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Today, it’s hard to overstate the significance of e-commerce for the cosmetics market and the business of cosmetic companies as a whole. Modern e-commerce encompasses all business spheres, linking them together and showcasing one of the highest growth rates.

From Idea to Action

For over 15 years, FM Logistic has been collaborating with renowned perfume and cosmetics manufacturers at their warehouse in Chekhov, providing services for processing and storing luxury brand products and mass-market goods. Years of experience in processing cosmetic products, implementing joint projects for preparing orders for our clients’ online stores, and housing several cosmetics manufacturers under one roof, served as a catalyst for FM Logistic to conceive the idea of creating a cosmetics center. The team was tasked with organizing, within the existing space, a storage area for a wide range of products with a shallow stock depth, where a warehouse worker could freely handle product placement and selection without the need for special warehouse equipment. In addition to storage areas, it was necessary to consider the creation of a sufficient number of ergonomic workplaces for processing incoming deliveries, sorting and packaging customer orders, sorting finished orders in different transport directions. Ultimately, the decision was to increase the operating area of the warehouse, which became possible only with the construction of a multi-level mezzanine inside an existing warehouse.
To store the assortment of a cosmetic online store and prepare customer orders, it’s crucial to establish conditions for effective fulfillment, logistics services, and ensure the warehouse’s operational flexibility.

a wide range of stored goods;
1 to 5 items in one order;
the importance of order packing: customer marketing and safety during transportation;
almost all orders received during the day should be shipped on the same day;
uneven orders distribution by quantity throughout day;
order cancellations and returns;
fixed and minimized time windows for shipping orders to courier companies.

When creating a cosmetic center at the FM Logistic warehouse, we took into account all the requirements and fundamentals ofa successful e-commerce company dealing with cosmetics. This ultimately lead to an increase in our clients’ sales. Today, the center provides storage for an assortment of several hundred thousand SKUs and prepares up to 40,000 orders daily.

Complete Solution

Our design for the cosmetic center is a complex solution consisting of the following integrated components:

a mezzanine for storing cosmetics and selecting online orders;
an integrated conveyor system;
an order sorter for transport companies;
a Magento order management system integrated with courier companies and marketplaces;
a WMS Infolog warehouse management system.

We equipped the center with a five-level classic mezzanine with separate zones for receiving and processing orders; its current area is 12* thousand m2. Elevators were built to lift products to the floors, and a conveyor system was installed to lower finished orders. Each floor of the mezzanine has its own preparation and receiving area, which allows customers to have their own independent processes. The acceptance and selection streams do not intersect, allowing for future development and additions without interference.

The dimensions of the shelves, with a total depth of 1200 mm and aisle width of 1500 mm, ensure optimal filling of the mezzanine and assembly productivity. To store cosmetics on the mezzanine, specialized boxes with separators were developed to create storage cells depending on the type and dimensions of the cosmetic products. To ensure the quality of order assembly, goods of the same SKU with a single expiration date are placed in one cell with a storage address. Specially designed cardboard density ensures the durability of the cells.

The mezzanine floors are made of a pressed grating, ensuring the noiseless movement of mobile carts and stability of order preparation on mobile carts with weight control.

Source: FM Logistic
Galina Zhitkova
FM Logistic Project Director

On each floor, orders are selected and packed into shipping boxes, taking into account the specifics and requirements of a particular client. The order in the transport box is placed on the conveyor and lowered to the first floor. All engineering systems of the mezzanine, lighting, fire extinguishing, and air conditioning systems fully comply with local requirements and FM Logistic safety standards.

All engineering systems of the mezzanine, lighting, fire extinguishing, and air conditioning systems fully comply with local requirements and FM Logistic safety standards. The conveyor is equipped with a buffering system and box passage prioritization: it allows for optimal distribution of them along the conveyor line on each floor and ensures a uniform descent of ready orders for sorting to transport companies. The speed and dimensions of the conveyor system are designed for the dimensions and volume of the orders from each floor.

The sorter is installed on the first floor of the mezzanine for the consolidation and sorting of finished orders to transport companies. The sorter system is integrated with the Infolog warehouse system and the Magento order management system.

The sorter features include:

weighing and measuring the dimensions of each box passing through for sorting;
data transmission to Magento system according to the box weight and size characteristics;
receiving data on the SSCC of each box from the warehouse system with order details;
order cancellation management;
management of boxes consolidation to pallets for shipment.

Each physical target of the sorter is equipped with a light control column, which allows increasing the number of sorting directions threefold, up to 45 independent directions.

The conveyor system and the sorter were set up by engineers from Photomechanics, a global company that specializes in manufacturing and integrating warehouse automation equipment. An important note: the key manufacturing facility of the enterprise is located in St. Petersburg, Russia. As many foreign companies are exiting the market, the presence of a local manufacturer like Photomechanics has become a significant advantage. This is because it ensures uninterrupted supply of spare parts, consistent service maintenance, and reliable support for the control systems of sorting and conveyor equipment.

Source: FM Logistic
The cosmetic center is equipped with a classic five-level mezzanine with separate reception and order processing areas

The sorter is managed through the administrative operator panel, where you can control the situation throughout the conveyor system and the sorter, perform error analysis, upload reports on the sorter’s operation and, if necessary, perform manual operations. The Conveyor Control System (CCS) developed by Photomechanicsm2 is a comprehensive software product that incorporates modern tools and methodologies for creating enterprise-level software solutions. It is designed to perform a wide range of functions, providing efficient control and management of the conveyor system. In addition to managing goods sorting and tracking on the line, the system generates advanced reporting on all operations with goods on the conveyor line: operator placement, scanning, weighing, label printing, sorting. The web interface allows you to control the entire conveyor system intuitively from any tablet or computer. The web interface allows you to control the entire conveyor system intuitively from any tablet or computer.

The Magento order management system integrates and coordinates the work of all systems and logistics services that provide preparation, shipment, control and monitoring of the status of online orders. Magento receives information about orders from the client and returns information about delivery and order statuses. Magento exchanges order data with the WMS and the sorter system and sends information about order cancellations to the WMS and the sorter. Magento plays a crucial role in the shipment process by handling the transportation of pallets containing orders that have been sorted. Furthermore, an integrated module, working in conjunction with the Warehouse Management System (WMS), facilitates the seamless acceptance of returns. This module ensures thorough inspection of opened boxes and prepares accurate registers of accepted returns, benefiting both the transport company and the client.

WMS Infolog provides acceptance of all incoming goods and their placement in storage cells, preparation of orders by multi-picking technology — simultaneous selection of several orders. Data on selected orders is transferred through Magento to the sorter system. The warehouse system ensures the acceptance and selection of goods with the control of Data Matrix codes, as required by the industry regulations.

Source: FM Logistic
Our universal and standardized boxes with separators are used to create storage cells based on the type and dimensions of cosmetic products

Evolving system

FM Logistic cosmetic center has been successfully operating for over three years, consistently proving the effectiveness of the chosen solution. The mezzanine storage system has increased the utilization of warehouse space by almost 400%, offering maximum efficiency and density compared to conventional shelving. This improvement is especially notable when compared to previous fine-mesh storage on the first level.

The order receiving and preparation areas of the mezzanine are built on columns, allowing simultaneous processing and preparation of orders of any complexity at all levels of the mezzanine with a high level of preparation quality.

The convenient and automated conveyor system, equipped with a sorter, has reduced labor costs by 100% by completely eliminating the need for manual handling using stackers or elevators.
High-quality access to each SKU of goods is an important and integral feature of the cosmetic mezzanine operation, which makes warehouse processes on the mezzanine fast and reliable.

Today, the cosmetic center is a developing system.We introduce new technologies, connect services, explore new transport directions, and engage with marketplaces. For our clients, any new feature automatically becomes available, as the system allows them to utilize any services integrated with Magento.

The cosmetic center significantly reduces the time and costs involved in launching new activities through the synergy of ready-made and integrated warehouse and delivery services. The center constantly works on expanding the mezzanine and increasing the productivity of order selection and packing, supporting our clients’ e-commerce development strategies. To enhance the processing capacity of the mezzanine, two projects are planned: robotization of the selection process on the mezzanine and automation of order preparation using Tilt-Tray sorters and packing machines. Both projects are currently in the analysis and development stage, focusing on technologies optimized for cosmetic products and the expected volumes of our clients over the next five years.

Source: FM Logistic
The mezzanine floors consist of pressed grating

Source: FM Logistic
Each physical target of the sorter is equipped with a light-controlled column