SSI SCHÄFER Implements High-Tech Distribution Center for IKEA

IKEA is breaking ground on a new distribution center in Montreal that will service both United States and Canada. The new center will support current IKEA retail formats but the new center will allow the furniture retailer to compete in e-commerce and smaller retail formats with faster service and greater storage capacity. IKEA selected SSI SCHÄFER for the implementation. Core elements include an automatic shuttle warehouse design that utilizes the SSI SCHÄFER 3D-MATRIX Solution®, a high-bay warehouse (HBW) with 245,000 pallet storage locations, ergonomic multi-order-picking workstations, and the warehouse control software—WAMAS®.

Traditional sales channels like retail and mail order businesses have now merged into one omni-channel model. The ability to meet these demands by accommodating different order types, respond quickly—even in peak times with both permanent goods and seasonal items for fast delivery—characterize the new world of the furniture business. These requirements have also changed the need for high-tech intralogistics. The new ultra-modern IKEA distribution center in Montreal meets these requirements and ensures the supply of current and future furniture stores along with an online business.


Twelve linear gantry robots supplied by RO-BER Industrieroboter GmbH, an SSI SCHÄFER Group company, ensure efficient provision of in-house loading aids and optimize the goods-in process. A 750 m floor conveyor system with 42 vehicles connects the goods-in stations to the high-bay warehouse all with a rack-supported design—the core of the logistics center. The new system offers 245,000 pallet storage locations supplied by 30 energy-efficient Exyz storage and retrieval machines for double-deep storage and retrieval operations. The HBW will supply IKEA stores with single-item and mixed pallet orders. The latter will utilize the SSI SCHÄFER ergonomics@work!® concept by implementing multi-order-picking workstations. This work area is connected to the high-bay warehouse by a second electronic monorail system and includes 35 vehicles on a 525 m track, which abides by the person-to-goods principle using Put to Light displays.

Thirty-six Navette multi-level shuttles and twenty-four lifts in the 18-aisle shuttle warehouse ensure optimum provision of items for e-commerce picking. The warehouse will utilize SSI SCHÄFER 800 x 400 mm large containers to occupy 12,000 bin storage locations, which has been designed according to the patented 3D-MATRIX Solution®. Picking is carried out in accordance with the goods-to-person principle using put walls with a Put to Light function.

The WAMAS® WCS software controls and optimizes all processes in the automated warehouse, ensures effective and coordinated processes, as well as timely processing of both store and online orders. Moreover, WAMAS connects to the IKEA warehouse management system with a standardized interface. The informative dashboard software, WAMAS® Lighthouse, visualizes warehouse processes and provides important key performance indicators of multiple systems in one dashboard.

“At IKEA, we always strive to be more accessible, affordable, and more sustainable for our customers. This requires innovative logistics with fulfilment activities in various shapes and formats, enabling IKEA to be a multichannel retailer,” states Claudio Marconi, Head of Logistics Development of Inter IKEA Group. 

Spring of 2020 dates the completion of the Montreal project. Due to the positive and collaborative cooperation, SSI SCHÄFER will implement two follow-up orders for IKEA in Torsvik (Sweden) and Lyssach (Switzerland).