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New Warehouse Design for a Gel Nail Retailer

Company and Project Background

A producer of high-quality gel nail systems, equipment, and nail art accessories, currently distributing throughout Europe, Oceania, the USA and Canada.  Operating a warehouse in the UK, receiving goods containerised from China, picking 500 – 1000 daily orders for despatch direct to UK businesses via a parcel carrier, with larger orders for export being despatched to distributors, has rapidly grown their business with further plans of expansion, they approached SCCG Ltd to request an assessment of the current warehouse space and to look at a new warehouse design.

Objectives of the Project

  • Space is a premium and the customer is close to signing the lease for a further space, which is in the form of an extension to the current warehouse.
  • Provide operational design for the complete warehouse including the extension, considering layout, equipment, material flow, processes, systems requirements, and resourcing.
  • Define the customer’s warehousing requirements against its business plan and gain a clear view of how this relates to the maximum storage and throughput capacity available in the extended warehouse.
  • Plan the transition to maximise the benefits of the new space while minimising disruption to business as usual.
  • Potentially support implementation e.g. through equipment procurement, systems advice etc.

Challenges in the Project

  • The current warehouse setup uses single-tier shelving in a very dense configuration with a fixed product to pick face allocation in product code order.
  • Packing benches are set up at one end of the warehouse and reserve stock is held at the other end, stacked on the floor in pallet racking.
  • The customer uses an in-house developed system to manage the warehouse activity, pickers are allocated orders in batches of 48, with the picker also undertaking the packing.
  • Various assembly activities e.g. assembly of boxes for despatch and making up of mixed product boxes

Initial Situation and Solutions

  • SCCG reviewed and analysed the business to determine what was being asked of the new warehouse.
  • SCCG produced material flow summaries for the extended warehouse and applied growth and known business changes to reach an agreed planning base showing all product streams through the facility.
  • SCCG visited the current warehouse, walked through the processes and documented and current use of space
  • SCCG suggested a number of potential solutions: the extent of the mezzanine floor, storage equipment and layout options, ways of working (inbound/replenishment/picking (small distributor orders) packing, assembly etc. equipment for picking (e.g trollies) potential mechanisation (e.g. conveyor at packing, lifts, conveyors to and from the Mezzanine, potential for Kardex or similar systems
  • We designed the warehouse operation, providing CAD drawings and a schedule of capital equipment with provisional budget costs
  • SCCG considered the implementation time, risks, space and height requirements and other practicalities in evaluating the possible solutions.

Outcomes/Conclusions

Project implementation support

The customer appointed an interim Project Manager based on a referral by SCCG

SCCG’s implantation support included:

  • Specification and sourcing of operational equipment
  • Creating specification/RFP documents and liaising with a range of suitable vendors to get pricing
  • Vendor-specific product details, lead times
  • SCCG worked with the customer to select the best vendors and ensure the equipment selected was compatible with the operation.
  • SCCG regularly liaised with the Project Manager to feed in updated drawings and incorporate the installation and commissioning of equipment into the overall project plan
  • SCCG assisted with operational implementation tasks – creating the numbering scheme for the racking, further detailed design revisions, detailed planning around transition while maintaining business as usual etc
  • Building fit-out consultation, M&E design, WIFI network, floor specification, doors etc
  • SCCG advised on aligning processes to WMS.


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