Lakeland, the UK’s largest omni-channel business in the kitchen and homeware sector, recently installed a CMC CartonWrap 1000 box-on-demand system to automate its packaging of home shopping products. Lakeland had already automated the packing of 70% of its outbound home shopping parcels. The remaining 30% includes smaller orders for which Lakeland had been looking for an automated packing solution for a number of years to improve packing efficiency and the quality of the outbound parcel. They found the solution with Cartonwrap which is able to produce variable sized cartons dynamically from a flat corrugated supply at the rate of 1000 cartons per hour; the system is aimed at the e-commerce fulfillment market.
Lakeland began in Windermere in 1963, when animal feed salesman, Alan Rayner decided to provide farmers with polythene bags for packing poultry. And since 1974, when he handed the business to his sons, it has grown year-on-year, and today holds a leading market position as a true multichannel retailer specializing in kitchenware and homeware products, with 69 stores throughout the UK, 16 overseas franchise stores and a thriving home shopping business. which despatches over 6,000 parcels every day to fulfill orders placed via the web, call centre and post.
The CMC Cartonwrap 1000 is a unique box on demand solution designed to wrap orders of single and multiple products using corrugated card fed from a fanfold stack. Orders are scanned by an operator and placed on the inlet conveyor where a scanner detects the product’s 3 dimensions and triggers the feeding of corrugated card to create the exact dimension box required, reducing or eliminating the void in the carton and the need to add additional filler materials. The order is automatically placed in the carton, the carton is sealed and the shipping label is automatically printed and applied to the parcel. The PC ADD Control System was adapted to Lakeland’s existing IT infrastructure to track the data /product according to the database to guarantee 100% integrity of the entire process.
A unique feature of this CartonWrap system is the capability to print an invoice/packing slip of up to 3 sheets and insert additional media materials automatically with the order prior to closing the carton. Driven by a database, catalogues can be selectively picked based on customer profile or geographic area (UK or Germany), a feature that was key to Lakeland marketing. Lorenzo Ponti, CMC Technical Director, commented, “given our vast experience of mailing solutions, the integration of the CartonWrap machine with catalogue and dispatch note insertion technology presented some challenges, but the overall value to the system was greatly enhanced.”
In addition, the system has a final weight check to ensure correct details are sent to the carrier for appropriate charging . The parcel is then automatically sorted based on delivery criteria to further reduce packaging labour costs.
From its beginnings with agricultural plastic wrappers, through to cookware,bakeware and even pop-upgazebos, Lakeland’s success has relied on its ability to keep one step ahead of the market – in terms of technology development and its innovative products.
“Lakeland is known for providing quality and innovative kitchenware and home solutions products to its customers. Customer service is at the heart of everything we do. The CMC Cartonwrap packing machine is a new innovation and Lakeland is pleased to partner with CMC to bring it into our operations so that we can further enhance the service provision to our customers with a more efficient packing operation and a parcel that our customers will be delighted to receive”, stated Gary Marshall, Director of Operations, Lakeland Limited. In 2016 Lakeland will aim to put c. 20% of outbound orders through the machine, approximately 400,000 parcels.