Modern e-commere distribution centre for Alternate

Costo supports Alternate in modernizing new distribution centre

Online specialist Alternate is preparing a new distribution centre at business park Welgelegen near Tholen. The decision for this new centre was driven by years of growing online sales figures and the company needed additional distribution capacity to sustain sales in the Netherlands and Belgium. The new DC will also lower the work pressure at the existing logistic centres, as it is taking over the storage and handling of all white goods and household electronics. As the company wants to be able to comply with modern e-commerce standards (like same-day delivery), it awarded Costo with the task to automate parts of the warehouse activity. Dexion will be delivering the racking system.

Alternate is originally a German company and has today online stores in almost all Western European countries. The initial success came with selling computer components and multimedia products, but the e-tailer now also sells related products such as household electronics and tools. In the Benelux, the company operates from branches in Ridderkerk, Aartselaar and Tholen and it has approximately 250 employees. In Tholen, the company started to build the new warehouse, which will supply directly to the consumer, but will also act as a fulfilment partner for other businesses.

The property is 83 meters wide, 140 meters deep and 13 meters high, in which 11.500 square meters of warehouse space and 1.100 square meters of office space was created. During the design and construction extra attention was paid to matters of sustainability. For example, it will integrate solar panels and make us of geothermal energy. By doing so, it means that the building is not dependent on fossil fuels when it comes to climate control.

In order to meet the requirements regarding output, Costo installed a conveyor system with feeding and discharging routes as well as sorting sections for handling plastic crates. The system is completed by scanners, an integrated weighing unit, a camera and a box closing machine, as well as other peripherals and packing tables.

Costo will make use of the WCS (Warehouse Control System) from the Arrow platform of software company Xtend to control the machines and the flow of the crates. This  module will be integrated into the existing inventory system of Alternate.

The conveyorsystem will connect to the new shelving system which already will have two tiers. This system will be supplied by our partner Dexion. The shelving system is already future proof, as the frames can be extend with another 3 floors (in total a 5 tier system!).

Alternate visited a reference project (BMG) to learn more about the  combination Costo and Dexion. They were particularly impressed with the accuracy and speed of action. Nico Bommeljé, Managing director of Alternate Netherlands, says: "We came really quickly to an agreement with Costo. They presented a clear proposal, which showed that they were able to help us coping with the growth. The warehouse in Tholen will become one of the pillars for our online success in the years to come."

The new distribution centre was put into operation in December 2016 and the logistics activity is being configured and fine-tuned in this period.

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