The Hut Group (THG) is a world-renowned, vertically integrated e-commerce technology group based in the UK. Its flagship eCommerce software, Ingenuity, provides brands with comprehensive end-to-end solutions, empowering them to effectively tap into a vast global consumer base and thrive in the world of e-commerce.
The expansion journey
With a vast global fulfilment network consisting of 16 strategically located warehouses, THG enables shipping to over 190 destinations worldwide. In addition to its expansive shipping capabilities, the company goes above and beyond by offering support for over 300 localised websites, ensuring effective reach and exceptional service to diverse markets.
The Hut Group, having recently established a fulfilment centre in Manchester, recognised the importance of implementing a warehouse automation solution that is both flexible and user-friendly, ensuring a rapid return on investment (ROI). With operations of such magnitude, requiring the handling of one million units daily, automation was the only viable solution. By prioritising efficiency and adaptability, THG aimed to optimise operations and maximise the benefits of its new facility.
The automation investment
The Hut Group made the strategic decision to invest in an AutoStore system and enlisted the expertise of Element Logic for its installation. Element Logic completed the full installation of the AutoStore warehouse system within just three months – seamlessly integrating 256 robots, 13 conveyer ports and 56 carousel ports, as well as over 300,000 inventory bins. As a result, six weeks after installation, the grid system contained 10 million units.
In response to the increasing demands of its growing business, THG decided to incorporate an additional 124 robots into its AutoStore warehouse system, bringing the total number of robots to an impressive 380. With an expanded robotic workforce and optimised warehouse system, THG is positioned to meet the challenges of its growing business with unmatched efficiency and productivity.
Reaping the rewards
The implementation of an AutoStore system yielded immediate and significant results, greatly improving warehouse operations for THG.
Here are some of the results:
- Increased productivity: The adoption of AutoStore immediately boosted productivity, with a remarkable increase in order picking rates and significant improvement in picking accuracy. The system’s exceptional performance has virtually eliminated picking errors, resulting in a substantial reduction in labour requirements.
- Enhanced customer experience: The enhanced picking accuracy resulted in reduced errors and faster processing times, leading to improved customer order fulfilment and a better overall customer experience. Consequently, this has positively impacted repeat orders and customer retention rates.
- Reduced labour costs: Not only have THG reduced labour costs, but the company has also enabled employees to transition to more stimulating, value-adding roles. Moreover, with fewer staff members on the warehouse floor, the overall safety of the operation has increased, contributing to improved staff wellbeing.
- Return on investment: AutoStore successfully met THG’s primary requirements, delivering a fast ROI. The impressive ROI time for the site exceeded expectations, with the initial investment cost recovered in under a year.
“The implementation of AutoStore at our Manchester fulfilment centre has had a significant effect on customer satisfaction,” says John Gallemore, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, The Hut Group.
“We take pride in our partnership with THG to implement the transformative AutoStore system. The remarkable boost in productivity, enhanced customer experience, reduced labour costs, and rapid return on investment highlight the immense power of automation in optimising warehouse efficiency,” says Jeremy Clouston-Jones, Managing Director, Element Logic.
- 300,000 bins
- Delivering over 10,000 bins per hour
- 56 carousel ports
- 13 conveyer ports
- Installation in just three months during Covid-19 pandemic
- 10 million units installed in the grid system in six weeks
- Workhorses – AutoStore robots will drive 16,000 km in an average day, the distance from Manchester to Melbourne, and present over 10,000 bins per hour.
- Green line – To operate continuously, AutoStore requires 38,595W – less electricity than 24 electric wall heaters or 48 toasters.
- Compact storage – Stack 300,000 AutoStore bins on top of each other and the pile will reach 99,000m above the earth’s surface – technically outer space!
- Storage volume – Approximately 360 million pieces of lipstick will fit in AutoStore’s 300,000 bins – representing 22,500 m3 of storage volume.