Very Group deploys automated warehouse tech

The Very Group’s new distribution centre based in the East Midlands, powered by KNAPP’s advanced automation tech, is fulfilling customer orders in half an hour.

The 850,000-squre-foot facility, called Skygate, began operating on the day the UK’s first lockdown was announced in March last year.

“A fast, seamless fulfilment operation is vital for great customer experience, and that’s what we focused on when developing Skygate’s highly automated technology,” said Phil Hackney, chief operating officer, The Very Group. “Throughout the pandemic, that technology has helped us to manage huge volumes of orders.”

Hackney added: “It also enabled us to bring all of our clothing and footwear returns under one roof for the first time and means we’re well positioned for future growth.”

The automated picking, sortation and packaging technology from KNAPP means that orders can be ready for dispatch within 30 minutes, compared to around four hours at Very’s previous fulfilment centres.

The fastest order to date, processed in July 2021, was ready for dispatch in 17 minutes.

Since its launch, Skygate has processed over 40 million items.

According to KNAPP, the efficiency of processes at the facility, combined with the consolidation of three sites into one fulfilment and returns centre, will contribute up to £25m in efficiency savings per year for The Very Group.

In October, The Very Group reported pre-tax profits of £81.7 million in its full results for the year, up 68.8 per cent on 2020.

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