A large picking installation to manage the online sales

Spartoo speeds up its ecommerce operations with a mezzanine floor installation

A large picking installation to manage the online sales

Video transcription

Technology, constant innovation and customer service are some of the keys to the success of ecommerce companies.

Ecommerce eliminates borders while guaranteeing a speedy purchasing process — all at the best price. Three young French entrepreneurs seized upon that opportunity in 2006, when they decided to open their own online shop. The result was SPARTOO, Europe's leading online retailer of shoes, handbags and clothing.

Today, SPARTOO has a turnover of 250 million euros. Its online shop offers its customers an extensive catalogue where they can choose from more than 3,500 brands and 300,000 different SKUs of footwear, fashion accessories and ready-to-wear items.

Behind this sophisticated enterprise is a warehouse with a high storage capacity, direct access to each product and, above all, a flexible order preparation system aligned with the firm’s needs.

Mecalux has collaborated in the implementation of this solution by bringing to the table all its expertise in mezzanine floor installations.

When we began thinking about our logistics project — a project of paramount importance to our company — we were looking for a world-renowned partner with considerable know-how to guide and work alongside us, especially in the context of starting-up an ecommerce business. So, after putting the project out to tender, we instinctively and quickly opted for Mecalux, which met all these requirements. Plus, Mecalux gave us the chance to visit other infrastructures that were very similar to what we wanted so that we could visualise the concept. That is, everything flowed really naturally: we signed the contract and got to work.

STÉPHANE BULLIOD, General Manager at SPARTOO

With a surface area of 23,000 m², the warehouse consists of two sections connected by a large closed-circuit conveyor and a sorting, consolidation and order dispatch zone.

In the first section, operations, which take up over half of the warehouse’s surface area, are carried out at floor level. A mezzanine with three-levels plus the floor has been installed in this zone, as well as a conveyor system to organise and prepare orders.

The conveyor lines cross each of the levels centrally. Racks, meanwhile, are arranged on the sides. Goods are transferred between levels by means of lifts at the ends of the conveyor lines.

Section 1 has storage capacity for 400,000 items of clothing, handbags and accessories. Footwear is placed in bays spanning 3 levels and measuring 2.5 m wide, while garments and accessories are stored in bays with 4 and 7 levels.

The conveyor system joins the two sections and links the various mezzanine floors, which contain a total of 32 pick stations, where operators prepare orders.

Section 2 stands out for its imposing 3-level platform, plus the floor, quadrupling the usable surface area. This configuration makes full use of the height to maximise the available space and obtain greater storage capacity; in other words, this zone can store up to 800,000 pairs of shoes in the same space.

Order preparation takes place in a picking area under the "person-to-product" principle: operators move to the slots containing the items in the order.

As wave picking is the method used, several items of the same SKU are removed in a single run, thereby reducing the time workers need to move around the installation. Picking is done by means of boxes containing either single- or multi-item orders. Once operators have completed the task in their zone, they place the boxes on the central conveyor. The boxes are then selected in the dispatch area, and the orders are grouped together again.

Finally, the boxes arrive at the sorting stations. There, operators pick the items and prepare the packages to be sent to customers, including the packing list and corresponding shipping label.

The orders are then sent to the preload area, where they are sorted by shipping route.

As a company policy, all orders placed by SPARTOO’s customers before 5 p.m. are sent on the same day. To meet this requirement, the company needed a picking solution that was efficient enough to organise and dispatch up to 20,000 orders per day.

Replenishment of the products on the racking takes place during the morning off-peak hours. Items are picked directly from the receiving conveyor and placed in the corresponding locations.

This installation is equipped with smoke detectors and sprinklers, strategically placed inside the racks. When positioning them, the dimensions of the loads and the type of goods stored were taken into account.

The racking is equipped with grid shelves, ensuring both optimal ventilation and water circulation. The same applies to part of the floor, which is composed of grid panels for removing smoke in case of fire.

The solution provided by Mecalux means that we can face the future with peace of mind; it’s afforded us not only a large storage capacity, but also a scalable solution. That is, we don’t need to build mezzanines over the entire storage surface area right away, but, rather, can do so gradually. I’ll explain: we’ve already begun building a small 4,000-square-metre section; next will be a second part measuring 1,800 square metres, and there will be room for 3 more sections totalling 2,500 square metres each before covering the entire surface area of that section. From the outset, the warehouse was designed to be extensible, with construction to be completed within 10 years.

STÉPHANE BULLIOD, General Manager at SPARTOO

Together with other suppliers, Mecalux has equipped SPARTOO with part of its logistics solutions in this installation. These solutions can evolve in line with the company’s future growth.

This warehouse — consisting of picking shelves with walkways that make up four levels with varying features and dimensions — adapts to the storage needs of each of the products distributed by the firm.

It comprises a quick and effective order preparation system for a facility devised and created to accompany and support SPARTOO’s expansion.