Urban Outfitters to Automate New DC

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Senior Editor
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Urban Outfitters will build on a UK pilot and infuse automation into its new distribution center in Kansas City, KS, due to go live in 2023. 

Urban Outfitters, Inc. (URBN), which operates Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, Terrain, Urban Outfitters, Nuuly and a Food and Beverage division, has appointed TGW to design and implement an automation solution for the new fulfillment center.

The design for the Kansas City solution builds on a pilot program between URBN and TGW in the UK. The collaborative effort between URBN and TGW in the US and UK means that regardless of the channel (retail or digital), the operational processes remain the same and operational training for associates and maintenance support is simplified globally. 

“TGW has been a strong partner, demonstrating agility of thinking in developing a solution that will enable capabilities to adapt our speed and efficiency to meet the needs of our rapidly growing business globally,” says Melinda McClure, executive director of North American Logistics, URBN. "The new facility, located in Kansas City, Kansas, will be highly automated, incorporate robotics and provides the capacity necessary to support our fast-growing business. TGW supported us to design a modular solution we believe is simple, flexible and adaptable to the future needs of our customers”.

At the heart of the solution is TGW’s Flashpick System Smart piece picking system for order fulfillment. The design builds upon the pilot program in the UK using TGW´s smart picking robot Rovolution, which picks orders fully automatically and ensures the next phase of picking is being addressed. The design incorporates two PickCenter Rovolution workstations in Phase 1, along with 46 PickCenter One workstations.

At goods receiving, cartons are emptied into totes and transported to the storage warehouse, which is used to feed the shuttle system. Totes are then transported to 46 goods-to-person workstations, where items are picked into target totes. The different areas are connected by an energy-efficient KingDrive conveyor system. The TGW warehouse control system interfaces with a Manhattan WMS, and  the design incorporates the same workstations and software as in the UK.

“The fulfillment center marks a new level of strategic collaboration between Urban Outfitters and TGW”, underscores Chad Zollman, CSO TGW North America, “It demonstrates our commitment to becoming the partner of choice for global warehouse automation fulfillment solutions.”