Warehouse automation specialist, KNAPP AG, is celebrating its success in no less than five prestigious awards programmes. The automated handling system that the company designed and installed for the pharmacy-led retail giant, Boots UK, has picked up accolades at the Grocer Gold Awards, the Supply Chain Distinction Awards, the Retail Week Awards, the NG Retail Summit and the European Supply Chain Excellence Awards.

At the 2012 Grocer Gold Awards in June, KNAPP scooped the ‘Technology & Logistics Supplier of the Year’ award for the automated handling solution it supplied for Boots UK’s new distribution centre in Burton-upon-Trent, fighting off tough competition from other nominees in the category, including Kuehne-Nagel and NFT Distribution Operations.

Also in June, Boots won the Operational Excellence accolade at the Supply Chain Distinction Awards in Berlin. Then, in September, Boots with KNAPP won the Retail Week Supply Chain Award for the ‘Logistics Distribution Development of the Year’ for the Burton-upon-Trent facility. The judges commented on the Boots system: “The winner is a complex, well-planned and well-executed project that represents a bold step by the retailer.”

October saw the award of the fourth prize – the GDS International “Leader in Innovation” accolade – presented to KNAPP at the NG Retail Summit in Milan, the convention for the worldwide food and retail industry. The winner was chosen by the NG20 committee, which includes thought leaders of industry giants such as Coca-Cola.

The final award for the Burton Service Centre came when Boots with KNAPP received the Retail Award at the European Supply Chain Excellence Awards in November. The team secured the prize in the face of strong competition from the other nominees, ASOS with CitySprint, Nisa with DHL Supply Chain and RSPB.

£50 million investment

Boots UK, which is a member of Alliance Boots, opened its new distribution facility in Burton-upon-Trent in February 2012. It invested over £50 million in the facility, which included the purchase of the existing 460,000 sq ft building – the area of six football pitches – its total refurbishment and the automated handling systems. The building encompasses the retailer’s UK Christmas Gift operations and its growing International Retail distribution facility. The third element is the e-commerce fulfilment operation for boots.com using a multichannel system supplied by KNAPP. The retailer had experienced rapid growth in its online operations, driving a move from its outsourced, largely manual operation in Birmingham to in-house fulfilment in the new Burton Service Centre. The solution supports order processing for the product lines of the company’s e-commerce operation.

Automated shuttle storage

At the heart of the solution are 12 of KNAPP’s OSR Shuttle™ systems, which provide automated storage combined with goods-to-person order picking at eight ergonomically designed Pick-it-Easy workstations. Ideal for slow- and medium-moving goods, the OSR Shuttle™ systems process the majority of the inventory at Burton. Fast-moving products, meanwhile, are picked in a flow rack area at one of eight workstations that utilise pick-to-light technology.

Resident engineers

KNAPP also supplied its KiSoft WMS (warehouse management system) and KiSoft WCS (warehouse control software) to optimise all warehouse movements and processes. In addition, Boots UK contracted KNAPP to provide a team of resident engineers in order to maintain the handling solution.

Efficiency increased by 65%

The system has increased time efficiency by 65% compared to the previous manual operation, while also improving order traceability. The solution is already providing a significant reduction in variable costs and its modular design provides a platform for further growth.


Tel: 01844 202149

Email: sales.uk@knapp.com


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