Attention to detail

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Mercado, part of the Headlam Group, is one of the largest suppliers of floor coverings in Europe. The company has a new 14,900sq m regional distribution centre (RDC) built from a greenfield site and which is one of Headlam’s largest units in the UK. Mercado says the facility is “a showcase for the industry”.

To provide the complex storage solution for the state-of-the-art northern distribution centre, Mercado turned to Linpac Storage Systems. The solution put forward included racking for more than 40,000 carpets and vinyls, a specifically designed structural mezzanine over an automatic sortation system and 10m high narrow aisle racking for tiles, timber flooring, adhesives and screed.

Keith Yates, managing director of Mercado, was responsible for selecting the storage system: “Linpac worked closely with us to develop a basic scheme and then helped us with the correct mix of storage product and rack specification. Flexibility to change has been important too. With a project of this size which takes a number of years to execute there are inevitable changes both to the project itself and our business. In fact, we were implementing modifications right up to the point of build and Linpac couldn’t have been more helpful.”

He continues: “The group has specified Linpac Storage Systems for other major projects and they have never let us down. They know our business well and are experienced in the special problems that need to be overcome with products that require 3.5m boom handling equipment and high movement frequency.”

Minimal repair costs

In such a busy warehouse environment occasional damage to the carpet and vinyl racking is inevitable and so the carpet racking has been designed with a low level splice so that repair costs are kept to a minimum. Within the racking, there are special drive-through bays to cut back the time taken for the Linde forklift trucks to collect carpets from the racking and deliver them to the cutting tables.

Situated near the despatch bays Mercado’s innovation automatic sortation system, supplied by Dutch company ETF, sorts all of the cut carpets and vinyls into the correct bays for despatch. To maximise the amount of carpet storage, Linpac specially designed a structural steel mezzanine floor over the sortation system. As a result there are an extra 1,000 carpets in the distribution centre which are stored in the racking on the mezzanine.

Mercado’s Yates concludes: “At our busiest time we process up to 3,000 orders a day in this distribution centre alone and therefore it is vital that our warehousing operation is very efficient. We could have bought a less expensive storage solution but Linpac Storage System’s attention to detail has been key in ensuring our warehouse runs as efficiently as it does.” n

Linpac Storage Systems is one of several storage solutions specialists exhibiting at Logistics Link North, which is being held on September 22 and 23 at Doncaster Racecourse, Leger Way, Doncaster. For further information contact Richard Milbourn on 020 8661 1160 or visit

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