Fashion logistics: From sheep to shop

Hyster Europe has worked with fashion logistics company Meyer & Meyer to plan its new materials handling equipment in record time.

The strong growth of online shopping is not only a challenge for the fashion world, but also for logistics companies. In 2017, fashion logistics company Meyer & Meyer had just nine months to build a modern distribution warehouse for fashion and lifestyle products at a site in Peine, Germany. As the installation had to be complete in time for the Christmas rush, it was a challenge for Hyster Europe.

Family-owned Meyer & Meyer is an experienced fashion logistics specialist, accompanying customers throughout the entire supply chain – from sheep to shop. From the headquarters in Osnabrück, Germany, the company controls logistics activities in Europe, Asia and North Africa, with 1,800 employees.

Investment of over 25 million Euros

Meyer & Meyer has expanded its capacity by adding the new 45,000 square metre logistics site, close to its existing site in Peine. The fashion logistics specialist invested more than 25 million Euros in the new central warehouse, which supplies goods to many different locations for fashion distribution partners.

To expand the warehouse for storing hanging garments, which had been in place for several years, the company started commissioning a 25,000 sqm hall for packing materials in June 2015.

Wire guidance system holds the truck in the track

At the heart of the new logistics centre are four powerful Hyster® C1.3 narrow-aisle lift trucks (VNA). VNA in the Hyster C1.0-1.5 series are designed to lift loads up to 17 metres with a patented Quad form mast.

The intelligent design of the turret head in these VNA models is one of the most compact and robust in the industry and provides reliable load stability. In addition, high-performance three-phase AC motors, the CANbus communication system and temperature control systems minimise maintenance requirements.

To ensure that the forklifts can be used even in narrowest aisles and remain in the right track, Meyer & Meyer opted to use a sophisticated wire guided system.

"In the middle of the aisle is an inductive wire that precisely guides the forklift," says Torsten Franke, Managing Director of the Hyster dealer GS Gabelstapler Service in Wolfenbüttel, Germany. "This makes it possible to fully exploit the space available, with only a few centimetres clearance from the shelves."

Fashion from all over the world

"Approximately 70 percent of our fashion goods are temporarily stored and then delivered to other logistics locations with the help of a warehouse management system. Elevators are used for this purpose, automatically transporting the goods to the first floor of the warehouse," says warehouse manager Alexander Balko from Meyer & Meyer. The rest of the goods are provided directly to logistics locations and distribution partners.

Fashion from all over the world is delivered to the Meyer & Meyer warehouse by lorries. From the ramp, Hyster® pallet trucks and order pickers take over, and transport the goods to the high-rack warehouse, where the narrow-aisle trucks are waiting for them.

More than 50 Hyster® trucks in operation

More than 50 Hyster trucks are continually in use at Meyer & Meyer.

"In addition to the planning, the other big challenge was to deliver all trucks to the site so that Meyer & Meyer could complete their installation in only nine months - from the P1.6 electric pallet truck, through to the K1.0L order picker, and the R1.6 Reach Truck to the VNA trucks," says Franke.

"The different trucks have been specially selected for their use and to fit together like cogs in the operation. For example, the low-level order pickers are specially designed for time-critical picking tasks but are also suitable for the horizontal transport of loads, such as cross-docking and shuttling duties," Franke continues.

However, the enormous effort from Hyster Europe has paid off.

"Hyster had the best offering and has proven to us in the past that they have the best service," says warehouse manager Balko. For example, an on-site service engineer from GS Gabelstapler Service looks after the forklifts, takes care of the maintenance and repairs the trucks.

Efficient energy management reduces costs

Almost all warehouse trucks used at Meyer & Meyer are equipped with lithium-ion batteries. This allows fast recharging, for example during the lunch break, and ensures a long service life under the toughest conditions. In addition, the forklifts have efficient energy management systems, which provide low operating costs.

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