Habitat Clothes To Live In, headquartered in Sharon, Massachusetts, is a boutique women’s clothing brand founded by Susanne Williams Connelly, designer, and Rich Connelly, President. The company sells direct-to-consumer via its website, as well as through 1,200 specialty stores located throughout the U.S.
Having outgrown its existing distribution center’s footprint and seeking improved workflows to replace multi-touch manual processes — including receiving, picking, and packing — Habitat invested in an AutoStore cube-based automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS). The new system went live in 2021.
Designed and installed by KPI Solutions, the system replaced case rack storage previously used for picking with four goods-to-person picking/replenishment stations. Each workstation is equipped with put-to-light technology for order consolidation. The AutoStore includes 7,400 bins and 15 robots to increase inventory density and maximize available warehouse space.
With the transition to a highly automated solution, Habitat wanted to ensure maximum uptime and productivity of the system through routine preventive maintenance. Because Habitat is a smaller operation, however, the company does not staff a maintenance technician position, explained President Rich Connelly.
“Just as you would with a car, you want to commit to regular service to keep it running at its peak,” he said. “But we’re so small we don’t have a maintenance department for our equipment or systems. So we looked to KPI’s offerings.”
Upon completing the installation of the AutoStore, KPI Solutions recommended that Habitat contract with KPI’s LifeTime Services. Tailored to each client’s unique needs, this comprehensive service portfolio keeps equipment, systems, and software operating reliably for the long term.
Together, KPI and Habitat selected a LifeTime Services package that includes preventive maintenance services provided by a KPI technician. The services include 24/7 troubleshooting and support for operational, technical, software, and controls issues and a customized spare parts package with ongoing stock audits.
“Quarterly, a service technician from KPI comes onsite to inspect the AutoStore, replace wear parts, and update firmware,” Connelly explained. “Between those visits, our in-house IT manager has replaced some worn parts and a sensor board in a control box. He refers to the manuals that came with the system and says everything he’s ever done has been pretty straightforward.”
Because Habitat primarily stores articles of clothing in the AutoStore, the overall environment is fairly clean, he continued. “We have a little garment dust, but the last KPI technician here noted that our facility is better maintained and cleaner than most. Fortunately, we’ve never had any incidents that completely shut the system down.”
Any parts not stocked onsite have been easy to obtain through KPI as well, Connelly added.
Ultimately, KPI’s LifeTime Services give Connelly and his team peace of mind. “The value of having this service contract in place is hard to quantify because you don’t use it until you need it,” he said. “It definitely gives us one less thing to worry about.”
|“KPI has surpassed my expectations. They first took the time to understand what we were facing logistically and then produced a strategic plan that step-by-step tackled all our different choke points. They have been there for us and responsive to our needs.”
-Richard Connelly, Owner, Habitat Clothes
Highlights of the Solution:
- AutoStore Top Load AS/RS – 7,400 Bins
- Put To Light System with order consolidation for receiving & picking
- AutoStore integrates with KPI Warehouse Execution Software
- Ongoing LifeTime Services with preventive maintenance, 24/7 troubleshooting and support, and spare parts package
- Maximize uptime through routine, quarterly preventive maintenance services
- No unplanned downtime since the original go-live of the AutoStore system