KitchenTime: from basement storage to autostore with robots
“The major benefit with Unifaun for us is that we can quickly test, evaluate and get started with exciting new freight services, which is an important part of the value we offer,” Anton Malmberg, Deputy CEO / Co-Founder KitchenTime
KitchenTime started selling kitchen utensils online in 2013. Like so many other online shops, it started in a basement at home where they did everything themselves, including the logistics. They grew quickly and the company now employs 65 people who work to offer good products for the kitchen at affordable prices. In 2016, they decided to expand and acquired the furniture business Confident Living, which is now a part of the operations that have a total annual turnover of SEK 300 million.
When KitchenTime outgrew their basement storage, they commissioned a 3PL company to handle the logistics before ultimately deciding a year ago to handle the logistics themselves and build their warehouse in Eskilstuna. They chose to aim big and constructed an automation system, Autostore, where everything is stored in trays, which are stacked on top of each other and robots do the picking. The robot picks the goods, sends the trays to an operator who stands at a port to receive and scan the goods. Then, an internal label is affixed on the goods and they are sent to a packing zone where they are packed and given a freight label from Unifaun.
One integration for all of Scandinavia’s carriers
To optimise the work flow and save time, KitchenTime has linked its internally developed freight handling system and online shop system to Unifaun’s API so that all information is transferred automatically. KitchenTime is operative throughout Scandinavia and works with several different carriers in order to satisfy customer needs and requests. In Sweden, they use Postnord, Instabox and Budbee. Bring is used in Norway and Denmark and Posti is used in Finland. Because they use Unifaun, KitchenTime does not have to integrate different carriers. Instead, they now have one integration which covers all the carriers they use in Scandinavia.
Profile handling and automatic validation make for a smooth process
With the profile handling service, both customer service and sub-suppliers use KitchenTime’s Unifaun Online account. KitchenTime controls and manages everything from the main office, so when goods are sent directly from a sub-supplier to the customer, the important decisions have already been entered, such as which carrier to use.
Customer service books the return freight or transport on the same account if something has to be sent in for repairs, etc. KitchenTime has set up their own profile for customer service so that they have their own shortcuts. Sometimes, the warehouse also has to book shipments manually in Unifaun when follow-up deliveries are necessary, so the ability to use the same account expedites the process.
Automatic validation has also become a time-saving function at KitchenTime’s warehouse. Thanks to the integration with Unifaun, labels are printed out automatically, but if a validation error arises, e.g. incorrect post code, the user is logged into Unifaun Online automatically in edit mode, where the specific shipment can be changed. In this manner, KitchenTime avoids the extra expense involved with validating the information and re-sending the shipment. All validation errors are also logged, which helps the warehouse minimise the number of errors.
KitchenTime is currently testing several services and functions. Bring EDI customs, for example, which transfers all customs information directly to Bring. And the Mina Paket app which shows all of the user’s shipments currently in progress.
“It seems like Unifaun is making great strides forward and that you want to be more than just freight booking. What you have achieved with Mina Paket and DeliveryCheckout is really exciting,” concluded Anton Malmberg.