iForce - Case study

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About iForce

iForce, a member of the Culina Group, has nearly 30 years of experience as a 3PL provider, specializing in e-Commerce fulfillment and returns. They serve prominent businesses such as The Works, Naked Wine, Fortnum & Mason, and Mayborn from their 81,754 m2 (880,000 ft2) multi-user facility in Corby, Northamptonshire.

The Challenge

In recent times, iForce has encountered many typical challenges within the 3PL sector, including fluctuating and unpredictable client volumes, labor shortages, and rising costs, all of which have added risk to their ability to deliver for clients. To address these issues, iForce developed a comprehensive warehouse automation strategy, making significant investments in a blend of robotic goods-to-person picking, robot-assisted picking, and automated packing systems. The key goals for iForce included:

  • All elements, including manual warehouse processes, needed to operate seamlessly in parallel and be integrated with iForce’s own warehouse management system (WMS)
  • Each component needed to be space-efficient, capable of independent implementation, or function as part of a larger solution at any of iForce’s sites
  • Required every element to be designed for scalability to accommodate future growth

After thorough evaluation, the Exotec® Skypod® system was chosen as the key component of this strategy for goods-to-person order fulfilment.

The Skypod System Solution

The Exotec Skypod system was installed by our partner, L-A-C, at the flagship iForce Corby site during 2022 and went live in early 2023.

RobotsPicking StationsReplenishment StationsStorage BinsBins/HourRack HeightSystem Footprint
436116,4501,08511.5 m
(37.7 ft)
1,100 m2
(11,840 ft2)

Key Results

  • Deepsky Warehouse Execution System (WES) orchestrates every element of the Skypod system and seamlessly integrates with iForce’s WMS and third-party equipment
  • Compact system footprint of 1,100 m² (11,840 ft²) efficiently houses picking and storage operations for majority of business’s inventory
  • Modular system ready for quick and independent scalability with ability to add robots within minutes, picking stations within days, and racks within a couple of weeks

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