Ostermann, Germany

Ostermann is retailer headquartered in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany operating retail furniture stores and kitchen studios.

Its products range from kitchen, design, and brand furniture, to popular flat-pack furniture and all-inclusive baby equipment. Their stores also feature an extensive range of accessories and household equipment. 

The Challenges

Ostermann has over the years implemented numerous upgrades to its distribution center, but with growing retail space to service it was running out of storage space. Increasing throughput was becoming a major challenge. To increase the capacity by more than 50%, Ostermann required a comprehensive automation solution.  

Our Solution

To provide additional space and increase throughput capacity, Ostermann installed an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) and workstations. 

Performance optimizing software controls the material flow including storage location management and load sequencing to the goods-to-person workstations. 

On an annual basis, the distribution center handles around 12,000 incoming shipments from suppliers. All incoming goods — for example, mattresses, chairs, cabinet parts packed in cardboard boxes — are identified by wireless RF terminals and then placed in roll-cages.  

The roll-cages are loaded in the receiving area. The received inventory is put away in the AS/RS for later distribution to Ostermann retail centers and customers.

Furniture held in roll-cages moves to the appropriate inbound station on the conveyor system. On the way to the AS/RS, each roll-cage passes through an identification point (i-point) to identify and check the container. 

The i-point checks whether the loads are properly distributed in roll-cage, that they do not overhang, or that they do not exceed the permissible maximum weight. Each storage and retrieval machine can support up to 28 double cycles per hour. 

Retrieval of next-day deliveries starts in the morning and finishes around 2:00 pm. Put-away of incoming goods takes place until around 7:00 pm, mainly in the afternoon. 

With customer-specific loading, the majority of roll-cages required for orders can be transferred directly from the AS/RS to the goods-to-person workstations. After order picking is completed, roll cages are redirected back to the AS/RS. 

Once an order is assigned to a specific delivery route, all goods are transported to a shipping door. On average, Ostermann provides approximately 500 deliveries per day.

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