Pets at Home is to undergo a major upgrade at its ecommerce distribution centre in Northampton with a £2.5 million warehouse automation project.
The retailer has signed a deal with Conveyor Networks to install an automated picking and packing system spanning three floors. It follows a trifold growth in ecommerce parcel volumes in the last 18 months. Once implemented the warehouse will be capable of supporting Pets At Home’s future expansion plans of 100% growth in parcel volumes over the next five years.
The UK DC is responsible for fulfilment of online orders, including subscription-based medicines. The system will include conveyor modules, packing machinery, automated label print and apply and intelligent routing and sorting. It will also include the software platform that will manage the interface between the PLC control system and the host WMS platform; imio software’s MFC module (Material Flow Control) which controls the flow of data between both programs and will provide real-time operational visibility and tracking capability and is provided by Conveyor Networks’ associate business – imio Software Solutions.
“Automating material flow and packing for our ecommerce and subscription-based medicines is a priority following our recent growth,” said Terry Siddle, director of logistics and distribution at Pets At Home. “It’s vital that we can handle increasing orders and parcel volumes without causing compromise to our high customer delivery expectations,” he said.
Pets at Home’s own in-house fleet manages the majority of the retailer’s click and collect orders to store, whereas home deliveries are handled by external carriers.
Marcus Uprichard, sales and marketing director at Conveyor Networks, said automation will become a more popular option for retailers looking to cope with increased volumes. “Our recent research has found that peak volumes are adding on average around 50% more parcels per day for retailers. Add in a growing customer expectation on delivery and this is putting pressure on warehousing and fulfilment. This system for Pets At Home is going to help them realise their enviable growth ambitions while allowing them to circumnavigate the traditional issues of extra resource required to facilitate such growth – especially at peak times.”
The £2.5million deal follows a project in 2017 that saw Conveyor Networks upgrade obsolescent controls at Pets At Home’s Stoke DC, which is responsible for distributing stock to its 450+ stores across the UK.
Image credit: Pets at Home