Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

Creating Supply Chain Solutions
Warehousing - Distribution - Fulfilment - Co-Pack

Phone: 0115 940 3332

Email : sales@parklog.co.uk


Integrated materials handling – SDI Group

Gordon Smith is CEO of SDI Group, the global integrator of automated material handling systems. The company has recently moved to new premises in Hinckley to build on the tremendous success it has been achieving globally in the market for automated solutions for multichannel fashion retail.

GordonSmith

The company has, this year, been involved in large, integrated distribution centre projects with Abercrombie and Fitch, Matalan, TK Maxx, Asda George, COOP Italia, QVC, Polish 3PL No Limit and a large German retailer. Also during 2013, SDI Group achieved a ‘world first’ in developing an automated ‘Hanger Sorter’ system for recycling empty coat hangers used extensively by the fashion sector; entered the postal and package e-commerce market with the creation of a specialist company, SDI Sortation Solutions Ltd; and developed the Mona Lisa bag/pouch sortation system – an automated hanging system for both hanging items or flat goods simultaneously.

WLN – First of all, what does your role involve day to day? Has it changed since last year?

As last year, I remain a hands on CEO involved in the general development of the business.

WLN – 2013 – How was it for you?

2013 has been a significant year for the SDI Group, having moved into new premises in Hinckley, Leicestershire – just round the corner from our previous site. We also opened new SDI Group facilities in Germany and a sales office in Switzerland, and we recruited new staff throughout Europe – the company has increased core consultancy and design staff by around 25 per cent.

Significant new product developments include the EHS (Hanger Sorter), LS900 (Tilt-Tray Sorter), TTU (Tight-Turn Unit), PTU (Push Tray Unit) and Mona Lisa (Pouch Sortation System).

These developments combine to underline the impressive success that SDI Group continues to achieve as a rapidly growing, UK-based global integrator of automated materials handling systems.

WLN – How has the Integrated Materials Handling category been performing this year? What do you see as the most significant recent developments?

There have been some big name UK retailers moving into Germany, which has created a lot of activity for us there and Italy has also been busy. In fact, across Europe we are seeing activity equivalent to pre-crisis levels.

Lead times on projects are becoming even tighter. Because the businesses are under so much pressure due to the dynamics of retail fashion markets, they are making decisions later but needing things done within the same time window.

The Internet is creating a whole new set of peaks. Once installed, automation gives retailers far greater flexibility in being able to meet unpredictable peaks.

LS900[2]

WLN – Have you moved into any new business areas in the last 12 months?

SDI Group has, this year, entered the postal and package e-commerce market with the creation of a specialist company, SDI Sortation Solutions Ltd.

Offering world-leading sortation technology developed by SDI Group over the last 30 years, the new company will enable integrators specialising in the postal sector to enhance their solutions using robust, low-maintenance, proven sortation technology.

WLN – What was your biggest investment to improve your business this year? What else have you done?

We have invested in the development in the Mona Lisa bag/pouch sortation system, which we have won our first orders for in Germany. It is essentially a product that allows us to do high speed sortation for ecommerce and packing – both flat and hanging products.

Moving premises to a new manufacturing plant enhances our capability to manufacture mezzanine floors, sortation products, conveyor systems and structural components and will give us the ability to respond to customer demands in an even shorter timescale. This is particularly important in the fast moving, multichannel fashion retail sector, which is a big customer base for our automated systems.

We have also established a relationship with the market in Turkey and are now looking at new opportunities as well.

WLN – How are your existing products and services doing? Have you developed or upgraded your existing products and services recently?

LS900 is our mid-range carton tilt tray sorter for both packages and cartons. Reutilising a lot of our existing technology, it has been received favourably by a number of the smaller parcel operators who see it as a sorter that can cope with a wide range of products and at the same time get a good return on investment compared with some of the higher volume tilt tray and cross belt sorters on the market.

The TTU (Tight-Turn Unit) has had a complete redesign enabling it to be easily maintained with no drive chain to cause friction. The PTU (Push Tray Unit) was developed as a sortation solution for fragile products and lower speeds that can be applied where customers wish to pack off a packaged product inside a carton or a box.

These sorters use common componentry allowing quick installation and easy maintenance.

TTU

WLN – Have you launched any new products or services, and how are they performing?

We only finished developing the Mona Lisa at end of last year and already we have two installations and are looking at another five. The customer feedback received so far has been extremely positive.

A flexible sorting solution for ecommerce fulfilment applications, the Mona Lisa features a carrier bag pouch, allowing both hanging garments and boxes to be stored in dynamic picking loops that can then be accessed rapidly whenever an order is called off. A number of patented designs deliver ‘world class’ speed for the cycle of overhead storage, product access and transportation to packing – allowing an ecommerce retailer to gain high throughputs, which sets this automated system apart.

Supporting software allows customers to see in real time how their merchandise is being accessed and sold. This gives visibility of trends in work requirements within the DC. The Mona Lisa’s scaleable technology allows companies to start small and expand the solution to meet business requirements.

Another innovative sortation technology introduced this year was a ‘world first’ for an apparel retail customer by deploying ground-breaking camera technology to identify hangers from over 80 different profiles in under 300 milliseconds whilst going through a high speed sortation process. The automated system revolutionises the labour-intensive operation of sorting empty hangers returned from retail stores.

This British automated solution has a global application. For the fashion retail sector this technology is the ‘green option’ for re-using and recycling empty hangers and represents a huge productivity gain over presently used manual methods. We are very excited by the number of enquiries we’ve had for this technology.

In 2014, SDI will continue to look at ways we can use our engineering excellence to solve specific problems for customers.

WLN – What’s been your company’s single biggest achievement in business this year?

In conjunction with Vanderlande, winning a large ecommerce project for a high street German retailer IN Germany.

WLN – What was your favourite business moment in 2013?

Being awarded the combined maintenance contract for all George at Asda facilities within the UK. This is the culmination of a 15 year programme of growing and developing our maintenance capability in the UK. It also recognises our good service.

PTU

WLN – Do you operate in any other countries besides the UK? How are you getting on there? Have you gone into any new territories recently?

SDI has operations in the UK, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Chile, Brazil, India, Australia and New Zealand. We have recently opened offices in Turkey, Switzerland and a third office in Germany.

I am particularly proud that SDI Group is a British company doing so well on the international stage. We will continue to manufacture both in Germany and the UK. With the volumes of work that we have, it is good to possess the flexibility provided by these two operations. These sites have a busy year ahead. In addition to our current involvement in large, integrated distribution centre projects with Abercrombie and Fitch, Matalan, TK Maxx, Asda George, COOP Italia, QVC, Polish 3PL No Limit and a large German retailer, we also have a full order book for the next 12 months.

WLN – Have you won any awards recently, or been accredited to any new standards?

SDI was shortlisted for the Supply Chain Solution of the Year trophy at the prestigious Retail Systems Awards. The entry centred on the company’s development of its ‘world first’ for an apparel retail customer by deploying ground-breaking camera technology to identify hangers from over 80 different profiles in under 300 milliseconds whilst going through a high speed sortation process. The automated system revolutionises the labour-intensive operation of sorting empty hangers returned from retail stores.

SDI Group has also been nominated for the ASDA Supply Chain Excellence Awards 2014: as ASDA Service Provider of the Year.

WLN – Can you tell us about your major projects this year, and what they involved?

Among the large, integrated distribution centre projects that SDI Group was involved in during 2013, we were able to build on successful partnerships with clients. For example, we extended our existing warehouse solution for George at Asda to accommodate additional storage capacity and a new e-commerce operation within the company’s Distribution Centre at Lymedale.

Another interesting, phased project was for Polish 3PL No Limit, SDI Group installed a PTU (Push Tray Unit) sorter at its multi-client distribution centre, located just outside Warsaw. The PTU sorter will transform sortation performance at the facility, increasing productivity by several hundred per cent compared to the existing manual process, allowing No Limit to offer an enhanced, faster and more accurate service to its retail clients.

SDI_ANF13_064

WLN – Can you tell us about your plans for 2014? Where do you see your business going?

Our plans are to build on the success of recent years. Given the number of enquiries we have, we can pick the projects to which we are best suited and deliver them to our normal high standards.

WLN – Are you looking at taking on more staff or expanding your premises next year?

We increased our staff roll by 10% this year and expect to do the same in 2014. In addition to this year’s move to new premises and new offices in Germany and Switzerland, this underlines SDI Group’s continuous growth.

SDI-GROUPWLN – Are you exhibiting at any major trade shows in 2014?

During 2014, SDI Group will be exhibiting at Logimat, CEMAT, Intralogistics, Manutention, Internet Retailing and the Logistics Link exhibitions.

WLN – What other headline news from SDI Group can our readers look forward to reading about in Warehouse Logistics News next year?

We will continue to look at acquisitions and geographical growth next year.

Phone: 01763 244299

Email: info.uk@sdigroup.com

Web: www.sdigroup.com

Twitter: @SDIGroupLtd

Facebook: SDIGroupUk

LinkedIn: sdi-group-ltd

Article source: http://warehousenews.co.uk/2013/12/integrated-materials-handling-sdi-group/