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World class logistics operation gives XPart the edge in green and efficient warehousing practices

Caterpillar Inc, parent company of Caterpillar Logistics and XPart, has been named among the world’s most efficient and sustainable companies for the ninth year in a row

Parts distribution specialist XPart is cutting picking times, reducing emissions and upholding an enviable health and safety record as its parent company, Caterpillar Inc, is named among the world’s most efficient and sustainable companies for the ninth consecutive year. The manufacturing and logistics giant has been recognised in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) and retained Gold Class position in the Industrial Engineering Sector. Launched in 1999, the annual DJSI process involves a rigorous appraisal of a company’s approach to areas such as risk management, environmental policy, supplier management and occupational health and safety. In line with Caterpillar’s drive for sustainability, XPart is actively streamlining its global parts distribution operation with ongoing efficiency improvement at its Caterpillar Logistics warehouse in Desford, Leicestershire.

"With a total of 1.5m square feet of space, the Caterpillar Logistics warehouse needs to function like clockwork in order to support a productive and profitable logistics operation," comments Craig Cooper, general manager, XPart. "In our section of the warehouse we maximise efficiencies across all major processes every day – picking, packing and loading and despatch – on a per person basis. This level of analysis allows us to eliminate any issues as they arise and continually develop efficient working practices. We recently introduced a process to engage all members of staff in continuous improvement by inviting individuals to raise issues and take responsibility for identifying an effective solution."

In addition to improving operations efficiency, XPart also has a strong focus on energy efficiency and on-site safety. Light and heating is concentrated in the busiest areas of the warehouse, which are actively defined on an ongoing basis. Typically, 90 percent of the workforce is concentrated in ten percent of the warehouse space, allowing for a considerable cost saving. The company is currently trialling motion sensor lighting in an effort to further reduce its carbon footprint.

With a ‘zero landfill’ goal, effective waste filtering is also high on the list of priorities in the Caterpillar Logistics warehouse. A waste contractor rigorously filters all waste for recycling, while food packaging and plastic cups have been banned and staff have been issued with thermos flasks. Each area of the warehouse is scoured by the team responsible for that area. Scrap avoidance and obsolescence programmes are firmly in place while remanufacturing of parts such as engines and rotating electrics is proving a cost effective alternative to discarding end-of-life components.

"Our activity to cut emissions and improve energy efficiency drives an awareness and a positive attitude towards sustainable practices throughout the warehouse," explains James Casey, logistics coach, XPart. "We also have an impressive health and safety record, with no time lost due to incidents in our area for 366 days and a previous record of 502 days. Safety is second nature here, with seat belts used on all machinery and Manual Handling Equipment (MHE) checks conducted on a daily basis, together with regular risk assessments. We continually seek to improve working conditions for staff and prevent any back injuries due to heavy lifting, with thorough ergonomic analysis. We recently introduced new machinery to reduce heavy lifting in our outbound operation, which has both boosted productivity as well as improved workplace safety."

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