Setting The Scene

H&M’s first omnichannel distribution centre in Milton Keynes was built to service both H&M stores and online customers across the UK and Ireland. With their customers increasingly choosing to shop with them in an omnichannel way the facility was built to house a more technology driven approach to fulfil orders. With Automation in place H&M have reduced the need for employees to engage in repetitive tasks, while enabling improvements for customer service. The L-A-C Logistics Automation project was to develop a bespoke robotic solution to process in-store orders. Working with SSI Shaefer as part of the wider scope, L-A-C designed, manufactured, and installed a multiple 6-axis robotic tote and dolly handling solution. With high-tech in place the facility is fulfilling customer demands in a faster and more efficient manner.


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80% Reduction In Labour Cost

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Improved Workplace Health & Safety

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2x Increase in Space Efficiency

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4X Increase In Productivity

The Challenge

The challenge was to reduce the workforce involved in stacking completed order totes and marshalling them to dispatch locations.


Completed order totes for a particular store were brought into the dispatch area and operators would manually stack 5 totes on top of each other. These were then staged together along with totes for the same store.


This process was labour-intensive, repetitive, and ergonomically unsafe. In addition to this systematically there was no asset tracking leading to errors.


One major challenge was to build a system that could cope with an ageing range of MHE (Mechanical Handling Equipment) in the H&M network.


The system had to deal with a variety of tolerances which is always tricky when automating repetitive tasks.



After establishing our objective, we assigned a team to work through the project lifecycle. Our solutions team worked through the data to establish a best fit solution. The design was then simulated, carrying out a robot reach and cycle time study to prove solution viability.


L-A-C led the project from end-to-end. A clear project plan was set out and reviewed periodically with the customer to ensure milestones were achieved.

L-A-C delivered multiple 6-axis robots with bespoke end-effectors for tote & dolly handling. The system utilised multitude of sensors to validate heights and ensure placement accuracy.


The totes were conveyed, stacked, and picked up by the robots before being placed onto the dispatch line. Finally, the stacks were fed into an automating strapping machine completing the process.


The solution handled both dollies and stacks of totes with the same gripper structure reducing the number of cycles and improving capacity.


The Benefits

The system increased efficiency, resulting in faster and error-free tote-stacking. With the ability to handle up to 2,200 totes per hour, the system occupies minimal space and has scalability for future growth while reducing manpower.


- 80% Reduction In Labour Cost


- Improved Workplace Health & Safety


- 2x Increase in Space Efficiency


- 4X Increase In Productivity



L-A-C’s team of experts are here to support you from concept to the finished system, working together to design and deliver a bespoke solution that meets your current objectives and future growth expectations, with favourable ROI. 


Across semi-automated and fully automated systems, L-A-C has the expertise and range of products to provide flexible and scalable solutions that will significantly enhance your operations and keep you agile as your business evolves. 


Join us on a pivotal journey towards a more efficient, productive, cost effective and sustainable future with L-A-C’s innovative automation technology solutions.

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