Success with recommerce: rebuy automates processes of pre-owned media with FORTNA


Rebuy, the leading European recommerce company, has commissioned FORTNA to design and implement a solution to expand its fulfillment operations which includes automating many of its sub-processes. With 36 newly integrated tray lifts, conveyors and automatic packing lines, rebuy will expand capacity to respond to growing market demand.

Facing double-digit growth in inventory turnover, and at the same time, challenges in storage and processing capacities, rebuy was quick to react and partner with FORTNA for the planning and implementation of an expansion project at their new site.
“The driving force for this project was the need to increase efficiency in our fulfillment processes – as a logical consequence of the fact that sustainability is so much more than just a buzzword for a growing number of people. This can be clearly seen in our continuing rapid growth,” says Marcel Erian, COO of rebuy. “Used books, DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs are selling like hot cakes via, and the 7,500 sqm of available logistics space in our existing building in Berlin Rudow was no longer sufficient, so we had to upgrade our capacity.”

Partial automation simplifies order picking
Recommerce fulfillment is characterized by a very diverse range of products defined by the pre-owned articles sent in by customers. The number of items per article is very low, and the product range is highly influenced by the media available for purchase in the market and not defined by longer-term distribution plans. This requires a high degree of flexibility in processing and shipping and a warehouse structure with many low-volume storage locations.

Rebuy has leased a second logistics facility next to the existing one to meet growing demands. The current 5-level shelving system with a capacity of 3.7 million SKUs is being used for manual order picking. Thirty-six tray lifts were integrated into the new logistics premises for compact, space-saving storage and for picking small items; these can be scaled to 48 tray lifts when needed. This solution achieves a high level of productivity by reducing travel time and employee workload and increasing accuracy.
Picking is done manually into totes. The items are then conveyed to a sorter based on the specific order and discharged into spring-bottom trolleys. This involves pre-sorting of the articles onto the packaging lines. These were moved from the existing hall to the new hall and enlarged. In the packing area, the fully picked orders are automatically fed to the respective packing station. Once there, a newly installed system produces cartons in real time. These boxes are cut from a corrugated cardboard roll to fit the item to be packed, cost-effectively, efficiently, and quickly, at up to 15 cartons per minute. Alternatively, the orders are packed manually into boxes, or with an automatic packing machine for single-line orders, into mailing bags.

Targeting further growth
“If growth continues — and we can assume that it will, based on the analysis — we will be able to put additional resources into operation with minimal effort, thereby guaranteeing efficient workflows in the future as well,” says Marcel Erian.
With the new logistics area, rebuy now has a total of around 15,000 sqm available for optimized storage and processing, and the maximum storage capacity has increased to approximately eight million products.