Womenswear fashion chain, Jane Norman, has recently completed its 49,000 sq ft Global Distribution Centre at Coventry with the support of the Quodeck division of CI Logistics. Dedicated to the development of storage, hanging garment and flat pack handling systems for the fashion industry, the Quodeck division has been responsible for project managing the entire scheme for Jane Norman.
With 225 stores, Jane Norman is one of the UK’s most successful young fashion retailers. The decision to move to one centralised distribution hub in the Midlands was made when the company closed three warehouses situated on the same site in London.
Turning Concepts Into Reality
Jonathan Jenkins, Jane Norman’s Director of Logistics, explains, "We moved into Coventry three years ago with a ten year plan – but we are already in Year 7 because our expansion has been even faster than we expected. We have worked with CI Logistics for the last 12 years and every step we have taken in the development of this new facility we have taken with them.
"We needed a partner who could really understand our concepts and turn them into reality. The reason we chose to work with CI Logistics is that they have demonstrated a thorough understanding of the needs of a fast fashion business, turning our concepts of moving and storing garments into reality without any fuss.
"Another major benefit of working with them is that it is stress free; the price quoted was for the finished job – there were no hidden costs and, as they acted as project managers, I could concentrate on my job and not worry about what they were doing. If there were issues, they were quick to respond, arriving on site the next day to sort them out. Such commitment and service gave me real confidence and peace of mind."
The new Distribution Centre has been specifically designed for the fast throughput of garments with the capacity to handle up to 100,000 pieces a day. The company prides itself on the fact that 100% of the garments that are received into the DC one day, if called for, are for sale in a Jane Norman store the very next day. This means that most stores have a delivery every day. Accessories are also stocked in the facility together with everything that’s required for working in a retail environment.
Over 42,000 sq ft of the building is dedicated to the handling, storing, picking and packing of products. The ground floor holds the fastest moving stock and services the British and Irish stores. A 16,000 sq ft mezzanine has been built by CI Logistics to house the replenishment stock for the business and to service the international and franchise picking operations. Jane Norman’s internet business also operates from the mezzanine.
Specialist Garment Handling and Storage
From the moment garments arrive by lorry at the unloading bays, speed of movement is of the essence. Telescopic unloading booms can be extended into the vehicles from the Tectrac overhead monorail conveyor system. This means that the trolleys that are used to transport the clothing can be sped along the overhead rails straight from the back of the lorries into the hanging system.
At this stage the garments are held in a hanging storage buffer area of 13½ lanes with a capacity to hold 62,000 garments on trolleys. A small percentage of these items, that are not required for immediate shipment, are taken onto the mezzanine; the majority, however, are sent to the centralised pick and pack area on the ground floor where staff can select from either hanging or boxed goods.
Garments are sent out to the stores in ratio packs of sizes and all items are delivered flat packed. Once the picks are complete, a powered roller conveyor transports the boxes of product through a sealer and shrink wrapper then onwards to despatch.
On the mezzanine, hanging replenishment garments are held on a two tier garment hanging system with rack supported walkways and safety netting. A powered Tectrac elevator transports the garments up onto the mezzanine and a constant velocity retarder has been installed as a cost effective means of bringing the garments back down to the ground floor.
Longspan Shelving and Pushback Racking
Boxed garments and accessories are stored in a two tier longspan shelving system which has been designed to enable another level to be built on top. The top tier of the shelving is serviced by an incline belt conveyor bringing the boxes up from the ground floor.
Jane Norman’s bulk storage is held in bays of pushback pallet racking where the company originally had static racking. This takes up half the area of the static racking yet stores 25% more pallets. In the future there is the space to extend the pushback racking which will double the storage capacity of that area.
"Right from the start CI Logistics understood the flexibility that we wanted to achieve to make our Global DC operate at maximum efficiency both now and in the years to come. Not only have they ensured that the facility is future proofed – we can expand either the hanging or boxed storage swiftly and economically – but also they have delivered a solution that has improved the performance of our business," concludes Jenkins.