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KION Makes Online Shopping Easy

With just a few clicks of the mouse, that outfit we’ve been longing for is in the cart and on its way to us. Online shopping is booming, with many people preferring to buy their new clothes online rather than in the store – and not just since the coronavirus pandemic. On hand to ensure seamless shipping and speedy returns processes are the products from KION brands Dematic and STILL. On the occasion of tomorrow's World Fashion Day, we’re taking a look behind the scenes of the online fashion industry.


We browse through thousands of products and click our way through countless online stores in the search for the perfect outfits for the new season. Once we’ve made our purchase, we eagerly await the ring of the doorbell and the arrival of the courier to bring us our goods. Then it’s time to try them on. And if we don’t like something or it doesn’t fit, we simply send it back to the retailer through the mail. Online shopping has become a regular part of day-to-day life. As a study by the business analyst and corporate consultant KPMG (2019) shows, 19–24-year-olds already make more than half their overall purchases over the internet. And older people, too, are increasingly discovering the benefits of online ordering. We take it as granted that our purchases will be delivered within a few days and that we will get our money back as soon as possible if we have to return anything. To make that possible, retailers rely on complex logistics and distribution processes. This is where KION brands Dematic and STILL come in, offering the optimum coordination of these processes.

24-Hour Shipping Thanks to Intralogistics from STILL

In recent years, there has been a huge increase in demand for shorter delivery times for clothing. This in turn means that retailers are under enormous pressure to keep shipping processes as simple as possible. To ensure speedy delivery, New Wave GmbH has built a modern logistics center in Geiselwind, exclusively for the distribution of products from the long-established Swedish brand CRAFT in Germany. The location of the site on the A3 and A7 highways means it offers outstanding transport connections. In line with this, it was essential for the center’s intralogistics processes to be set up in such a way as to ensure the optimum flow of goods inside the warehouse, too. The target delivery window was as clear-cut as it was challenging, with the company aiming to deliver each order within a maximum of 24 hours. To make that happen, KION subsidiary STILL was commissioned with the planning and installation of the intralogistics. To maximize the utilization of the height of the storage space, STILL installed a high rack warehouse. To ensure maximum use of floorspace and optimum material flow, this was divided into one narrow aisle warehouse with ten aisles, and one wide aisle warehouse with eight aisles. Another highlight is the innovative Active Floor Compensation (AFC) assistance system, which allows the MX-X turret trucks to reach their maximum travel speed without the expense of smoothing down the warehouse floors. The system detects any floor unevenness on the tracks of the load wheels, which it then offsets in real time using impulses, preventing mast vibrations. There are also 33,000 picking positions and 8,500 pallet storage positions, which provide optimum order picking and allow the system to respond flexibly to online orders.

The high rack warehouse with narrow aisles boasts exceptionally high space utilization, making it ideal for large numbers of items with medium turnover. An MX-X Very Narrow Aisle Truck is used for order picking and for the storage and retrieval of pallets.

Dematic Automates Distribution Centers

The Landmark Group has also responded to the increased demand and set up the first fully-automated distribution center in Dubai. At this site, the retail company stores and distributes various items – including clothes, furniture and toys – to almost 1,400 of its retail stores, and from there directly to end customers. The center has 265,000 square meters of storage space and capacity for up to 2.2 million boxes and two million hanging garments. The comprehensive automation technology for the cutting-edge warehouse was provided by Dematic. As well as a 43-meter-high high-bay pallet warehouse, the KION subsidiary also worked with the Wagner Group to fit the distribution center out with a fire protection system with an oxygen-reduced environment.

With a hanging goods sorting system for two million garments, the center is able to achieve average turnover rates of up to 250,000 items per day. Another highlight is the Dematic Multishuttle system, which is the biggest there has ever been. The system consists of two Multishuttle systems – one box buffer and one day buffer. The first system sorts stock for the next day, while the second Multishuttle retrieves the daily requirement of around 370,000 items. Dematic software ensures the smooth and efficient control of all sub-systems, and also provides all the relevant additional information in real time.

A similar project is already underway. Dematic has automated the distribution center of the global luxury goods group Kering S.A. in Trecate, Italy. The new global logistics center was built in record time and covers an area of more than 162,000 square meters. 100,000 square meters of which Dematic has equipped with automation technology that offers scalability, innovative sustainability and many features for employee well-being. The first part of the building has already been in operation since March 2020, and the more than 100,000-square-foot second area is on schedule to be ramped up by the end of the second quarter of 2021.

The high-bay pallet warehouse has up to 36,000 storage positions. The two Dematic Multishuttles can transport up to 15,000 containers per hour.

Dematic’s Bag Sorting System Simplifies Returns

Alongside shipping, returns also play an important role in online shopping. The faster the retailer can sort returned products, the quicker the goods can be put back into distribution and the sooner the customer gets their money back. A high proportion of returns also posed challenges for the HABA family of companies. On its search for a solution with a high degree of automation, the toy manufacturer, whose range also includes clothing, found just what they were looking for in Dematic. They opted for a modular, scalable bag sorting system for returns processing: A flexible solution, which handles the storage, sorting, sequencing and intermediate buffering of a wide variety of goods. Dematic is also supporting the toy manufacturer when it comes to compiling new orders. The batch order picking system has 17 racks with a possible output of up to 2,000 items per hour. Thanks to Dematic, returns to HABA are back ready for sale in just 30 to 45 minutes, which used to take several days.

The fully automated system loads up to 1,200 bags per hour, with each package labeled with its own RFID tag and barcode. This means the retailer can use the system to identify where each item is located at any time.

The changes in the way we shop has posed huge challenges to the shipping and returns processes of online retailers. The increase in online orders also means an increase in the number of returns. These examples from Europe and Dubai demonstrate that, thanks to the solutions from KION brands Dematic and STILL, retailers can overcome these new challenges – with intelligent and efficient processes that fit like a dream.