FUNCTION Distribution

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SUGGESTION Other hubs are being studied to move the The $50 million distribution centre (DC), is more accurately described company from a as a giant robot. The storage area alone of the DC measures 170 metres centralized to a satellite long b 80 metres wide by 20 metres high; a third of this height is below system. ground level to minimize the impact on the surrounding landscape, in keeping with the Benetton concern for the environment. Twenty loading and unloading bays service the building. Inbound garments from the production areas arrive below ground level. The garments are already packed in one of two standard boxes which are barcoded and pre-addressed to customers. The barcoded cartons are delivered by high speed conveyors from the receipt bays to rail-guided transporters in the storage area. Each transporter can transfer up to 24 cartons at a time to and from the racking. Simultaneous put-away and retrieval occurs to maximize efficiency. The storage zone has a capacity of 250,000 boxes sorted randomly. The DC handles 12,000 boxes a day. equivalent to 6,000 consignments a day, representing some 60 million garments a year. The high level of automation allows the DC to operate on three shifts with six operators to a shift. Shipment is directly to one of 6,000 retail stores in 83 countries. Distributors, wholesalers and regional centres are not used. To achieve high levels of response all exports are airfreighted. In 2004 was opened the new Hong Kong hub serving in China, Japan, and the Far East.

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