AMH Material Handling has completed two projects for George clothing at the Asda Lymedale facility in Newcastle under Lyme. The projects have seen AMH increase storage capacity by 250,000 units and significantly speed up order throughput for George’s ecommerce operation.

The 1.2 million sq ft Lymedale facility provides store replenishment regionally and services the ecommerce business nationally. The facility handles the replenishment of stock for 174 stores as well as the pick, pack and despatch for UK and International online orders.

Project One: Increasing Storage Capacity

Asda has seen tremendous growth for the George ecommerce business which has been operating from this site since 2013. The Lymedale facility was originally designed to hold one million units of stock on site but the operation soon outgrew this.

In order to increase storage capacity, AMH Material Handling was tasked with creating additional space in the warehouse. They managed this by reorganising both the retail and ecommerce operations. This involved carton live storage, goods on hanger (GOH) storage and conveyor routing.

The extra space created allowed AMH to supplement the existing storage. They supplied and installed additional carton live storage to increase capacity by 19,000 locations and 4,800 SKU locations. Additionally a further 1,000 linear metres of hanging garment storage was supplied and installed.

Overcoming Layout Challenges

As a result of reorganising the retail storage area, the existing conveyor system and replenishment spurs which serviced the retail operation no longer fitted in with the new layout. To overcome this, AMH changed the routing of all cartons and re-positioned the carton live replenishment spurs. As the facility was still operational, the work had to cause minimal disruption to both the retail and ecommerce businesses.

Once the conveyor system had been rerouted, AMH had to design and install a new waste cardboard removal system from the mezzanine levels. The waste had had to be transported by conveyor to the existing bailer for recycling.

To achieve this AMH designed a bespoke 400 metre conveyor solution. This head height system (which frees up valuable floor space) enables waste cardboard to travel from both the left and right sides of the warehouse. The two conveyors meet in the middle where they join via a drop slide.

Increasing Efficiency for Hanging Garment System

AMH also increased efficiencies of the hanging garment system for Asda’s retail operation. Items travel through the warehouse on an automated garment hanging system which uses jets to hold the garment hangers securely in place.

AMH designed and installed an improved empty jet routing system which automates the return and storage of empty jets. The new system has increased efficiencies within the goods inbound area and allows for faster processing.

Project Two: Increasing Ecommerce Order Throughput

The second project AMH completed at the Asda Lymedale site was to increase order throughput and processing speeds for George clothing’s ecommerce operation. In order for George to be able to pick, pack and despatch orders faster, AMH removed the old conveyor system and designed and installed a new system to deliver orders to eight packing benches. Each order is picked and placed into a tote. The tote is then put onto the conveyor system where it travels from level two down to level one and is delivered directly to the packing benches on a gravity decline conveyor spur.

To increase the throughput and speed of order bagging, a third automated bagging machine was installed. AMH managed the design and layout of the bagging area to accommodate the third machine.

Easy System Monitoring and Operation

In addition to the storage and material handling solutions, AMH Material Handling upgraded the PLC (processing unit) hardware and HMI touch screens for users.

AMH Material Handling – A Supplier We Can Rely On Trevor Austin, operations manager at Asda, explains: “AMH Material Handling was awarded both projects after a successful tender process. We have worked with AMH in other capacities previously and we have always been completely satisfied with the work they deliver.

“The peak period for George begins with the ‘back to school’ period and remains at this higher level right through to Christmas. This year’s forecast for the number of items despatched in the peak week suggests a 16% increase on the previous year’s record week. Therefore, it was critical that the projects were completed in time to handle the increase in throughput.

“This set AMH a tight deadline to meet – especially as they had to work alongside other contractors on site. Their professional approach, however, meant they were flexible and communicated well with all the personnel on site so as to meet our needs.

“Overall, the successful completion of the projects has increased efficiency and performance, and we are better equipped to effectively manage increased volumes. In addition, we have appointed AMH Material Handling as Asda’s in-house maintenance team at the Lymedale site, giving us cover at all times throughout the year,” concludes Austin.

Tel: 0121 550 4342