Retrofit project for
Musikhaus Thomann

Expansion of the distribution center

Project motivation

Musikhaus Thomann, a family-owned company, expanded its existing distribution center at its corporate headquarters in Treppendorf, Germany in 2018. This project was an investment of 27 million euros. It allowed the number of shipments to be increased by up to 50 percent and to reduce the order processing time to 28 minutes. Musikhaus Thomann to supplies its 12 million customers around the world efficiently and with the shortest order lead times.

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At a glance

Key benefits

  • EXPANSION DURING ONGOING OPERATION The new system was implemented without any impact to the existing system

  • SHORT LEAD TIMES It now takes 28 minutes to fulfill an order

  • OPTIMIZED PERSONNEL REQUIREMENT A high degree of automation ensures improved processes and optimum use of resources

Iinitial situation

From Germany to the world: From its main distribution center in Treppendorf, Germany, Musikhaus Thomann supplies more than 12 million customers globally. To support its growth, the company decided to expand the existing system in order to achieve its strategic goals. The company processes an average of 15,000 shipments a day – on peak days, this can be as much 28,000. Therefore, the goal was to construct a new, state-of-the-art fulfillment center that would allow the existing system to integrate with the new system. 

The new distribution center has enabled a 50 percent higher through-put and has cut the order lead time to just 28 minutes.

Solution & materialflow

    From goods receiving, the goods are routed to an automated pallet warehouse (18,000 storage positions) or an automatic mini-load warehouse (70,000 tote storage positions). The automatic mini-load warehouse supplies the goods to an automated shuttle warehouse (110,000 storage positions) for fast and continuous supply of SKUs to order picking workstations.
    Order picking is divided into three areas based on the size of the products – large goods on pallets, large cartons and small parts in totes: The pallet warehouse has a picking area for goods on pallets (large goods such as drums). Large cartons (guitars, for example) are retrieved from the automated mini-load warehouse and sent to the packaging area or directly to shipping. A highly dynamic shuttle warehouse for totes and cartons (small parts such as guitar picks) supplies goods-to-person workstations (GTP) for picking orders into totes. 
    The goods from the various picking areas are then consolidated for final packaging in the packaging area (in large cartons and pallets where applicable).
    After the packaging process, the goods are stored by type of transport (trucking company, courier express package service, counter pickup on site) and then loaded into the trucks. The goods are transferred to local counter pickup automatically via a conveyor connection, facilitating fast and problem-free delivery to the customer. Pallets are loaded by forklift into trucks.



It was important to ensure that the expansion of the existing system did not affect the ongoing operation. As one of the world's largest shippers of music equipment, Thomann's highest priority was meeting its customer delivery commitments. The seamless operation of the new and old buildings was a key criteria for determining the success of the retrofit project. Finally, the solution that was implemented allows the old and new systems to work seamlessly together.

Fully automatic full case picking

A particular highlight of the Thomann fulfillment solution is the fully automatic picking of large cartons (original vendor cartons). The goods can be removed from the automatic mini-load warehouse (AKL) and routed directly to shipping without being touched.

About Thomann

Musikhaus Thomann was founded in 1954 in Treppendorf, Bavaria. Today, the family-owned company has over 1,600 employees. With over 12 million customers, it is one of the world's largest online music dealers in terms of sales.


Erich Schlenkrich
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