This is where it all starts, with an average of 120,000 pairs of shoes arriving here every day from our manufacturers all around the world. The conveyor belts move the products from the lorry and carry out an "entry scan" of the carton (recording everything we need to know about the contents, size and weight).
From the intake area, the shoes head into our automated retrieval system (high bay storage area) where they're stored until our replenishment/merchandising systems tell us that we need to send them out to a customer.
When shoes are ready to go, our automated cranes whizz into action. They take them from High Bay Storage and move them into the picking area, via our replenishment belts.
The heart of the entire operation. This enormous chamber contains three key areas: picking floors, despatch loop and consolidation area. To find out more, just click on the information links in the image.
When a product's needed, it's pulled from the High Bay Storage Area by our automated cranes and is taken to the picking floors. Here, our teams pick the right product orders for each customer.
Once picked, product enters our dispatch loop. They're labelled so that we know where they're going and which carrier company is taking them. They're then sorted into the right place ready for despatch.
This is mostly for our non-UK customers. It's to make sure that we're batching orders together efficiently – so that our customers get all their products in a single delivery rather than in lots of bits (not good for the customer, not good for the environment).
Picking's packed with pairs of shoes – around 180,000 of them at any one time, in more than 77,000 different pick locations. Picking is still a manual process, but technology plays its part by telling team members exactly what to pick, from where and how much.
Once the products have been picked, it's onto the picking belt where our automated systems take them off to the sorter to be packed and prepared for despatch.
Our automated sorting area uses over 600 chutes to correctly sort all the individual elements of an order together (for example, into a single batch for a Clarks store).