Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

Creating Supply Chain Solutions
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Asda Logistics Clothing Depot fitted out with Bito Smart Slide shelving

Bito Storage Systems has installed its Smart Slide shelving at the Asda Logistics Clothing Depot in Lymedale, Staffordshire, for the ecommerce operation of clothing retailer The simple yet effective shelving presents a large number of products at the pick face within the minimum possible footprint. It also combines slow and fast moving products and offers the flexibility to change pick slot size to suit requirements.

Bito’s Smart Slide Shelving has provided the depot with a 30 per cent saving on floor space by offering a high number of pick slots in a dense storage system for slow and fast moving products. The shelving also provides a cost saving compared to a pallet racking based design incorporating a bespoke picking solution.

“Our ecommerce operation needs a large number of pick spaces to hold the broad range of SKUs that we offer,” says Richard Wood, Operations Manager of  – the ecommerce operations of George at Asda. “We were challenged by the limited amount of space that we could allocate to the storage yet we wanted to give our picking colleagues the maximum amount of locations that we could get in front of them.”

George came up with the concept of a shelving system that would work in a similar way to a sliding wardrobe. In other words, a bay of storage shelves at the front that a picker could slide to one side to gain access to pick slots within the shelving bays behind. Despite an extensive search, they could not find anything like this for the warehouse environment.

Having previously worked with Bito, George asked if the Nuneaton based storage solutions company could turn their idea into a reality. After several weeks of development Bito proposed a solution based on its Boltless Shelving to create what it has now christened the ‘Smart Slide’ system. This combines fixed shelving at the rear and a slideable shelving system at the front, giving pickers access to the full width of each bay at the rear.

Each 1200 mm wide x 600 mm deep bay at the front is mounted on castors and comes complete with a roller mechanism, which allows it to slide easily and smoothly to one side – stops on the shelves prevent them from impacting into each other. For added flexibility, the bay can be released from the roller track, which connects it to the fixed shelving at the rear, by pulling down a handle on the mechanism. This allows the bays to be moved for replenishment purposes.

The Smart Slide shelving is formed from Bito’s new perforated sprinkler shelf, together with mesh side and back walls. This means that in addition to being light in weight, the design adheres to insurers’ legal requirements, with regards to fire regulations.

The front bays of the Smart Slide are ideal for faster moving product. With four levels of shelves, a front bay module can hold 16 open front containers on it and each shelf can support up to 100 kg.

Slower moving items are located in the fixed, 600 mm deep shelving bays at the rear, which have ‘pigeon-hole’ locations that can be easily adjusted for size simply by moving the dividers. To gain access to these rear locations, a picker simply slides the front bay to one side.

To ensure that all of George’s pickers could easily access the top shelf, BITO designed an accompanying picking trolley, which has steps attached.

After initial approval of a concept design, Bito installed a prototype at its Experience Centre, located at its Nuneaton HQ, for George to run trials. George brought along union stewards and a Health Safety manager along to the trials, which led to a number of refinements to the design. The very successful trials filled George with great confidence in the solution.

“The sheer density of storage provided by the clever design of Bito’s Smart Slide gives us the ability to occupy the required footprint,” says Richard. “It is simple and very effective yet did not exist anywhere else. The beauty of its design lies in its flexibility. For example, the location at the back is set up with four slots but simply putting in a divider will create eight locations across the top row. This flexibility makes it is ideal for dealing with peaks.”

Bito has also supplied George with 36 bespoke packaging desks, which are based on existing BITO products. “The desk has been designed to be as ergonomically efficient as possible for the colleagues when working – everything is right in front of them and easily accessible,” says Richard.

He concludes: “The finished Smart Slide system far exceeds my expectations. When we set out on this project there was a lot of nervousness about getting it right because the shelving was new – both to us and to BITO. But we have enjoyed a very positive experience working with BITO because they understand the importance of customer relationship. They have gone out of their way to devise this bespoke solution and provide a prototype that we could try out, which has resulted in the right solution that fits our needs precisely and one that we are very pleased with.”

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