Case Study: C&A


Case Study: C&A

All of our expectations were fulfilled 100 %. Short-term marketing campaigns and seasonal peaks can be handled without issue!

Knut Brüggemann
Head of eCommerce Operations, C&A Online

The Bag-Sorter success story

In 2008, the German retail company C&A launched their Online Shop currently serving nine country shops, i.e. Germany, France and Switzerland, and others. Alongside Customer Care and Financial Services the main focus is Logistics all provided by the service provider arvato.

The starting point
Due to the strong and consistent growth of the Online Shop after its Go-Live, arvato’s Logistics Center in Langenhagen (Germany) was expected to exceed its capacity after only five years. A new concept was required in order to support the growth of the C&A Online Shop and to guarantee a frictionless scale-up of processes. As a result, the automation of the logistics processes was a priority.

The outcome is a global first, a bag-sorter with the capacity, scalability and integration of a dynamic buffer. 100%-automatic with up to 70,000 bags in the multi-level conveyor system.

From the beginning, there was a unique challenge to connect the IT systems from Durkopp, the manufacturer, with those from arvato. After an implementation period of nine months, the Bag-Sorter was first brought into service in August 2013. Activated incrementally, within two months the system was ready-to-use at full capacity with a baptism by fire – the Christmas peaks!

During daily operations the Bag-Sorter has exceeded all expectations. The 10,000 sorted items per hour will increased to 15,000 items in the next growth stage. In peak periods, more than 20,000 parcels are dispatched daily.

The outstanding scalability of the Bag-Sorter is directly related to the dynamic buffer. In this area, the repeatedly requested items and high-quality returned items are stored in bags and do not require manual picking when needed for subsequent orders. Each bag is identified through an RFID chip which »marries« the physical item to the bag. The item can be any product from folded or hanging garments to shoes or accessories.

When fulfilling a customer order, the item will first be searched for in the dynamic buffer. If it can’t be found in this area, it is picked manually and put into a new bag. Orders consisting of multiple items are packed into individual bags which are then automatically brought together in the system, ready to be packed at outgoing goods.

Through the support of the Bag-Sorter, efficiency has improved significantly and the output per employee hour has substantially increased. Above all, travel paths for picking the goods have been reduced greatly, which is due to the automation.

Our Customer

  • C&A offers attractive, modern, highquality clothing for the whole family at a fair price. With ten brands, C&A covers every moment and occasion of life.
  • Today C&A has 1,575 stores across 21 countries and combines the Online Shops with the physical locations through Multi-Channel activities such as Click&Collect.
  • Since the beginning of the cooperation between C&A and arvato, the Online Sales have grown in double digits yearly.

Our Statistics upon introducing the Bag-Sorter

  • Increase in productivity and speed in completing orders
  • Quick reaction to ad-hoc campaigns
  • Improved preparation of planned marketing campaigns
  • Direct returns reuse of up to 70,000 items with the dynamic buffer
  • Cushioning during peak periods – Quicker pick process
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Michael Schröder

Michael Schröder

Business Development Manager