Homebase plans to bypass distribution centres for Christmas

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Homebase is using AutoLogic’s MaxLoad Pro planning software as part of an initiative to deliver Christmas stock, such as trees and decorations, direct to all stores.

The system bypasses the Homebase distribution centres with delivery direct to the stores from a consolidation centre in Southern China.

Philip Mann, direct import operations manager at Homebase, said: “This initiative has grown to be both a complex but effective means of getting goods to stores for launch and bypassing our distribution centres at the very busiest time of the year for them. MaxLoad Pro has been fundamental in helping us to manage large amounts of product data for load planning and keeping to tight timescales.”

Homebase has over 300 Christmas articles in preordered quantities that have to be planned according to 13 particular range groupings keeping like items together such as trees, lights, floristry, etc. This has to be completed in three different combinations for small, medium and large stores. The different ranges have to be placed in the order that they will be located in the store and display shelving.

Christina Kelly from Homebase said: “The MaxLoad Pro step-by-step loading plans guide the consolidation centre on how to pick and pack a large number of SKUs and how to plan the operation accordingly. It gives us an accurate estimate of how many pallet boxes to purchase and an indication of the number of pallets and boxes each store requires.

“From this we can plan the best container fill and how the outbound volumes need to be staggered. It also allowed us to plan how store deliveries could be paired up and thereby produce a more cost effective delivery schedule.”

Philip Mann said: “All of these operations need to take place. If we had to wait for the actual physical builds to commence in the consolidation centre, we would encounter high risk to the shipping process and timelines may have been broken. This would affect space and equipment forecasts at origin.”

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