking conveyor network, and a Warehouse Control System (WCS), the Dematic solution is capable of generating store ready pallets of totes at extremely high levels of speed, accuracy and reliability. Store orders that have been picked into either large or small totes at Walsall, or one of the companys three other Processing Centres, are fed into the ASRS, which incorporates 5,370 locations. As required, totes are retrieved by the ASRS and then sorted automatically into individual store orders via six accumulating conveyor lanes. Each high speed articulated robot serves three of these lanes, and is responsible for automatically stacking either eight large totes or twenty small totes on a single pallet, ready for despatch to one of a network of regional Cross Docking Centres (CDCs). It takes less than 90 seconds to build each pallet, and up to 17,000 totes can be despatched from the system in a 24 hour period. 

By purchasing stock as close as possible to the point when it will be needed in the shops, TJX Europe is uniquely placed to respond quickly to the vagaries of weather, and fashion trends.  To support this strategy, stock is kept in the ASRS for a maximum of 48 hours, and the system offers a highly dynamic solution capable of responding quickly to changes in buying patterns. Levels of productivity are far in excess of manual techniques, reducing operating costs and also helping to alleviate the problems posed by a tight local labour market. By providing the CDCs with store ready pallets, TJX Europe has been able to secure multi-million pound savings in terms of the size of these buildings, and make more efficient use of trailer space. Reflecting the success of the system in delivering the accuracy, flexibility and responsiveness necessary to support TJX Europes unique approach to retailing, a near identical solution is currently being completed by Dematic in the companys Processing Centre in Stoke.


About Dematic Northern Europe

Dematic Limited, headquartered in Banbury, Oxfordshire is one of the worlds leading suppliers of logistics automation systems and solutions. As a systems integrator, Dematic delivers a full range of products and services, from individual products and systems to complete turnkey solutions as a general contractor, as well as complete after-sales support and service. Dematic provides automated material handling products, systems and solutions for retail and wholesale distribution, consumer direct, grocery, food and beverage, and manufacturing industries.

Dematics products and services are based on a tradition of industry expertise that the company has acquired over decades of commitment worldwide.  Dematic Limited is part of Dematic GmbH of Offenbach Germany.  Globally the company employs around 4,000 people and has a business volume of more than 800 million Euros.

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