Mexx's DC delivers highly flexible and responsive order fulfilment

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The system handles goods for a diverse range of store formats. Each of its product lines - Woman, Man, Youth, XX, Sport and BabyMini - launch around 8 collections each per year. With multiple product lines and seasonal collections flexibility and responsiveness are key.

Mexx, part of the Liz Claiborne Group, sells an extensive range of fashion apparel and accessories for men women and children in over 65 countries.  A multichannel distribution network is available in over 10,000 selling-points (including standalone stores, shop-in-stores and factory outlets) and also directly via the Mexx eshop and mail order catalogue.

Dematic was commissioned to design and implement a distribution centre project for Mexx.  The system includes Dematic's DC Director WMS which also handles stock management and control with visualization and Mexx-specific host interface.  A Pick to Light and Put to Light system with 6308 displays and optimally placed ergonomic control panels ensure virtually error-free operation in the picking and packing areas. To ensure efficiency savings continue beyond the DC, a flow meter connected to the stock management computer optimises the fill level in containers and boxes for delivery.

In a year the system handles 30 million flat packed pieces consisting of 54,000 SKUs.

The Challenge
Mexxs multiple brands are sold through 3 different store concepts (Family Store, Lifestyle Store and Kids Store) which are tailored to different customer segments. This coupled with the varied and seasonal product range means greater demands on a logistics centre.  Dematics solution had to deliver a degree of flexibility not often associated with automated solutions.

Another major driver for the distribution centre was to enable the company to capitalise upon fashion industry trends such as the reduction of stockholding and lead times to stores, with 7 day a week deliveries and greater space utilisation.  Dematics design simultaneously achieves optimum throughput while keeping stock to a minimum.
The solution is primarily based upon the principle that all incoming goods are transported from the delivery trucks to the palletising area and then stored in high-bay racking systems served by stackers. The stock management system supplies the palletised goods for repacking in picking containers as required. They are then transported directly to the picking zones.

Handling a full range of movers
Because of the relatively low storage capacity, palletised items not yet in the requirement window can be distributed to external storage areas until needed.

Conversely the system can fast track items with very short response times.  These items are sent to a single-stage, series, and zone-based customer order picking system where customer orders are picked directly into dispatch cartons using both Goods to Person and Person to Goods technologies.

With a highly dynamic rearrangement of old and new items collection changes are managed concurrently. 

Automated replenishment for core areas
The main picking areas are supplied by an automatic feed system. Operators then use Paperless order picking with Pick-to-light Radio data terminals to manually Pick to Light or Put to Light.

Customer Benefits
Flexible, highly responsive system handles a wide spectrum of order structures
Compact design
Paperless operation with high pick performance and accuracy
Reduced labour requirements
Modular system allows for future growth
Dematic DC Dircetor provides Mexx with the flexibility it needs to manage ongoing business change.
Automation delivers high system throughput with moderate investment
Increase in overall volume to 40 million pieces per year

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