As we enter further into 2018, technology continues to develop, as do recognised processes within the warehouse including artificial intelligence, tracking technology, and automation, all of which contribute to improved supply chain visibility, inventory management, efficiency, and overall improved operational efficiency.
A frequently used technology in the warehouse, which takes many forms, is automation; the most common format of which is conveyor systems, which can range from highly complex structures which control multidimensional material flow processes; to simpler single conveyor tracks, responsible for taking picked goods to a packing station. Many companies which have adopted conveyors as a form of automation, have seen dramatic results within their facilities when implemented correctly.
Gideon Hillman Consulting (GH) have a number of examples which clearly demonstrate benefits that can be realised by simple automated conveyor systems when integrated into warehouse operations.
The Gideon Hillman Consulting Warehouse Specialists were engaged by a major food processor to optimise their packing, warehousing and distribution operations at one of their manufacturing sites in the UK.
The consultants supported the client’s decision to pursue automated operations within their facility, having recognised the potential this offered, to optimise their warehouse and despatch procedures.
Reviewing their processes in detail, the Gideon Hillman Consulting team (GH) advised their client of the benefits of the supply and installation of a mechanical pallet handling conveyor into their facility at the end of the product packing line, whilst also highlighting the potential for automated or semi-automated systems including gravity-fed racking.
Following their advice, the client successfully improved their facility operations and efficiency with recommendations from the GH team for the design and installation of a 200m powered pallet conveyor. Following the implementation of this practical racking configuration; and supporting their requirement for automation in their facility, the client realised numerous benefits, including but not limited to: increased site throughput capacity from – 300,000 tonnes to 450,000 tonnes per annum; Increased pallet storage capacity by 12.8%; Reduction in over 500,000 Fork Lift Truck movements per annum, subsequently improving Health &Safety; and reduction in staffing (whilst increasing throughput by 50%) and Materials Handling Equipment savings.
With significant focus on enhancing space saving, reducing inventory, and improving productivity by using less people and automating facility processes; another prestigious project for the Warehouse Consultants at Gideon Hillman Consulting (GH) was the design and fit-out of the new European e-fulfilment Distribution Centre for Bodybuilding.com: The world’s largest on-line retailer of sports nutrition products including powdered and liquid health supplements and bulking powders for athletes, with an annual turnover in excess of $750M.
Identifying automation would be required to improve the design and optimisation of BodyBuilding.com’s facility; Diamond Phoenix Automation – holding a proven track record of helping companies implement and integrate new systems – were chosen to work alongside the Gideon Hillman Consulting team, due to their thorough understanding of the everchanging world of automation, and the resulting complexities which require adaptive solutions.
With the support and guidance of the GH team of Specialist Consultants, and the Diamond Phoenix team, BodyBuilding.com now proudly own a facility – capable of processing 98,000 orders per week, whilst employing just 40 full time staff over a three shift system.
Their facility includes a pedestrian zone pick operation where orders are picked to tote bins from carton live flow racking with back fill replenishment, a conveyor to the packing area; a secondary conveyor to move packed orders to the goods out despatch area, and a third conveyor to return the empty totes to the picking area.
GIDEON HILLMAN CONSULTING
Tel: 01926 430 883