New hub fuels fast fashion for Jane Norman

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Womenswear fashion chain Jane Norman has centralised its operations by closing three London hubs and setting up a global distribution centre to feed its 225 stores. It brought in CI Logistics to design and install the innards of the 49,000 sq ft Coventry-based site, and Quodeck – a division of CI that specialises in development of storage, hanging garment and flat pack handling systems for the fashion industry – headed the project.

The hub has been specifically designed for the fast throughput of garments and can handle up to 100,000 pieces a day. The retailer says it has the ability, if necessary, to ship all garments received into the hub one day to the store by the next day. This means that most stores have a delivery every day.

Some 42,000 sq ft of the building is dedicated to the handling, storing, picking and packing of products. The ground floor holds the fastest moving stock and services the British and Irish stores. 

A 16,000 sq ft mezzanine has been built by CI Logistics to house replenishment stock and to service the international and franchise picking operations. Jane Norman’s internet business also operates from the mezzanine. 

Once the trucks arrive at the unloading bays telescopic unloading booms extend into the vehicles from the Tectrac overhead monorail conveyor system. The trolleys that are used to transport the clothing can then be sped along the overhead rails straight from the back of the trucks into the hanging system. 

At this stage the garments are held in a hanging storage buffer area of 13 and a half lanes, with a capacity to hold 62,000 garments on trolleys. A small percentage of these items, that are not required for immediate shipment, are taken onto the mezzanine; the majority are sent to the centralised pick and pack area on the ground floor where staff can select from either hanging or boxed goods.  

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Once the picks are complete, a powered roller conveyor transports the boxes of product through a sealer and shrink wrapper then onwards to dispatch.

On the mezzanine, hanging replenishment garments are held on a two-tier garment hanging system with rack-supported walkways and safety netting.

Boxed garments and accessories are stored in a two-tier long-span shelving system, designed to allow for a further level to be built on top. The top tier of the shelving is serviced by an incline belt conveyor which brings the boxes up from the ground floor. 

Bulk storage is held in bays of pushback pallet racking where the retailer originally had static racking. This takes up half the area of the static racking yet stores 25 per cent more pallets. There is scope to extend the pushback racking, which will double the storage capacity of that area.

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Director of logistics Jonathan Jenkins says: “Right from the start CI Logistics understood the flexibility that we wanted to achieve to make our global distribution centre operate at maximum efficiency both now and in the years to come. Not only have they ensured that the facility is future proofed – we can expand either the hanging or boxed storage swiftly and economically – but also they have delivered a solution that has improved the performance of our business.”

“The reason we chose to work with CI Logistics is that it has demonstrated a thorough understanding of the needs of a fast fashion business, turning our concepts of moving and storing garments into reality without any fuss.  

“Another major benefit of working with them is that it is stress free; the price quoted was for the finished job – there were no hidden costs and, as they acted as project managers, I could concentrate on my job and not worry about what they were doing.  If there were issues, they were quick to respond, arriving on site the next day to sort them out.”  

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