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New Distribution Centre Design

New Distribution Centre Design for Multi-Channel Retailer to the UK Building Trade

The client (a leading multichannel retailer of solid woodwork surfaces, servicing customers through a portfolio of e-commerce websites, dedicated sales phone lines, and showrooms) engaged Gideon Hillman Consulting (GH) to design and manage the fit out of their new distribution centre to meet the business growth rate of 25% year on year.

With a stock of circa 150 SKUs for worktops, which are determined by species (of wood), length (2, 3 and 4m) and thickness (27 and 40mm), the company was operating out of a 7,000 sq.m facility stocking approximately 5,000 worktops and despatching on average 400 to 500 worktops per day and up to 800 per day during peak periods. The existing facility pick face was all floor-based locations picking from pallets, with the bulk storage and replenishment area in an adjoining chamber.

In addition to a lack of usable head height in the old facility, and no racking or suitable Materials Handling Equipment the company also had no Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) to interface with their otherwise comprehensive multichannel sales order processing systems.

The Warehousing and Distribution Centre Experts at GH were tasked to review the existing DC operations and develop an optimised design and implementation plan for the new 3,000 sqm2 (6 m height) facility in terms of layouts, SOPs, WMS requirements, MHE and racking requirements, shifts and resource patterns and to calculate the capacity of the new facility if it is running in an optimised state including consideration for appropriate automation in the future.

GH did exactly that and designed a much more efficient facility with cantilever racking to store and pick product from making full use of the head height and floor space available to them.

In addition, the GH consultants developed the functional specification for a new WMS system and oversaw the implementation of all warehouse equipment and systems testing through to the ‘go-live’ date only a few months after the initial client enquiry.

The result is an optimised and much improved operational warehouse and distribution facility which enables the client to meet its growth requirements over the coming years.

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