Wonder invests £8m in warehouse robotics and distribution centre transformation

The £300m turnover, Milton Keynes-based global designer, manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler and retailer of party products has built the new system within its existing 100,000sq ft distribution centre.

Wonder, which rebranded from Amscan last year, is now benefitting from robots able to automatically pick around 35,000 SKUs. The investment will further enable Wonder to achieve its objective of becoming a £500m turnover business by 2026.

As a result of the investment, all brands under the Wonder umbrella – Amscan, Ginger Ray and Party Delights – and all B2B and B2C sales channels, will be distributed from the Milton Keynes facility by the middle of 2023. The consolidation is focused on warehousing and distribution with all existing commercial offices remaining in their current locations.

The investment will enable increased stock availability within one central location; faster order turnaround time for all customer channels; greater capacity to handle a larger number of customer orders; and extended next day delivery cut-off to 9pm for B2C customers.

The system, which is called AutoStore and was installed by Element Logic, is regarded as the leading warehouse automation system in the industry.

Joe Hennigan, Wonder chief executive, commented: “Our investment in the latest warehouse technologies provides us with the infrastructure for further sustainable profitable growth. This is a significant investment and is another statement of intent regarding the extent of our ambition and plans for future expansion.

“World class customer service and experience is one of our key objectives and this investment will increase both our efficiency and speed of service to customers.

“It was a complex project, which forms an important element of our ongoing business transformation, and our distribution and logistics team have been outstanding in scoping and managing the investment.

“Our customers are already experiencing the benefits it delivers and we look forward to further evolving our use of the system as we continue to implement our plans to achieve a £500m turnover by 2026.”

The AutoStore system contains a 3D aluminium grid structure with self-supporting tote bins which are transferred to pick stations by independently operating robots, providing swift and accurate movement of orders.

Wonder’s system is 145′ wide and 100′ deep and holds 39,500 product containing totes in total.

In addition, a new 13,500 sq ft mezzanine floor has been built in the DC. This provides facilities for the company’s value-added services and supports the significant growth demands for customised and personalised products.

The new systems and consolidation will also enable Wonder to reduce the annual road usage of its logistics vehicles of 200,000 miles per year. As part of the overall investment, the business has installed sensor-based LED lights in the DC to save energy costs and reduce its carbon footprint. The reduced road usage and lighting initiatives both link to the delivery of the company’s environmental, social and governance strategy (ESG).

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