Plastic crates improves workflow

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ABC SPAX, which manufactures a wide range of precision screws, has adopted using plastic crates from Allibert Buckhorn at its UK distribution centre located in Cannock, Staffordshire. The Distribution Picking Containers (DPC) replace cardboard boxes.

The distribution centre uses EDI systems to build and despatch the screws to major retailers nationwide including Jewsons and B&Q.

The company imports all the products from its main German factory, distributing as many as 14 million pre-packed screws a week in the UK.

Until now, the screws arriving from abroad would be unloaded, separated and emptied into cardboard boxes on racking. To allow picking, the front of the boxes would be torn off, which meant that only a few uses they would need replacing. This also created the problem of storing as many as 8,000 replacement boxes and recycling the old ones. Open boxes also meant that moving stock around by hand or by forklift was problematic.

ABC SPAX discovered the Allibert Buckhorn permanent plastic crates on visit to a warehouse run by Jewsons, which was using them to store, pick and distribute small parts. After ABC SPAX outlined its exact requirements, Allibert’s solution was the DPC.

Martyn Arrowsmith, warehouse manager of ABC SPAX, comments: “Cardboard boxes were not only easily damaged, but also created the constant headache of replacing and recycling. They also can’t be easily moved around without spilling or damaging the contents. DPCs are purposed-designed for the job, and last infinitely longer.”

He says he sliding door and multi-fold lid gives easy access to the container’s contents for order pickers while on shelving, while the DPCs can also be used for storing overflow stock on overhead racking.

ABC SPAX, which is using 700 DPCs, has noticed a major improvement in workflow. “They have significantly speeded up our picking and stock turnaround times,” Arrowsmith concludes.

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