Planning ahead for future growth can be problematic for many businesses, including the implementation of storage systems that can accommodate such growth. Following a systematic analysis of their operation from SEC Storage, Piccadilly Greetings Group Ltd have successfully expanded their operation with significant opportunity for growth.
Piccadilly Greetings Group are one of the UK’s leading greeting card publishers and manufacturers, with a product range of over 5,000 designs as well as own label products and fully bespoke stock control for major UK and international retailers. With offices, design studio, warehouse and production facility in Hemel Hempstead, they recently realised the need to take on additional space to cope with growing demand. When a warehouse next door became available, this provided perfect expansion opportunity.
Knowing that they would need to have additional equipment installed, they approached SEC Storage and a number of providers to assist in the design of the new storage systems. However, due to SEC Storage’s unique approach, it provided Piccadilly Greetings the opportunity to re-assess their entire storage methods and operation, not just the new warehouse.
The existing storage systems included single tier Longspan shelving located on a mezzanine floor above the production area and minimal bulk stacked pallets of raw materials. A systematic analysis of the Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) by SEC Storage found that the company had over 5,000 SKUs just for greeting cards. In addition, a growing range of ancillary products, raw materials and packaging would need to be accounted for. The Longspan shelving included levels for picking in addition to stock replenishment. This is something that works well for the operation due to the nature of the picks, which could be a number of cards or an entire box in one pick.
Multi-tier Rack Supported Picking Structure
With the brief of maximising capacity of the new premises and making allowances for future growth, SEC Storage first set about maximising the cube, primarily looking at the height of the building. Significant gains could be made by implementing a multi-tier rack supported picking structure as opposed to the single tier Longspan shelving. This would allow for an increase in capacity in the picking operation but also allow greater space for the bulk pallet racking.
The second viewpoint was to determine the average box and pallet size, so that a standard bay clear entry could be specified, to ensure that space was fully utilised. As a result, the new multi-tier system can store up to 9 boxes in the 2400mm clear entry. The pallet racking, which has two different loads, can store either 3 or 4 pallets in the 3300mm clear entry, ensuring that space is fully utilised in each bay. Space utilisation is therefore expected to be at between 90 and 100% between the multi-tier system and pallet racking.
Phased Pallet Racking Installation
The pallet racking installation would be a first for Piccadilly Greetings. The additional space from the new warehouse has provided opportunity store more materials and finished goods whilst being able to dispatch to clients in a more efficient manner, rather than operate a just in time process. In order to maximise capacity, the racking would be configured based on the requirements of an articulated forklift truck but the racking would have a phased installation. By initially installing every other run of racking, this would provide opportunity for future growth but in the first instance limit the capital expenditure and also negate the need to upgrade materials handling equipment immediately.
The new multi-tier rack supported structure also has an abutting multi-tier mezzanine floor used for pedestrian access. Each level also has a pallet gate for the easy loading of finished products and unloading of completed picks.
The new rack supported multi-tier has the ability to store over 38,000 boxes of product in a floor space area of just 3,921 sq/ft, although the effective area is over 11,500 sq/ft based on the multi-tier system. Once both phases of the pallet racking is installed and the articulated materials handling is employed, the total pallet capacity will be over 850.
“We needed to expand our existing facility to cope with current demand and future growth, but wanted to take the opportunity to re-assess our entire storage operation” commented Kushal Kaneria, Business Development Director. “The multi-tier racking system and pallet racking from SEC Storage has not only enabled us to increase capacity significantly, but streamline our operation and accommodate future growth.”