The Wine Society has seen productivity increase by 40 per cent since SSI Schaefer revamped its Stevenage distribution centre in Hertfordshire, with high-bay storage and a picking, packing and sortation system.
SSI Schaefer installed the high-bay pallet racking with live carton storage, shelving, integrated conveyor systems, case-picking, and single item zone-picking as well as carton shipping sortation across two levels. It also put in a waste conveyor to remove empty cartons from the building, which are subsequently compacted and recycled.
Of the society’s four warehouses, SSI Schaefer updated the two which are used for medium to fast moving products.
It reckons warehouse four has the flattest warehouse floor in Europe and the highest “very narrow aisle” racking serviced by forklift trucks in Europe. At 15.3m tall, it has over 12,000 pallet locations, across eight pallet levels inside the 20 metre high building. The VNA racking is serviced by Linde forklift trucks, which extend to the highest point of their range and can handle up to 1250 kg per pallet lift. Man-up trucks pick from levels one to six and forklift trucks bring down pallets from levels seven and eight.
Full case picking happens in warehouse two. They are put on conveyors, brought down by “lowerators” to conveyors on the ground level and merged with single item picks (in cases). The single item picks are made in one area via the live carton storage system for fastest movers and shelving for the slower movers.
All cases enter a carton sortation system with 13 lanes, two routes per lane; this means The Wine Society can pick and sort 26 van routes in one pick wave.
The Wine Society’s own van fleet does 70 per cent of all deliveries.
Peter Styne, operations manager, said: “Once we had chosen SSI Schaefer as our preferred partner on this project, we worked closely with them to develop and design the best solution for our business. We operate a fleet of dedicated delivery vans which resulted in the need for us to develop a routing sortation system. The Schaefer solution, designed to include the high bay, has proved perfect for our needs. ”
The Wine Society was founded in 1874, and the distribution centre in Stevenage has been operational since 1965 and has capacity to store over 7,000,000 bottles. Previously wine was stored at three separate locations across London, including below the London Palladium in Soho.