Sunday 23rd Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Play your cards right

With more than 20,000 product lines available in any one year and a programme of range development, this presents a major challenge to the warehouse and logistics team. Hallmark has been restructuring manufacturing facilities at its Dawson Lane site in Bradford and introducing a distribution facility into the existing building.

Savoye was brought in to develop the operation from goods-in to despatch to improve order picking and fulfilment. It was asked to provide a turnkey solution, designing and supplying the entire warehouse including the order fulfilment system hardware and software and acting as principle contractor for the building fit-out.

Group operations director Richard Campbell says: “Our number one objective was to develop a long-term, mutually beneficial and open partnership with best-in-class providers. With Savoye we feel we have achieved this and are now starting to see all the hard work put in by the team come to life. I am confident the total system will go fully live in early July as planned”.

Hallmark needs to be able to fulfil 250,000 order lines a day from a product range of more than 20,000 skus. At its peak the system will be capable of processing the entire days work load in a single shift.

The process jointly developed by Savoye and Hallmark enables the batch picking of slow moving items to increase the picking intensity. Once the batch is complete it is collated in an automated tote store for sortation into the despatch cartons, and then released onto the conveyor system for the remaining zone picking operation. The net result is a system capable of providing manual pick rates of more than 500 lines per man hour.

Savoye’s system includes a carton erector, conveyor transport system, pick-to-light, a commissioner tote buffer store, RF picking devices, weigh scales and the Jivaro automated packing machine. The final dispatch documentation, showing exactly what has been picked into each carton, is automatically printed and inserted into every despatch carton prior to lidding at a rate of up to 25 cartons a minute. The Jivaro then cuts the carton down to the fill height and automatically applies a lid. In addition to all the hardware from Savoye the entire system is controlled using Savoye’s LM7 WMS.

LM7 focuses on detailed order picking: it has powerful algorithms for the execution of order picking while remaining sensitive to the operational constraints of the warehouse. The standard software is readily configured to each application using parameters that prevent destabilising the product. The ability to configure LM7 to execute the process as defined by Hallmark and Savoye results in an integrated solution designed around optimising the picking performance.

One of the strengths of LM7 is to simulate and “pre-cube” the workload prior to release to enable the warehouse manager to plan the labour requirements and ensure that the order picking works smoothly as a fully integrated system, as opposed to a series of sequential operations. Having a single control architecture where the WMS controls every detail of the warehouse, from bulk receiving to the finest details of the order picking and despatch, it is possible to ensure that no factors are overlooked by the WMS in managing the process.