All Warehouse Processes in Full View Thanks to Optimization with KiSoft Analytics

Published on in Onlinehandel, Retail, Software
3 minutes reading time

Preventing peak panic with clever software

The Very Group, one of the largest online retailers in the UK, has a new highly automated fulfillment center called Skygate. The FC is state of the art and, since its startup in March 2020, many processes have been made even more efficient. As an intelligent software solution, KiSoft Analytics plays a major role in maximising the productivity of daily business and warehouse operation at Skygate, as it helps to optimize all processes in the warehouse. KiSoft Analytics collects and analyzes data non-stop, whether the data is coming from the goods-in area or the shipping area. Thanks to the software, peak periods don’t compromise peak performance at the warehouse.

Skygate: the gold standard in e-commerce fulfillment

As one of the largest digital retailers in the UK, The Very Group operates the online store, very.co.uk, offering 2,000 big brands and flexible payment options. To continue to meet growing customer demand, the company needed a new, purpose-built and automated facility in a well-connected location, with room for future expansion. Plans for Skygate were born but, to bring the vision to life, Very needed a strong partner who could provide the automation technology as well as the appropriate software. Enter, KNAPP.

Skygate - the e-commerce fulfillment center of The Very Group
Skygate is The Very Group’s state of the art fulfillment center, located in the heart of the UK.

Successfully optimize warehouse processes with the right technology

What makes order fulfillment at Skygate so successful is the smart combination of different automation technologies and intelligent software applications. The technologies mesh perfectly, resulting in maximum process efficiency and a great customer experience. Skygate includes:

  • An OSR Shuttle™ Evo with 642,000 storage locations for flexible and automatic storage and provision of items
  • A pocket sorter system allowing one-touch handling of returned goods for immediate availability. Thanks to the sorter, as many as 4,000 returned items can be processed every hour.
  • Ergonomic goods-to-person work stations of the Pick-it-Easy series for fast, efficient picking of almost 15,000 orders per hour
  • Warehouse logistics software KiSoft Analytics for top notch planning and monitoring of all FC areas, from goods-in to goods-out, clearly visualizing performance data on dashboards
OSR Shuttle™ Evo with 3 shuttles above one another
The OSR Shuttle™ Evo has over 400 shuttles and provides 640,000 storage locations, making it one of the largest shuttle systems in Europe.

Order processing in record time: At Skygate, once an order has been made, parcels are ready to be shipped in 30 minutes. The fastest order to date was shipped just 16 minutes after being placed by the customer.

KiSoft Analytics: non-stop, intelligent data compilation

We have a fantastic tool at hand called KiSoft Analytics. It provides us with live data from the entire installation,” says Nathan Seaburn, Head of Fulfillment Operations at The Very Group, appreciating the advantages that come with the intelligent software. KiSoft Analytics is at the core of Skygate, overseeing the entire warehouse. It monitors and controls all processes across the warehouse and their performance. The software visualizes all KPIs on clear dashboards, providing employees with the relevant data at a glance, in real time and at all times.

In addition, KiSoft Analytics makes sure that resources are used to the extent required and immediately alerts employees to any disruptions in the system. This way, all the processes are always running optimally with maximum efficiency.

At the same time, the software collects data, providing a reliable basis for making decisions and defining long-term strategies. If there is a bottleneck in the warehouse on Black Friday, for instance, employees can respond quickly. Once the peak periods have declined, the software analyzes the data with future sales peaks in mind, making it possible to continually improve planning and preparation with every peak.

Flow room at Skygate, The Very Group
The flow room is the control center where all areas of the warehouse are monitored, so any issues are identified and resolved quickly.

Like a GPS for logistics processes

The Very Group can no longer imagine running Skygate without KiSoft Analytics. The software helps the company successfully maneuver through its peak periods. Launching just as UK’s first lockdown started, Skygate and its software were quickly put to the test. With customers staying at home, demand skyrocketed for products like lawn mowers and vacuum cleaners – usually slow-moving products that usually weren’t high in demand. The intelligent KiSoft Analytics software recognized this trend immediately, allowing the online retailer to respond quickly to changes in customer behaviour and keep up with demand.

KiSoft Analytics is like an in-car navigation system. When you type in information, the system tells you which route to take and what you might encounter on the way.

Nathan Seaburn
Head of Fulfillment Operations, The Very Group

Mastering the Black Friday challenge

In general, warehouse capacities are planned for covering the optimum workload during regular operation. However, peak periods, such as Black Friday and the pre-Christmas season, stretch the limits of warehouse processes and employees. For The Very Group, Black Friday means processing three times more orders than usual within the same period of time. This is where KiSoft Analytics, an intelligent software that specializes in peak periods, comes in. Using the software, The Very Group can ideally prepare themselves for what’s coming and take appropriate action to ensure that the installation runs smoothly during peak demand. Thanks to KiSoft Analytics, Skygate can perform with excellence even when the workload is off the charts.

KiSoft Analytics is the tool that helps us to make decisions and plays and important role in our success as a business.

Nathan Seaburn
Head of Fulfillment Operations, The Very Group

Collaborating as equals

The partnership between KNAPP and The Very Group is characterized by respectful and productive teamwork, enabling them to successfully handle even unprecedented challenges. For instance, the partnership was put to the test at the beginning of the pandemic. When the first lockdown was announced by the UK government, the startup of Skygate was just about to be completed. With KNAPP employees no longer able to work on site, there was concern about whether startup could be achieved on the planned date. However, KNAPP, as a value chain tech partner, was able to find a solution for this issue too. In close collaboration with The Very Group, the KNAPP team used Microsoft Teams and virtual reality headsets to make the project a success. In fact, the go live of the fulfillment center successfully took place on the first day of the UK lockdown, and helped Very to be there for its customers throughout the pandemic.

Are you looking for intelligent software and cutting-edge warehouse technology to help you handle peak periods successfully? Drop us a line and schedule a meeting with one of our experts: blog@knapp.com.

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