Central and south-eastern European online retail pioneers bank on KNAPP technology
Online retail is booming – and not just for the well-known e-commerce giants. The largest online retailer in Romania, eMAG.ro, recently opened a new fully automatic distribution centre in Bucharest. With eMAG in Romania and other customers including MALL.CZ, HP TRONIC and Alza.cz in the Czech Republic, KNAPP has secured a strong position as technology partner for e-commerce logistics in central and south-eastern Europe
The success story began in 2015 at the CeMAT in Hannover, where KNAPP had their first talks with the Czech online pioneer MALL.CZ. Within just six months, the KNAPP team had designed a solution that convinced MALL.CZ with its high level of flexibility and scalability, as well as its ability to grow along with the company as performance demands increased. It was a good call, as the MALL group currently supplies 18 central and eastern European countries with a total population of 130 million and plans to continue to grow.
E-commerce challenges: dog food and electronics
“To efficiently process such a wide range of goods, we had to ensure that heavy items such as large bags of dog food could be automatically transported and sorted just as easily as small electronics,” explains Lenka Neuhold, Director Mobile Subsidiary, KNAPP. For her, it was important to achieve maximum cost effectiveness at maximum flexibility and performance for MALL.CZ while solving the bottleneck in the consolidation and packing areas. “KNAPP recognized that the e-commerce business has strong peaks that require high performance, something that is reflected in the solution. Other suppliers offered us solutions with linear throughputs. However, that’s not what e-commerce is about or what we needed. This showed us that KNAPP understood our business and our requirements – their solution also offered the highest ROI and cost savings compared to other solution providers,” says Oldřich Petránek, Consultant, inLogistics, about the collaboration.
The first expansion to the distribution centre near Prague started operation just 10 months after the contract was signed. The solution comprising an OSR Shuttle™ system and pocket sorter technology has proved its worth. It was in fact the first time the EcoPocket pocket sorter was utilized outside of fashion logistics. In the years that followed, the warehouse was continually expanded. In autumn 2018, the last expansion was completed, which increased the shipping capacity to 150,000 items per day.
eMAG opens fully automatic e-commerce warehouse in the outskirts of Bucharest
KNAPP is also an established technology partner in Romania, which is a logical development, seeing as Romania’s online retail sector is one of the largest in south-eastern Europe according to the European E-commerce Report. The flagship is the online retailer eMAG. The company’s new fully automatic distribution centre in Joita, Giurgiu county opens beginning of November, 2022 in the eve of the most expected sales event of the year in Romania, Black Friday. Their technology partner KNAPP provided an OSR Shuttle™ Evo, with 18 rack line systems, which supplies goods to 29 Pick-it-Easy workstations and one Pick-it-Easy Robot. A high-performance sorter sorts dispatch cartons, ensuring 15,000 cartons per hour can be dispatched. A team of KNAPP service technicians – Resident Engineers – are on site to keep the warehouse running smoothly at all times. The Resident Engineers also work to continuously optimize the system. eMAG also has plans to expand and has included space for 18 additional rack line systems.
From the initial concept to years of collaboration
KNAPP has had technology partnerships for e-commerce and retail logistics in south-eastern and eastern Europe for several years. KNAPP delivered a conveyor system solution for Alza.cz’s central warehouse in Prague and has been working with the electronics retailer HP TRONIC since 2016. They have a classic omnichannel solution with an OSR Shuttle™ and goods-to-person work stations and supply both their own shops and online customers.
E-Commerce automation does not have to be difficult
The time and the way a company enters the world of e-commerce logistics automation should be planned step by step while considering all relevant aspects. Both depend on individual turnover figures and growth prognoses. Lenka Neuhold, Director Mobile Subsidiary, KNAPP AG, has been supporting businesses getting started with and further developing their e-commerce logistics for years. “With our customers, we develop scenarios and expansion steps. The solution has to provide maximum efficiency at all times. The most common criteria for automating a business include growing order volumes and an increasing number of items, but also quality and short delivery times. Orders have to be fulfilled with top quality and with ever increasing speed, so as not to disappoint the online customer with an error or a long wait,” she explains. Many e-commerce customers offer or are working to offer next-day delivery. KNAPP technologies make achieving this goal possible. “Examples of this are our OSR Shuttle™ Evo warehouse system, from which all goods can be retrieved at any time; one-touch picking or pre-sorting of dispatch routes, such as with the pocket sorters. One key component here is a comprehensive, intelligent software solution such as our KiSoft software,” explains Lenka Neuhold.
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eMAG.ro opens their new, fully automated warehouse with KNAPP technology on November 7, 2022 (© eMAG)
The OSR Shuttle™ and pocket sorter solution from KNAPP convinced MALL.CZ with its high flexibility and scalability (© KNAPP/ Niederwieser)
Lenka Neuhold, Director Mobile Subsidiary, KNAPP AG (© KNAPP/ Kanizaj)