Costo delivers conveyor system for shoe manufacturer EMMA

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Costo connects production, storage and shipping of EMMA

The Limburg shoe manufacturer Emma, with branches in Brunssum (Protag Shoe Supply) and Bunde (sales / distribution Emma Safety Footwear), centralizes her activities in one new location in Kerkrade on the Dentgenbach business park. Costo designed the whole  internal transport system between production, storage and shipping. Partner Dexion takes care of the storage systems and the mezzanine floors. They will also build the overhead walkway for both conveyors and pedestrians above the manufacturing hall.

Emma has 85 years of experience in producing shoes. In the early days, the company was created from an initiative to help miners to an alternative job and to provide those miners with safer, firmer and more supportive footwear. Later, the company became part of an effort to maintain employment in the region through social initiatives. In 2014, the company was divided into three parts, above which the EMMA holding company was placed: Protag Shoe Supply in Brunssum for production, Emma Safety Footwear in Bunde and Emma (commercial / distribution), also in Bunde.

Logistics as a bottleneck

The considerable growth in recent years also meant a growing lack of space and overcrowded warehouses. The sales success gave the logistics department headaches. EMMA started looking for a new building and it was found on the Tunnelweg in Kerkrade. The new plot covers 30,000 m2 and more than 10,000m2 are occupied by 4 buildings:

1. Commercial departments at the front

2. Behind it the building for production, manual labour, value added activities and finally a nice space for the cafeteria. The latter clearly reflects their origin with social entrepreneurship.

3. Goods reception (raw materials and semi-finished products) and storage

4. And at the back the buildings for expedition and storage of finished product.

 

The building will also be provided with unique loading and unloading areas for the reception of raw materials.

The relocation of all business units will be carried out in phases. The logistic activities are already largely in place. The production machines will be transferred from Brunssum in March and June this year. Finally, the commercial employees will take their place in the offices in Kerkrade and that will happen in the summer of this year.

Striking is the total turnaround in the set-up of the internal logistics. Where previously almost 20% of the time was spent on walking back and forth or driving, this will soon become a thing of the past. The internal transportation equipment, such as order picking carts and forklift trucks, will be reduced considerably and replaced by conveyor systems from Costo. The conveyors will form a connection between all buildings and as a result, the semi-finished products and shoes (in combined boxes with usually 10 pairs), controlled via the WMS, will automatically find their destination. The conveyors are partly located on the mezzanine floors of Dexion. This supplier also took care of all the l shelving and pallet rackings, which in the future will have to offer storage capacity for nearly 100,000 pairs of shoes. The warehouse will then comprise of at least 2,200 SKUs (1,800 types and shoe sizes as well as 400 accessories).

This efficiency improvement was essential. Tom Keulen, consultant and logistics project manager at Emma, explains: "The company's success caused logistical bottlenecks. The yearly production was not so long ago just 300,000 pairs of shoes and in 2017 it had grown to  500,000. In a few years, we want to reach 1 million pairs of shoes on an annual basis, because the demand for assembly capacity by third parties - partly due to the reshoring phenomenon - is steadily growing. Only a simple relocation would not have been sufficient to improve logistics. We really had to make a modernization in order to be able to continue in the coming years. "

Transition in process

Currently a part of the conveyors and the storage racks have already been installed. Some of the rackings were unassembled in Bunde and rebuilt in Kerkrade. In the coming months, the two impressive production carousels, so-called PU injection machines, will follow. With these machines, the semi-finished products are automatically completed with a multi-layered sole in seven steps.

The machine looks like a large round platform on which at the same time dozens of shoes can be made. There are plans to further expand this machine park. Production is made even more efficient using techniques such as LEAN and Quick Response Manufacturing. The company is currently still working with a weekly planning schedule; that will be reduced to half a day in the future, which will enable the company to respond much quicker to variations in demand.

Tom Keulen continues:”We are not only making big physical changes. All processes are being digitized using (barcode) scanners and automatic detection equipment. In the future we will work with our suppliers to introduce RFID tags in the semi-finished products. This gives us a perfect control of the goods throughout the supply chain."

The relocation of Emma and Protag is actually part of a much larger strategic program. Not so long ago Emma was known as a social employment provider. In a short time the company has become market leader in the Benelux and is now making great strides in the field of sustainability, social entrepreneurship and the application of IoT. The overall relocation, rebuilding, operational delivery of the Kerkrade location, the closure of Brunssum and Bunde and all related logistic processes are monitored by project leaders Eugène Kuis from K2E Consultancy and Tom Keulen from Haddock Better Business.

The relocation to Kerkrade will offer employment to more than 150 people. Although the internal logistics can be carried out with fewer people because of the efficiency improvement, employment is expected to increase. More turnover will especially come from sales to large foreign customers. Approximately 20 people currently work in logistics, but this does not include manual activities that could actually also be described as Value Added Services.

Tom Keulen concludes:”We already had a good relationship with Dexion; a large national player but also one with excellent local support. You can notice that they cooperate with Costo often, because together they really provide a great support. The pleasant thing is that they both are no-nonsense companies and truly transparent in their proposals. They present both advantages and disadvantages of a solution and that is quite unique. "

Finally, it is worth noting that Emma pays particular attention to sustainability. For example, the company offers an integrally recyclable safety shoe and, at the request of customers, provides the return logistics and recycling of its products. Within its production process and supply chain, they ensure that the carbon footprint is as small as possible. Emma is a partner of MVO Nederland and works according to the CSR ISO 26000 standard.

 

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