Tuesday 27th Sep 2016 - Logistics Manager

Flexi fulfils narrow aisle brief

The Fulfilment Store has switched to a flexible narrow aisle storage system from Flexi, creating enough additional space to allow it to remain at its current premises.

The logistics fulfilment company, which offers a range of storage, picking, packing, distribution and fulfilment systems, operates three sites across the UK totalling 150,000 sq ft.

Its clients include BP, Wrigley, Amnesty International and Phones4u and accordingly it manages more than 26,000 stock lines ranging from paper-based literature to point of sale material.

“We have the capability to store and manage an almost inexhaustible range of diverse stock and we act as our clients’ central hub – handling enquiries from clients’ staff and customers,” says TFS’s operation director Graham Beales.

“We’re not a traditional fulfilment company – we don’t sell what you might call a ‘boxed service’. Each of our clients has a set of very different requirements.”

As clients only pay for the space they occupy efficient use of storage space is critical to TFS as it means lower fulfilment costs.

Following a period of growth, the company initially considered acquiring another warehouse, but after a review of its materials handling operations it decided the best option, in fact, would be to reduce aisle widths within existing stores and to switch to a fleet of Flexi articulated narrow aisle forklifts.

The move to Flexis has allowed the company to reduce aisle widths from 3.5 to two metres. Additionally, TFS no longer needs to use a combination of reach and counterbalanced trucks which has cut the size of its forklift fleet significantly.

“Until the Flexis were introduced we operated a two truck system with a counterbalanced machine working outside and feeding a reach truck inside,” explains Beales.

“With the arrival of the Flexis we have been able to eliminate this costly and generally inefficient arrangement. The Flexi loads and unloads lorries and delivers pallets directly to the racking in a single operation. By doing so, it increases efficiency and productivity while abolishing double handling and the costs associated with running a bigger truck fleet than is necessary.”