Big W, Australia

BIG W’s integrated logistics solution for its new Hoxton Park DC in Sydney includes the most sophisticated array of materials handling and order fulfilment technologies, systems and software commissioned to date in Australia.

Key among the many innovations within the 89,000 m2 DC is the first Dematic Multishuttle® storage buffer and sequencing system in Australia. The 29,400 tote capacity Multishuttle supplies a range of lower volume, higher value split case SKUs to the first automated 1:24 Goods-to-Person (GTP) order fulfilment stations in the country.

The DC’s Logistics Manager, Philip Town, explained why BIG W decided to be first to implement the new technology in Australia: “When the design was on the drawing board, we looked at best practice logistics operations and the thing that kept on coming up was Goods-to-Person (GTP), and the benefits that GTP provides to a logistics operation by having the stock come to the picker rather than the picker having to walk around picking every individual item, and we decided it was correct for a selection of our stock.”

“We are now achieving significant benefits out of our GTP system, achieving pick rates of 491 OMs (order multiples) per hour per pick station, which compares very favourably with our conventional pick-to-belt throughput of around 120 OMs per hour,” added Mr Town.

“Instead of slowly ramping up throughput capacity, we were sufficiently confident that our order fulfilment systems would be up to the task from day one, so we went live with the ‘big bang’ approach on March 26, 2012, servicing all of our stores at the same time, and achieved our expected throughput volumes from day one.

“One of the key factors to the successful go-live was the way BIG W project management, the DC operations team and logistics systems supplier Dematic all worked together as one unit in order to deliver the project on time.

“Getting our GTP operations team on board early in the process so they could learn as much about the system as possible and take ownership of the process, also ensured a smooth and successful transition when we went live.”

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