Like all good partnerships, any warehouse expansion requires careful coordination between two industry partners – the customer and the materials handling manufacturer – to ensure Return on Investment (ROI). Here, Dexion, a pan-European provider of storage products and solutions, explains how it works together with customers to achieve a detailed analysis of storage requirements.
It begins with good planning. To start with, it would be wise to forecast, perhaps up to as far as ten years ahead, projecting growth and aspirations. Whether the premises is owned or leased, now would be a good time for management to review current and proposed metrics such as SKUs, pick rates and orders processed. Consider the types of goods handled – are they fast moving or C-type slow movers? If the current operation is largely manual, should automation be considered? If so, when is the ambition to become largely automated?
If considering expansion, it’s likely that inventory will be bigger. A company will know whether its old way of ‘doing things’ is unlikely to work anymore if it fails to replenish as quickly and accurately as it knows they should be. In that case, now might be the time to consider automating these processes to avoid future errors. A receiving area will invariably be bigger and taking in more stock.
In order to avoid a slowdown, products should be received, verified and sorted as quickly as possible. Again, introducing some automation now or in the future could be a good solution. Any planned investment should be carefully considered and be financially justifiable.
Think about creating a good working environment for staff. Solely concentrating on stock placement alone can sideline considerations such as having the right lighting and establishing picking routes that make their jobs easier and more importantly, safer.
So, who can companies partner with to achieve all of this? Pick a well established storage industry manufacturer who can provide a solid record of success, a portfolio of compatible product solutions and a cradle-to-grave sustainable, safe service solution; a partner who can developed future proofed products that can dovetail neatly into your expansion programme as it progresses.
So where does the specification start? Dexion doesn’t just offer general advice and guidance about storage requirements; it goes further to provide practical assistance and advice with a more detailed analysis of storage requirements.
Dexion’s own in-house analysis will translate storage needs into a specification report, evaluating all areas of a warehouse, including the layout and storage equipment required; material storage locations; the optimal material handling processes and picking speeds; lifetime costs of the system; and growth strategies and market trends.
“We determine your optimum layout, system and process flow to ensure your warehouse is continually optimised. Dexion products are designed to withstand tough environments, and they don’t get much tougher than warehouses and distribution centres. The constant movement of goods, forklift trucks and pallets takes its toll on any storage system. We can also supply you with several accessories to keep both your storage system and employees safe,” explains Dexion.
Once a specification is produced, the design and installation process is undertaken by qualified engineers and trained installers. A full follow up service regime can be provided to include rack inspection, health and safety, service and maintenance, together with courses and seminars.
Having joined the magazine in 2012, Claire developed her knowledge of the industry through the numerous company visits, exhibitions and conferences she attended both in the UK and abroad.
Claire prides herself on keeping readers well informed and up to date with the latest industry news.