Implementing a Storeganizer solution enables range extension and offers extra possibilities for bulk storage.

Faced with a considerable product range extension, Comline Auto Parts Ltd. needed to find space in a warehouse already operating at full capacity. Operations Manager Mark Chesworth identified Storeganizer as the perfect solution to free up space by reducing the storage space required for small, slowmoving, low-volume SKUs.

The Challenge

Comline Auto Parts’ 13,000 m2 warehouse contained over 27,000 SKUs, divided over two big brands: Comline and Motaquip. With a large range extension of about 1,500 new engine management components due, Operations Manager Mark Chesworth faced a big challenge: to find the necessary space because all pick locations were already occupied. However, space remained in some of the pick faces, as they held a limited amount of slow-moving product.

Having spotted the Storeganizer solution in the IntraLogisteX Trade Fair brochure, Mark Chesworth searched the internet to find out more about it. “A visit to IntraLogisteX confirmed Storeganizer as a suitable solution to condense the storage of small parts. A first calculation showed that 550 brake cables stored on shelving units took up 27m2 at three SKUs per shelf, five shelves high. Moving the majority of these cables into four Storeganizer bays would require no more than 12 m2, about 44% of the footprint. This would free up the space needed to accommodate the new products,” says Mark Chesworth. “I looked at another option as well – hanging the cables on rails – but found that it wouldn’t allow us to save space to the same extent. However, since Storeganizer was such a radically different storage system, the management as well as the warehouse team needed some persuasion. Fortunately, a visit by the Storeganizer Account Manager quickly tipped the balance in favour of this solution.”

The Solution

In a first phase, five Storeganizer bays were introduced into the Motaquip warehouse division, totalling 710 picking locations. Four bays intended for cables had standard pocket measurements. A fifth bay was designed as a hybrid unit, containing three rows of different pocket sizes to try out the storage of other small and medium size components. Upon the arrival of the new range of engine management components, this bay quickly showed that Storeganizer would equally suit Comline’s plans to further expand this new product range. As a result, in the spring of 2017 another 26 Storeganizer bays were introduced in a second phase, equally divided between Comline and Motaquip. They represent another 9,532 picking locations and brought the number of m2 occupied by Storeganizer to a total of 92 m2. These bays were designed to suit specific products, resulting in a mixture of designs. In total, 17% of the warehouse’s SKUs are now covered by Storeganizer.

“The first five bays were on a strict deadline, as we needed to have the new range readily available for one of our key customers,” says Mark Chesworth. “And Storeganizer came through on their promises of a swift delivery. The launch proved very successful, allowing us to bring in the engine management components smoothly and on time.”

Creating additional bulk storage space, with quicker and easier picking as an extra plus

“As a warehouse running at very high capacity utilisation, we needed to find a way to create additional space for bulk storage,” Mark Chesworth explains. “We were able to condense the available space considerably by moving any product that allowed us to save space, going from cables to fan belts, from conventional pick faces, such as stacking on adjustable pallet racking or shelf units, to Storeganizer bays.” In general, the smaller, lower volume, slow-moving products that don’t demand constant replenishment proved the most suitable to relocate into a Storeganizer bay. By creating more pick faces and condensing pick faces, Storeganizer allowed Comline to expand its available ranges, and to create more bulk storage. An additional advantage is quicker picking. “At first, we feared that switching between rows in a Storeganizer bay might prove time-consuming, but the opposite is true. The pick path is a lot shorter than it used to be with the previous arrangement. There’s also an ergonomic benefit for our order pickers, who no longer need to reach overhead, as was the case when we had products stored in the back of pick faces on pallet racking.”

“We are very happy with our Storeganizer solution and our warehouse has even been serving as a showcase,” says Mark Chesworth. “Several potential Storeganizer customers visiting our warehouse were impressed by the solution’s efficiency and have since adopted their own Storeganizer solutions. In the future, there could be a possibility to explore the storage of heavier products, such as lower volume brake pads, in a Storeganizer solution as well, but at the moment we’re concentrating on fully leveraging the Storeganizer solution we have at our disposal.”