When corporate clothing supplier, BTC Activewear, decided to relocate a relatively small warehouse to a newly built distribution centre at Opus 9, a 33-acre regeneration scheme at Junction 9 on the M6, it turned to leading storage and materials handling supplier the Nene Group. Chosen by BTC Activewear for its innovative use of space and attention to detail, the Nene Group has fitted out the 107,000 sq.ft site into a state-of-the-art facility with storage for 10,000 pallets.
"Despite the recession, I knew that the move was the right decision and would help the business grow", said Charles Grose, Joint Managing Director of BTC Activewear. "I selected Nene as I was extremely impressed with their ‘can do’ approach and professionalism".
The new distribution centre is open from 6.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. five days a week and comprises of three separate but adjacent zones. In the centre is a bulk picking area, which accommodates the fast moving, high volume lines. Picking is carried out at ground and first floor level with items being transferred for consolidation and despatch by a conveyor that runs along the front of the racked area.
At the side of the bulk picking area is a Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) high bay-picking zone, which stores thousands of varied low volume stock lines. Picking on all nine levels within this area is undertaken using high-level pickers. Nene has designed this area for an optimum combination of high-density storage thereby maximising output to ensure orders are fulfilled quickly and accurately.
The third racked area is located on the opposite side of the high throughput central area. It comprises of three and four level floor picking with pallet storage above.
To kick off the project, Nene’s design team collaborated with BTC Activewear in creating a warehouse design that maximised the space available with beam lengths and weight loadings calculated to suit each category of product. With the design completed and agreed by BTC Activewear, work began in turning the building into a fully functional distribution centre with special emphasis placed on health and safety.
Around 5,700 beams of varying dimensions and weight have been installed as part of the storage system together with anti-collapse mesh and picking bins. Decking was installed in the picking areas where staff collect pick lists from the end of the aisle and then visit each location in sequence to retrieve the items.
"Nene is an excellent company", said Charles Grose. "Their team worked with speed and efficiency and handled the installation from start to finish with complete professionalism. Nothing was too much trouble and the company went out of its way to help and support us", he concluded.
The distribution centre has proved extremely successful with the company enjoying a large increase in business due to a next day product delivery commitment. Now with one of the largest distributions centres in the industry, BTC Activewear is able to carry massive stock levels of clothing and workwear brands, which it supplies to printers, embroiderers, promotional gift suppliers and corporate customers