Schaefer doubles storage capacity for QVC

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SSI Schaefer has doubled on-site storage capacity at QVC’s national distribution centre.

The company designed and built an extension for storage, order picking and distribution of more than 25,000 products, which include house-hold goods, electrical items, jewellery and clothing.

QVC, the television and online shopping business, dispatches some 12 million orders each year from its distribution centre in Knowsley Industrial Park, Liverpool, with 100 per cent of items sent to customers within 48 hours of order placement.

To maintain this standard of customer service, while accommodating future growth and on-site storage expansion, QVC wanted to double its existing storage capacity to prevent off-site storage, which was costing the company money.

Instead it decided to concentrate on restructuring its logistics processes to one site, to help ensure availability of items and delivery for same day handling of goods.
SSI Schaefer worked closely with QVC and began by installing an eight metre high, drive-in pallet racking for the storage of over 5,000 fast moving/large volume goods.

The installation of a 35 metre high-bay rack supported the on-site warehouse extension to fully accommodate bulk storage materials and bring external storage into one location, reducing transport and off-site storage costs.

Andy McNaughton, operations manager at QVC, said: “The installation of the high bay has benefited QVC by giving us a greater amount of storage flexibility and helps us focus on how we can deliver a better service to our customers.

“Our distribution team has seen the benefit of reduced pallet put away in narrow aisle in the efficiencies gained from having only one main put down and put away point.”

The high-bay rack-clad warehouse includes a mezzanine floor, a pallet roller conveyor system, chain conveyor, automatic positioning within the shipping area and the integration of two shrink-wrapped systems, lighting, heating, power, sprinklers, ventilation, cranes and a warehouse IT control system designed with full pallet and case picking options.

Over 29,000 storage locations are now housed in the high-bay warehouse and it is designed to perform 200 storage and 200 retrieval operations per hour, which can be boosted to up to 300 retrieval operations per hour in line with expansion.

A returns tote conveyor system has also been installed complete with components belt, curved roller conveyor, repacking tables, diverting unit with integrated belt conveyor, pop-up diverting unit and waste conveyor system.

McNaughton added: “The high bay has also forced a discipline into the quality of pallet receipts to site which had created some issues when pallets were stored in standard racking systems.

“Schaefer worked closely with our engineering team ensuring that our design requirements were reviewed and discussed on a regular basis, often challenging some of our requirements and offering more practical alternative solutions.

“The high bay has become an integral part of our operation as we continue to introduce further automation into the distribution centre.”

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