More efficient and reliable processing of the explosive growth in the number of (web) articles

Serving more than 3 million customers and operating 1200 stores, Kruidvat is a leader in the Health & Beauty market in the Netherlands and Belgium. The logistics operation of A.S. Watson Health & Beauty Benelux in Heteren processes average daily volumes of approximately 950,000 packages with 20,000 different articles for 1200 stores. This means that the Distribution Center processes incoming and outgoing volumes of 3,000 to 4,000 pallets each day.

Horizontal color image of female hands holding a digital tablet in a corridor of futuristic distribution warehouse. Ordering online from a modern warehouse on a touchscreen tablet computer. Large distribution storage in background with racks full of packages, boxes, pallets, crates ready to be delivered. Logistics, freight, shipping, receiving.

The challenge

Ever since Kruidvat opened its first drugstore in 1975, the chain has enjoyed buoyant growth. This growth surpassed the capacity of Kruidvat’s distribution center, so the decision was made to build a new central distribution center for Kruidvat and Trekpleister in Heteren. The market conditions in this industry – with an increasing number of special sale articles, a growing range of articles with a shorter life cycle, smaller quantities and shorter delivery times – also necessitated an upgrade of the chain’s logistics concept. In addition, the chain needed to radically improve the reliability of its deliveries, and significantly reduce the number of dockets, packing lists, etcetera.

The solution

The implementation of a Smart Warehouse Management System (SmartWMS) turned out to be the right solution. A.S. Watson outsourced the management tasks of the SmartWMS to ICT Group, which works in close cooperation with A.S. Watson to maintain and expand the system. The SmartWMS communicates with the administrative system of the drugstore chain, and manages the intake, storage, order picking, the sorting system and the dispatch of goods. Thanks to advanced optimization procedures, the required operations are carried out efficiently, while built-in checks ensure extremely reliable deliveries to the stores.

A.S. Watson’s logistics operation involved complete system integrations between the SmartWMS and the following modules:

• Pick-to-Light systems
• Pick-to-Belt systems
• Dynamic Picking System
• Voice Picking
• Conveyor belts
• Sorting systems
• DecoStations
• Handheld Terminals
• Truck Terminals

The SmartWMS solution is capable of handling the future growth of A.S. Watson’s distribution center. Various expansions enabled the chain to meet the required capacity. Thanks to the flexibility of the SmartWMS, all temporary and definitive expansions could be integrated seamlessly in the chain’s business operations, without interrupting production. 

Contact for this case