A look at the largest e-retail shed in Europe. Over 1 million picks a night

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IOC Chair Carl Lomas with Peter Acton for logistics in the heart of the East Midlands to talk shop between employers at the Logistics Leaders Alliance event, Jaap Voss gave an in depth view of the largest e-retail shed, M&S at Donnington Park.

Jaap Voss Shafer speaking about M&S Donnington Park. ‘It’s an enormous thing, It’s a beast, it’s very complex, I have lived with the project for 5 or 6 years as head of the Shafer team who kitted out the warehouse. From a flow point of view its incoming to sortation, hanging & high bay, a good flow. Software was a big challenge, its enormously complex, driven by the customer need to see what’s what and where is it, we have a variety of interfaces at each stage. ‘ - ‘M&S clearly changed their strategy during the build of Donnington, what we have learned, the slow moving elements probably should go onto a four stack area, balance between store and e-com orders is difficult, dealing with order tote in the system often exceed the original design, don’t shy away from a manual element for peak. We are doing one project today where we are throwing manual handling at the fats movers, pick direct from pallet for the very fast lines.’

The Shafer machines are achieving 1.1 million picks a night. Retail store orders account for 1% - 99% are e-retail. 300,000 sq feet of storage, 300,000 feet of picking, 3000,000 feet of storage. 3 sorters handle 21,000 garments an hour. At Peak M&S has 500/600 staff a shift.     ‘Returns form a second peak after peak when they come back, returns running around 20% on the hanging garments, re-pack is intense, M&S are looking at a returns system that goes back to store, speed for re-selling needs to be quick, holding in season for the garments.‘