Ikea Logistics Centre Vienna Completed: €70 Million Investment Volume

Published: August 25, 2019; 16:24 · (Vindobona)

One year after the start of construction work, the Ikea logistics centre with 43 loading gates has been completed. To date, Ikea has invested more than 70 million euros in the site. The site will have a total of 150 employees.

Ikea logistics centre in Vienna Strebersdorf completed. / Picture: © IKEA Austria / PR, AGENTUR & EVENT Ulrich Taller

On 23 August, the building has been handed over to the logistics team.

Over the next few months, the logistics team will be working flat out to ensure that everything is ready for the opening on 9 October.

At the same time, the first of a total of 150 future employees will start work.

The Ikea logistics centre on two levels at Vohburggasse 1, 1210 Vienna, is multifunctional.

From mid-October, all direct deliveries to customers will be made from here. The aim is to achieve this on the same day if possible - the customer orders in the morning (online or in a furniture store) and has the goods ordered in the evening. At the same time, the building serves as a warehouse and also integrates a - "manned" and "unmanned" - collection station where customers can pick up their ordered goods.

Exactly one year ago, the construction work began: Now Ikea Austria Construction Manager Robert Charuza can take stock successfully. The building, which contains some highly interesting features, is finished. One of these features is Europe's largest ice storage facility. In the meantime, it is no longer visible from the outside, because trucks will thunder over it in future. "Underground, the ice stores - actually two - house the technology used to heat and cool the building," says Robert Charuza. The first part of the photovoltaic system has already been installed on the roof: "The remaining areas will be equipped with solar panels in late autumn. The electricity could cover peaks, but will be fed into the public grid."

220 columns almost 30 meters high are the supporting elements of the logistics center built on two levels. 31,000 cubic metres of concrete have flowed into the various parts of the building. The reinforcing bars alone, which ensure stability and earthquake resistance, weigh 5,300 tons. The façade has an enormous area of 13,500 square meters. For the sprinkler system, not only the necessary water basins were laid, but also a total of 41 kilometers of piping. The power supply has devoured as many as 440 kilometres of cable. In contrast, the 3,200 luminaires are almost "small".

The logistics centre has 43 loading gates, all of which have already been prepared for any retrofitting of electric truck loading stations. Inside the building, transport lifts and so-called goods lifters ensure that goods reach the first floor (and come down again if necessary). The Ikea pick-up station is located on the south-west side of the building, accessible via its own entrance in Scheydgasse. It is accessible to all customers who want to collect their goods ordered by Click & Collect from Strebersdorf. If the normal opening hours are not enough for you, there are so-called "loose boxes" at the pick-up station from which you can pick up orders around the clock.

Logisticians prepare for real operation and relocation

The responsible project manager Doris Rottensteiner takes over the house with immediate effect. Her team is responsible for the overall planning of the processes and for everything that has to do with the logistical requirements and has done everything in its power over the past two years to make this showcase project a success. Now "the last kilometres" are waiting: the last handovers and training courses in building services engineering take place, as do the first deliveries - from forklifts to furniture for the offices. The technical structure of the conveyor technology and the shelving system is also finalised.

At the same time, the interior design of the personnel areas is being carried out. In the first step, these are the areas for facility management (i.e. for the house technicians), the area for the porter and the telephone switchboard. The staff restaurant is fully installed, but the canteen must first be fine-tuned. From 26 August, the interior work and furnishing of the offices will also start. This also applies to the visible parts of the IT (monitors, cabling, etc.). Test runs for all systems are then carried out and finally the Customer Distribution Center is relocated from Wels to Vienna.

Stackers, scanners and conveyor belts

"The commissioning of a new building requires precise planning and coordination," emphasises project manager Doris Rottensteiner. In this "hot phase" before the opening, the project team is busy, among other things, with detailed planning for the construction of the warehouse and for the entire start-up phase at the daily level, with the final verification/adaptation of developed working methods, the training of future managers and specialists at the Wels site, with coordination and contracts with external companies and finally with the preparation of a detailed handover plan from the project team to the new management crew of the logistics centre, Doris Rottensteiner describes the coming months.

Meanwhile, the forklift fleet, including the IT terminals and scanners, will be delivered and assembled. Around 500 metres of state-of-the-art conveyor belts and RFID technology for automated picking control require complex system tests before they can go into operation. In addition, more "profane" work also takes place: 30,700 shelving spaces have to be labelled for numbering purposes, and all driveways and walkways as well as the installation areas are marked. And little by little, the kitchen is also equipped with pots, pans, glasses, plates and other items.

Employees on duty

The first of a total of 150 new employees at the logistics centre have already started work. With the handover the next momentum follows, already at the new location. "Some of our experienced specialists from Wels have accepted the challenge and are already moving to Vienna on 2 September. This will enable them to familiarise themselves with the building, the new technology and the new working methods. Later, they will train the new employees together with their managers," says Doris Rottensteiner.

The recruitment itself is very successful. "Initially, we had concerns as to whether we would be able to find enough qualified employees in view of the many similar companies in the surrounding area. But that quickly broke down," says Doris Rottensteiner. 87 new employees are currently permanently on board, and the interview process is running with 30 full-time and 16 Saturday employees. Incidentally, work is carried out in 2-shift operation.

It is planned that the new employees will start every two weeks from September to December. In addition to the usual instruction and classroom training, there will also be a stacker course for practice and personal buddies. For employees who start without a forklift license, there will be their own forklift license training on site, i.e. directly at their future workplace.

More than € 70 million investment volume

Ikea has invested more than 70 million euros in the site to date. This has to do not least with a completely changed consumption and mobility behaviour of customers, with digitisation and with the advancing urbanisation. The majority of Ikea customers in Austria now live in the catchment area of the capital Vienna, which is the fastest-growing metropolis in Europe. The development of Ikea goes hand in hand with this: Cash & Carry is still an important topic. At the same time, e-commerce is booming. Overall, Ikea wants to get closer to its customers - with different touchpoints at all levels, analogous to the development into a true multichannel retailer.