Ferrero SpA owned chocolate brand Thorntons have invested in their warehouse storage and picking capability to support its ecommerce operation.

Thorntons is a long established quality UK chocolate brand that has mainly sold its chocolates through its 228 stores plus the 186 franchises. However, in addition to this and with significant investment in the website Thorntons are striving to improve the time it takes from online order to delivery of the full range.

Avanta UK Ltd - the Leeds based Storage Equipment specialist were invited to Thorntons main manufacturing and distribution centre based in Derbyshire to review the ecommerce pick and pack operation.

Order fulfilment of the ecommerce operation is complicated with the number of smaller low value individual SKU's and the boxed multi chocolates and combining these in order "bundles".  The transition from goods stored on pallet, decanted to boxes, then to individual items and then to be regrouped and packed for despatch was taking too long and was complex. The complexity could lead to picking errors which needs to be addressed.

Avanta offered a carton live solution to alleviate the issues.  Carton Live Storage includes inclined trays of roller tracks, set at levels in the storage bays, allow goods to roll under gravity down dedicated lanes within the trays, from the loading to the picking face.

Boxes are loaded from 1 side and travel down the rollers for the picker to pick from the picking trays.

Advantages of Carton Live Storage

General Advantages include: -

  • Drastic time savings at order picking: between 25 and 70%.
  • FIFO-principle: goods stored first, are taken out first
  • Better use of available storage capacity: up to 30% of space can be saved by the elimination of unnecessary aisles. Drastically reduced travel routes and important time savings
  • Roller tracks instead of shelves: goods move unassisted into the picking position. This allows faster picking and quicker handling
  • Fewer order picking mistakes: compact and clear presentation of goods leads to improved accuracy in order picking
  • Simplification of the handling of goods: a large range of articles are conveniently stored, within reach, in a small surface and all without reducing the stock itself.
  • Loading and picking can easily be automated.
  • Loss of time during order picking: long and straight aisles allow a better overview and lead to an improved organisation of work.
  • Increased productivity by separate replenishing and picking aisles. Staff productivity is improved by avoiding overcrowded passageways and obstruction of the flow of goods.


Specific Advantages include: -

  • Competitive price due to efficient design of standard components (custom-made length and width possible)
  • Easy boltless system especially developed for live storage applications.
  • Various combinations with other Avanta storage systems possible: e.g. pallet buffer on top of carton live.
  • Optimum adaptation to the size of storage units. Level can be repositioned in height in 12.5 mm increments.
  • Each level can carry up to 1000 kg, evenly spread per flow level.
  • Roller pitch of 28 mm guarantees trouble-free travelling of cartons, even those of poor quality.
  • Capacity of 4 kg per plastic roller: cylindrical or flanged rollers.
  • Standardised, system specific solutions for VDA containers and conical transportation bins.
  • Tracks and dividers can easily be repositioned (in 8.5 mm increments). This provides versatility in dealing with goods of different sizes or changing conditions.
  • Maximum safety by use of closed beams with rounded edges. No extending parts.
  • 5 year warranty on the smooth running of Avanta roller tracks.


Wayne Thomas, Avanta UK

“I have worked consistently with Thorntons over the years and to see how the company is expanding to embrace the digital age is pleasing to see.”

Representative from Thorntons

“We were very pleased with the performance of Avanta on this contract and the efficiencies gained by Thorntons. This has contributed to Thorntons selling the full range of products online as opposed to only a selection previously available.”