DHL to use robotics and automation to improve operational efficiency for IKEA

DHL Supply Chain, the division of Deutsche Post DHL Group specializing in contract logistics, is commissioning a new, highly automated fulfillment centre for its customer IKEA in Bergkamen.

With this state-of-the-art location, DHL is supporting the furnishing group in handling its rapidly growing B2C online business in Germany. The overall growth of the e-commerce business was significantly boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic, so IKEA saw an urgent need to expand the B2C fulfilment capabilities it needed.

The multi-customer site in Bergkamen has a total of 40,000 m2 of storage space and is part of the neighbouring DHL Supply Chain Campus Unna, which is less than 10 km away. In the future, 20,000 m2 of storage space will be available for IKEA alone . Around 350 employees at the Bergkamen site will work for the customer in three shifts, six days a week.

By the end of June, the operational process for IKEA will be fully operational. Then an average of 8,000 stock keeping units (SKUs = storage unit that includes all identical articles of a certain product variant) are processed there. In total, the stock on site can be increased to up to 11,000 SKUs.

“For DHL Supply Chain, this implementation is another important building block in the consistent expansion in the e-commerce sector, one of our strategic growth sectors, as well as in the continuation of our commercial automation and digitization strategy for continuous improvement in operations,” says Rainer Haag, Chief Executive Officer DHL Supply Chain Germany & Alps.

“Thanks to the Locus robots, our employees in the warehouse are significantly relieved due to shorter walking distances and thus the effectiveness in the pick area is significantly increased. In conjunction with the employees working on site, the system increases the processing speed of each individual order, optimizes the workflows for the employees and improves operational efficiency,” Rainer Haag continues.

Kai Fuhlrott, Country Customer Fulfilment Manager IKEA Germany, says: “Retail is changing worldwide. Part of this change is the permanently growing importance of online trading. The changing needs of our customers are the focus of our attention. With the commissioning of the Bergkamen fulfillment location for IKEA Germany, we are pleased to take another step towards providing our customers with an excellent shopping experience at all times. Whether they want to connect with IKEA online or in our stores.” Kai Fuhlrott continues: “We are pleased that we have found a new, competent partner in DHL Supply Chain, who shows us new solutions and has established a highly complex, tailor-made fulfilment solution at the Bergkamen location in a short time.”

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