Four automated storage and retrieval carousels from Couzens Storage Solutions have enabled Waymade Healthcare PLC to set up a new dental products distribution service within its existing space-pressured facility. The units are providing 272m² of storage area for up to 5,000 line items, in a footprint of only 31.0m² – the size of a small office.
Waymade is a leading healthcare products distributor with more than 1,000 licences for prescription medicines, able to supply a significant portion of the UK retail pharmacist’s needs. With an outstanding performance of 98% next day delivery, the company decided to extend its service expertise into the dental products sector.
The success of its core pharmaceutical business had put considerable space pressure on Waymade’s Basildon’s existing distribution centre. As there are as many dental delivery locations as pharmacies and potentially up to 12,000 line items to serve the new market, the company needed a fast, productive and space efficient system to ensure it could deliver to the same high service levels.
Having reviewed a number of suppliers and visited various carousel installations, the Waymade team selected Couzens Storage Solutions as their preferred supplier based on the company’s knowledge and experience, range of products and ability to provide a fully bespoke system.
Each carousel has 28 carrier levels, with a total capacity of up to 1,904 polypropylene bins 600mm in length and 234mm wide. The four carousels provide 5,712 individual storage locations, more than enough for Waymade’s target of 5,000 SKUs. Adjustable dividers allow each bin to alter the location size.
Operators pass a bar coded order document under a fixed bar code reader by the carousel that automatically displays order lines required on the 50cm screen. Orders are then sorted by the carousel’s software into an optimised route delivery path for maximum efficiency and timing. The documents are produced by either of two printers – one for each pair of carousels – located beneath each PC.
Order pick lines are identified by one of the 17 pick-to-light LEDs located at the front of each bin, providing a rapid and accurate visual location for the operator.
Using an intuitive touch screen to view and pick orders the operator automatically confirms the pick operation by pushing one of three remote confirmation buttons located just below the work surface, saving time to return to the screen. The carousel software is linked to Waymade’s stock control system
Each carrier is presented at a comfortable working height so that the required bin can be placed onto the hygienic, 400mm wide stainless steel worktable than runs along the machine’s length. Steel rollers provide a fulcrum point to support the bins so that they slide out smoothly from the carrier.
Even at the maximum load capacity of 7,400 kilos, the two motor drive system provides 100% unbalanced loading capability – and in the case of a motor malfunction, the carousel will operate as normal with the remaining motor.
One PC mounted between each pair of carousels operates both machines and for pick efficiency, two units can be operated at any time. The software uses a long-established and proven warehousing package, adapted to the client’s individual requirements and uses a clear screen design, layout and imagery familiar to anyone using Microsoft systems.
The software includes a number of useful features including FIFO, batch traceability (essential for medical and pharmaceutical products), free location matrix, date and time stamped activity logs and a wide range of reports to aid warehouse management.
Bryan Wyatt, Waymade’s director of operations, summed up the company’s reactions. “When we were looking at potential suppliers we found a big variation in what was on offer and chose Couzens as their knowledge was second to none.
Although it’s early days yet, we are very happy with both the system and the installation. The equipment arrived bang on time and the Couzens team worked very well with our own staff to make the whole operation run smoothly.
Packing the storage and picking function into such a small space has been a real bonus for us with space under such pressure, and means we can continue to run both operations under one roof. Our operators can pick a part in only a few seconds, which is a lot faster than having someone walk around a conventional shelf and bin layout, which in turn is helping us maintain a high level of service to help us succeed in this new venture.”
Couzens Storage Solutions Limited
Tel: 01442 250010