“I think in this business, it’s innovate or die. It sounds brutal, but I think you’re either moving forward using technology and automation innovation to get better, or you’re going backwards,” said Bob Philion, president of PUMA North America.
In the age of ecommerce woes, next-day shipping struggles and unprecidented demand, PUMA shocked competitors with a state of the art, fully automated distribution center (DC) – one that didn’t so much as blink at the term “COVID-19”.
Over the last decade, Bastian Solutions and AutoStore have worked with PUMA on numerous projects in the US and abroad – creating a powerhouse triad of retail distribution excellence. Philion expressed, “The history and relationship with them – they’re like family. We really think about them as an extension of the PUMA operation, because without them, we fail.”
In 2016, Bastian and AutoStore installed a Red Line system in PUMA’s main DC in Torrance, California. Featuring 170 robots and 171,000 bin locations, the DC handles 200 ecommerce lines an hour, along with 700 wholesale units per hour, per operator. While the Torrance DC was extremely successful, it was quickly outgrown. PUMA realized that they would need to work with Bastian and AutoStore to expand their distribution efforts for better east coast reach as customers were waiting more than eight days for orders to arrive from California.
“Quite frankly, we were gonna burst in California,” said Philion, “so we felt we needed to investigate a secondary DC. That’s when we worked with Bastian and came up with the plans in Indianapolis.”
Learning from their experience at the Torrance DC, PUMA knew that their new Indianapolis-based facility needed to be designed for expansion. Installing an AutoStore grid that can hold 305,000 bins – at its debut, the largest in North America. The building holds over 5.5 million units of inventory and ships out upwards of 1 million units per month.
Within a year, PUMA’s expansion capabilities were put to the test. With the COVID-19 impact being felt worldwide, and other retailers feeling massive strain on their distribution centers, PUMA has been able to maintain positive customer experiences.
Integrating advanced warehouse automation was the perfect preparation for the issues no one could have planned for when COVID-19 hit, allowing PUMA to adapt quickly to demand changes. Installing North America’s first AutoStore Black Line system, PUMA was confident the new technology would help meet their goals after the decade long successes of past facilities integrated by Bastian and AutoStore. “Anytime we can grab new technologies and be faster and more efficient, we’re gonna do it,” said Philion.
Rolled out in 2019, the AutoStore Black Line has enhanced features to help PUMA reach their shipping goals. Featuring larger bins, the Black Line allows for more footwear to be stored within PUMA’s AutoStore. The Black Line’s robots run 20 percent faster than the Red Line and has batteries that can be changed out in under 10 seconds, allowing for near 24/7 operation. The new AutoStore RelayPort is also significantly faster and more employee friendly – lending to less walking and a more ergonomic workstation that is also socially distant. In fact, PUMA predicts that units shipped per month will jump to 2 million before 2022. No sweat – their DC is prepared.
The advanced warehouse system does not end with AutoStore though, the system also features an automated carton erector, box cutters, tray formers and lidders, customized packaging stations, extendable conveyors and bagging equipment.
Bastian Solutions’ Exacta warehouse execution software (WES) manages the facility throughput and NFI/Cal Cartage’s warehouse management software (WMS) integrates seamlessly to manage time and labor.
“Bastian actually brought this together as an end-to-end solution – from receiving all the way to outbound,” says Helmut Leibbrandt, senior vice president of supply chain management & logistics for PUMA North America.
Open and ready to ship in the summer of 2019, the 640,000 square foot DC was launched on time and on budget. With the opening of the Indianapolis facility, PUMA has been able to cut from eight shipping days from California down to two, and increased capacity by over 10 times.
In the words of Leibbrandt, “this was the game changer for PUMA”.
For more information on this revolutionary system, check out bastiansolutions.com/PUMA.
About Bastian Solutions
Bastian Solutions, a Toyota Advanced Logistics company, is a trusted supply chain integration partner committed to providing clients a competitive advantage by designing and delivering world-class distribution and production solutions. By combining data-driven designs, scalable material handling systems, and innovative software, the company helps clients across a broad spectrum of markets become leaders in their industries. For more information, visit bastiansolutions.com.
About AutoStore | www.autostoresystem.com
AutoStore, founded in 1996, is a robot technology company that invented, and continues to pioneer, Cube Storage Automation – the densest storage and order fulfilment solution in existence. The company’s focus is to blend software and hardware with human abilities to create thefuture of warehousing. AutoStore solutions are appreciated worldwide, with more than 600 systems installed in over 30 countries within a wide range of industries. All sales are designed, installed and serviced by a network of qualified system integrators – called “AutoStore Partner”. The company headquarter is in Nedre Vats (Norway), with additional offices in Oslo (Norway), U.S., UK, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Japan and Korea.
PUMA is one of the world’s leading sports brands, designing, developing, selling and marketing footwear, apparel and accessories. For more than 70 years, PUMA has relentlessly pushed sport and culture forward by creating fast products for the world’s fastest athletes. PUMA offers performance and sport-inspired lifestyle products in categories such as Football, Running and Training, Basketball, Golf, and Motorsports. It collaborates with renowned designers and brands to bring sport influences into street culture and fashion. The PUMA Group owns the brands PUMA, Cobra Golf and stichd. The company distributes its products in more than 120 countries, employs more than 13,000 people worldwide, and is headquartered in Herzogenaurach/Germany.
About NFI/Cal Cartage
Since established in 1944 by the Curry Family, California Cartage Company (Cal Cartage) has provided logistics solutions with a continued commitment to customer service. Cal Cartage provides international freight solutions, specializing in port and rail drayage, transloading and deconsolidation, LTL consolidation, and customs examination. Before consolidating, Cal Cartage legacy divisions include names such as Brookvale International, California Cartage Express, California Multimodal, and K&R Transportation which now makes up Cal Cartage. In October 2017, Cal Cartage was acquired by NFI, a leading supply chain solutions provider, creating the largest family-owned, vertically-integrated 3PL in North America. NFI, also privately-held and family-owned, recognized the similarities between the companies and value of Cal Cartage’s team of experts. NFI’s expertise spans dedicated transportation, warehousing, intermodal, brokerage, transportation management, global logistics, and real estate services.