DHL Supply Chain opens automated fulfillment center for IKEA

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Deutsche Post DHL Group’s contract logistics division DHL Supply Chain is to open an automated fulfillment center in Bergkamen, Germany, for home furnishings group IKEA.

The facility was commissioned to help IKEA handle its B2C online business in Germany, which grew during the Covid-19 pandemic. The multi-customer site in Bergkamen has 40,000m2  of warehouse space and is part of the neighboring DHL Supply Chain Unna Campus, which is 10km away. Going forward, 20,000m2 of warehouse space will be available for IKEA alone, with some 350 employees working for the customer on-site six days a week in three shifts. The site will be fully operational at the end of June 2022, at which point an average of 8,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) will be processed on-site. At full capacity, the site is capable of processing 11,000 SKUs.

Packaging machines are available on-site for sensitive goods that require special packaging. To pick products efficiently, complex conveyor automation is used in conjunction with robots from warehouse automation company Locus Robotics and picking machines from logistics automation company Packsize. To calculate the best package size, the system uses a cubistic algorithm. As a result, packing and filling material, as well as volume weight, are reduced.

Rainer Haag, CEO of DHL Supply Chain, Germany and the Alps, said, “For DHL Supply Chain, the implementation represents another important building block in our drive to grow e-commerce, one of our strategic growth sectors, as well as the continuation of our commercial automation and digitization strategy for continuous improvement in operations. Thanks to the Locus robots, the distances our warehouse staff need to walk have been radically reduced and picking effectiveness significantly increased. By interacting with employees on-site, the system reduces individual order process times, optimizes employee workflows and improves operational efficiency.”

Kai Fuhlrott, country customer fulfillment manager for IKEA Deutschland, said, “The consumer sector around the world is undergoing change at the moment. Part of this change is the ever-increasing importance of online retail. Our focus is set on the changing needs of our customers. The commissioning of the Bergkamen fulfillment center for IKEA Germany allows us to take another step in providing an outstanding shopping experience for our customers, whenever and wherever, online or in our stores. We are delighted to have found a new, competent partner in DHL Supply Chain, who has shown us new ways forward and has been able to set up a highly complex, customized fulfillment solution for us at the Bergkamen site in just a short space of time.

Bernd Schäfer, mayor of Bergkamen, said, “Having two leading companies in their respective industries partner here on-site offers a degree of security for the city of Bergkamen as well as for employees. This is an important factor given the current pace of change. For Bergkamen, the A2 Logistics Park remains the right decision at the right time. I am convinced that the site offers the potential and opportunities to continue to profit from the growth of logistics – the largest business sector in Germany after automotive and trade. Logistics is a strong industry with a powerful focus on growth and the future. It is, therefore, a welcome partner for Bergkamen.”

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