When it came to choosing a company with the technical ability, project management skills and design capabilities to turn an existing facility into a hi-tech central distribution centre, Peacocks one of Britain's leading fashion chains, turned to the Agility Group. A leading UK provider of integrated storage solutions, the Agility Group has completed the fit-out of the distribution centre to provide Peacocks with a well-designed and efficient infrastructure to respond quickly to customer demand.
Described as Britain's hottest value fashion chain, Peacocks has recently completed a £15 million expansion programme by opening 30 new stores. To accommodate garments for the developing business, Peacocks acquired the facility at Parc Nantgarw, near Cardiff.
“We went out to tender looking for a company that could not only provide us with a competitive price but also produce innovative designs, fast response times, attention to detail and bring in the project on time and on budget”, says Laurie Hynds, Logistics Director at Peacocks. “The Agility Group fulfilled all these criteria.”
The Agility Group is a consortium of companies, which uses its members experience and expertise to provide customers with a holistic approach to storage and handling solutions. Agility Group members HiLo-PSS, the UK's leading provider of storage structures, garment identification company, Polymark and overhead handling and conveyor system supplier, P.E.P, undertook the installation at Peacock's new facility.
HiLo-PSS design team prepared detailed CAD drawings to maximise the space available and provide Peacocks with a streamlined system to cater for approximately 50,000 garments being received and despatched each day. The designs included the installation of a two-tier mezzanine and a hanging garment conveyor and sortation system supplied by Polymark and PEP.
The hanging garment storage occupies a floor area of approximately 2,700 m2 and has three levels of storage, giving a total of 8,100 m2. The adjacent mezzanine structure consists of a ground floor and first floor (on which the intake buffer and sorter are located) and has been installed so that the second floor can be decked in the future. The mezzanine structure occupies a floor area off approximately 2030m2 giving a total area of approximately 4060m2 and with the option of extending by a further 2030m2 if later required.
Due to the unevenness and load capacity of the floor slab HiLo-PSS provided a unique solution for the design of the mezzanine structure. By installing a false floor, with spreader beams under the columns to spread the load, HiLo-PSS was able to provide a level surface on which to erect the structure.
Garments are uploaded at the receiving bay onto a manual push rail system and into a pre-receiving buffer. Here they are manually sorted for the required hanging garment storage zones. A separation hanger, containing an RF tag, which corresponds to the relevant floor level and zone, is attached to the front of each batch of garments. The batch is then fed into a ladder conveyor, which transfers the garments to the designed zone where they are collected and stored by operators.
Picked garments are fed into the ladder conveyor, which transfers them to the first floor level of the mezzanine for sorting prior to dispatch. The automatic sorter has 100 destination lanes, which can be allocated by the operator to any store and changed as and when necessary. On entry to the sorter, the bar code label is scanned automatically to identify the store and destination lane. When garments are ready to be dispatched they are transferred down to the ground floor dispatch buffer to await loading.
“HiLo-PSS has been working with Peacocks for many years”, said David Munn, Technical Director for HiLo-PSS. “By combining our expertise in innovative multi-level storage solutions with other Agility Group members we have provided Peacocks with a hi-tech facility that can grow with the company's further expansion”.
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