Printus startet Erweiterungsoffensive im Logistikzentrum Offenburg (Presseinformation) - Fortna

Press Release

Shuttletechnik Printus

Printus Launches Expansion Program at Offenburg Logistics Center

The central theme of Printus's 40-year history is one of robust growth. The Offenburg-based company is one of Europe's largest online retailers and has consolidated its market position in the long term through the acquisition of the OTTO Group's office mail order business (OTTO Office). So, time to adapt logistics operations to the challenges ahead. Ably supported by Fortna | Pierau, Printus is now expanding its warehouse and shipping capacities, in stages and during ongoing operations.

While originally specializing purely in office supplies, Printus's product range now also includes media and communications goods as well as consumer electronics. Today, more than 1,600 employees are dedicated to ensuring that over 3 million customers receive their orders within 24 hours via 18 different online stores and a wide range of catalogs.

Rapidly growing companies face the common challenge that their logistics operations need to keep pace with this growth. Over the course of the company's ongoing corporate success, Printus has benefited from the support of Fortna | Pierau for more than 30 years and has continued to make the necessary investments. The highlight so far dates back to 2005, when a new shipping and administration center with innovative logistics technology was built at the Offenburg headquarters.

Retrofit, Expansion, New Build: New Operations for Transformed Shipment Structures

"Following the successful incorporation of a new business unit, we have added end-customer business to our activities, which are mainly geared to the B2B sector," explains Dietmar Mahler, Logistics Division Manager at Printus. "As private customers generally place smaller orders in smaller quantities, this has changed the shipment structure and because we are also recording significant growth in this area, there was an urgent need for action. We had to increase our operations capacity to stay on top of the rising delivery volumes and to meet our 24-hour delivery promise." The Offenburg company once again entrusted this latest logistics project to our team of experts, namely Project Managers Andreas Spitzki and Jan-Hendrik Plumhoff, who developed a phased design concept that was successively implemented with due consideration for ongoing operations.

The first phase of implementation is the carton startup, where empty cartons erected by machine are conveyed to a new label printing station on their way to picking. In comparison with the previous inkjet system, this now ensures consistent print quality thereby significantly increasing the reading rate of the scanners.

Another expansion stage includes extending the existing miniload to include an additional shuttle warehouse with two aisles. "The shuttle system is designed for a maximum capacity of 35,000 containers and an output of 400 double cycles per hour per aisle,” says Andreas Spitzki. "In the miniload pre-zone, a loop equalizes the storage and retrieval processes and reduces waiting times." An additional container filling station also supplements the existing stock and will in future ensure that items from delivered cartons are coupled with the miniload containers. These are refilled and then travel to the miniload or shuttle warehouse for storage. At each workstation, vertical adjustability ensures that employees receive the containers at an ergonomically optimal height for further processing.

In the order picking are, the technology developed and integrated with us back in 2005 has stood the test of time, "Single-item containers required for order picking are removed from the miniload and transported to the pick towers," explains Jan-Hendrik Plumhoff. "Lifting equipment fitted with load handling devices retrieves the containers from the respective height. Employees remove the required items for further filling of the partially picked cartons with the help of pick-by-light technology."

While existing components have been specifically modernized in some areas of the conveyor system, the packaging area on the first floor has been comprehensively renewed. A new shoe sorter reaches peak performance of 5,000 shipments per hour in the outgoing goods department. In addition, new carton lidding machines with automatic volume reduction use the very latest technology. In this case, the highest item in the carton is measured, the corners are cut to fit, the flaps are folded and the carton is automatically lidded. Thereafter, packages are then labeled using newly installed shipping labelers, and orders ready for shipment are sent to end stations for route distribution.

"With implementation of the next phase of action, we are obtaining a doubling of our storage capacities in the automated pallet high-bay warehouse. The existing five aisles will be joined by a further six aisles thereby allowing us to increase capacity to over 20,000 pallet spaces," says Dietmar Mahler. "In the process, an extension was also built for an additional channel baler for waste paper disposal. Furthermore, the forklift loading stations have recently been installed there. " Their relocation was necessary to make room for the pallet conveyor technology in the newly constructed automated pallet high-bay warehouse. "The complexity of the current project deserves particular mention as the biggest task, which in retrospect we fulfilled very successfully, was to implement the retrofit measures during ongoing operations," explains Dietmar Mahler. "Overall, the measures developed and implemented together with Fortna | Pierau have enabled us to achieve a throughput of over 3,000 shipments per hour, thus obtaining the maximum possible efficiency in the existing building."


About Fortna | Pierau

Fortna |Pierau has been a well-established consultancy for intralogistics and supply chain solutions for 60 years. To date, the Hamburg-based specialists have successfully completed over 2,500 projects throughout Europe and beyond. The portfolio covers the complete range of optimization, expansion or new concept design and implementation of logistics operations and logistics IT systems. Since the beginning of 2020, Fortna | Pierau has been part of the US consulting company Fortna®, The Distribution Experts™.

About Fortna

Fortna partners with the world’s leading brands to transform their distribution operations to keep pace with digital disruption and growth objectives. Known world-wide as The Distribution Experts™, we design and deliver intelligent solutions, powered by FortnaWES™ software, to optimize fast, accurate and cost-effective order fulfillment. Our people, innovative approach and proprietary algorithms and tools, ensure optimal operations design and material and information flow. We deliver exceptional value every day to our clients with comprehensive services including network strategy, distribution center operations, material handling automation, supply chain systems, and warehouse software design and implementation.

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