Leicester based materials handling specialist, CI Logistics has recently completed a conveying solution contract with Europe’s biggest calendar seller, Calendar Club, part of the Otter House Group. With the new conveyor system, Calendar Club has been able to increase output from its new distribution centre in Exeter to 100,000 calendars per day in the peak season leading up to Christmas.
Launched in 2003, Calendar Club specialises in selling calendars and related merchandise during the Christmas period from 300 temporary Calendar Club shops and mall units around the UK. The products are also available online. The company has grown steadily over the years and boasts over 2,700 calendars in its range.
Having outgrown their previous warehouse and distribution centre, Calendar Club took over Exe Box, a 129,407 sq ft building on the Marsh Barton Trading Estate in Exeter. Exe Box is now the company’s new UK headquarters and distribution centre.
Inside the building CI Logistics has designed an automated conveyor system consisting of four picking lines which index onto the main conveyor taking the products to despatch. The picking lines are 30m long roller conveyors with dunnage belts above. Operators pick the products from the live storage on either side of each of the picking lines, putting all of the empty wrapping and boxes up onto the dunnage belts which run above each conveyor.
Gee Barrett is the Warehouse Manager of Calendar Club he explains, "We had been using a conveyor in our previous warehouse, but it was only partially motorised and lacking in scope for our new operation.
"In total four companies were invited to tender for the project and CI Logistics came out on top. We had already formed a strong relationship with them from a previous installation they had completed for us. They demonstrated that they really understood what we wanted – not something standard or off the shelf, but a bespoke system. Price was important too and they were willing to give us favourable financial terms.
"In addition, we were on a really tight schedule and our programme included a bank holiday. Some suppliers were telling us that we couldn’t have what we wanted when we wanted it but CI Logistics were right on the button.
"We wanted to utilise parts of our existing conveyor system into the new solution. The team at CI Logistics gave us advice telling us where we needed extra parts and supplying them. They also supplied the new conveyor sections and the dunnage belts which have revolutionised our packaging disposal procedure.
"We installed the conveyors ourselves and then CI Logistics came in and commissioned it for us. They also designed the control systems for the entire operation which works perfectly. We can even add extra despatch points if necessary, because they have built in sufficient future proofing."
Barrett concludes "CI Logistics has worked hard to give us exactly what we want. It’s a good company with helpful staff who are always willing to offer advice when we need it."