Since November 2022, stichd, a subsidiary of the Puma Group, has been serving its global customers from its new and highly automated fulfilment centre in Tilburg, the Netherlands. This high-performing and extremely versatile omnichannel solution enables stichd to cut lead times and to offer customers an even higher service level. In close cooperation with TGW, a solution was developed and implemented that ensures a future-proof distribution process.
Unique service requires flexible and future-proof system
stichd specialises in the design, production and distribution of high-quality bodywear, legwear and swimwear. In addition, stichd also designs, develops and distributes licensed fanwear, in cooperation with Formula 1 top teams and with football club Manchester City among others. It is a service-oriented company that also offers its customers value added services (VAS), such as providing price stickers, a new barcode or the customer’s article number on the articles. This requires a flexible approach and a system that can handle many variables.
To lay the foundations for further growth and to improve process efficiency, it sought a partner for the automation of the distribution process. TGW proposed a solution where today’s capacity can be doubled within the current warehouse.
“It was immediately clear to us that FlashPick was the ideal solution for stichd. FlashPick is a smart order fulfilment system for goods-to-person picking that can serve every distribution channel (e-commerce, wholesale and retail). The single-order management approach is ideally suited for omnichannel operations and raises the bar in terms of speed and flexibility,” says Jan-Willem Klinkenberg, Head of Business Development TGW Northern Europe.
At stichd, FlashPick comprises a five-aisle shuttle warehouse with 20 levels, six ergonomic PickCenter One workstations as well as two order-pick robots Rovolution. “This means a quarter of the workstations are robotised,” states Klinkenberg. “For handling fashion, the Rovolution is an ideal application as it picks a wide range of item types, from rigid to soft packaging, such as t-shirts in a polybag for example. Moreover, the Rovolution is deployable 24/7.”
The Warehouse Control System is developed by TGW and provides control and monitoring of all processes. KingDrive transport systems guarantee energy-efficient transport throughout the warehouse. Cartons delivered at goods reception are transported to the pallet reserve warehouse that is used for replenishing FlashPick. Wholesale or retail orders are directly commissioned into shipping cartons. Customer orders can then be delivered to the VAS workstations where additional stickers or barcodes can be added if required.
The design of the logistics centre at stichd already provides the option for a possible doubling of the shuttle block and the connected picking. If stichd continues to grow as dynamically as predicted, the extension could be planned as early as 2025.
Close partnership continues in service contract
From the beginning of the project, there was close and open communication between the TGW and stichd teams. “It is very important for us that the project is also supported internally by the customer and that we get the necessary information. Only when we understand the customers’ requirements and needs, we can design a tailormade system that also generates a good return on investment,” confirms Klinkenberg. “Together with the stichd team, we have dissected the entire distribution process step by step and developed the best solution for each step.”
The close collaboration is continuing even after the go-live of the automated fulfilment centre. An in-house team of six TGW engineers provides preventive maintenance and repair of the system through a Lifetime Services contract for a period of five years.
Long-standing relationship with Puma Group
In 2021 TGW realised the new fulfilment centre of Puma in Geiselwind, Germany. The new omnichannel distribution centre serves all channels from one location and fulfils orders from throughout Europe. In the past, Puma used a decentralized distribution network with local and separate distribution Centres for B2B (retail/wholesale) and B2C (direct-to-consumer). High inventory levels and process costs combined with the fact that Puma could no longer offer its customers the service they expected, made the company decide to consolidate all services in one central fulfilment centre.
TGW deployed a FlashPick solution able to cover both retail/wholesale and e-commerce orders. The high degree of automation also makes it possible to react quickly to changes in the order structures and to do so with consistently high quality.