Leicester based storage and materials handling specialist, CI Logistics, has recently completed the installation of Quodeck garment hanging, racking and shelving into a new distribution centre for Dimensions Clothing in Long Eaton, Nottingham. The facility has the capacity to store up to 5 million garments.
Dimensions is the UK’s leading supplier of bespoke corporate clothing. The company clothes over 3 million wearers and despatches over 14 million garments every year to 100 destinations around the world.
Consolidation into the Midlands
Previously Dimensions had been running two distribution centres; one in Long Eaton and a second facility based in the north of England. It was a combination of group consolidation and the purchase of an additional company that prompted Dimensions to expand their Long Eaton facilities. With Head Office situated nearby in Castle Donington, the company now operates entirely from the Midlands.
To cope with the additional storage demand in Long Eaton, extra warehouses were acquired next door to existing facilities. New storage solutions were required in three of these large warehouses and several companies were invited to tender for this large project.
CI Logistics – a proven track record in the garment industry
Logistics Director for Dimensions, Steve Cassapi, awarded the contract to CI Logistics, a company which has a well established reputation for providing versatile, efficient and cost effective solutions to the garment and fashion industries.
"CI Logistics has a proven track record with Dimensions," explains Cassapi, "they have worked with us over the past seventeen years so we have already experienced the quality and continuity of their Quodeck products. For this project, their tender was competitively priced and, in addition, they offered us a flexible finance deal.
"After sales service is also extremely important to us and, because the staff at CI Logistics are accessible, their standard of service is very good."
A distribution centre designed to store 5 million garments
With a capacity to store up to 5 million garments, the Dimensions facility consists of four large warehouses with a combined footprint of 275,000 sq ft, plus an extra 125,000 sq ft of mezzanine flooring. Two of the warehouses, E and F are receipt, quality control and bulk storage facilities and the other two, B and C, contain pick, pack and despatch operations.
Longspan shelving supports bulk garment hanging
As garments arrive at the Goods In area of warehouse B they are swiftly unloaded from lorries using a telescopic boom. The garments are then transported into the hanging storage area by Quodeck’s Slictrac elevator – a fast and efficient powered overhead rail method of taking garments to an upper floor which minimises handling. The clothing is then moved into bulk storage by a manual Slictrac overhead rail system.
On the ground floor of this warehouse CI Logistics has installed a longspan pick face shelving system with open steel mesh shelves and dividers for cartons. The longspan shelving supports the upper floor which is devoted to bulk garment storage for 200,000 items. The garments are stored three levels high in a Quodeck Hook-In garment structure.
CI Logistics has also erected a mezzanine floor, fire enclosed staircases and suspended ceilings in warehouse B as well as supplying collapsible stillages and packing benches.
An ingenious solution to level the floor
The challenge for CI Logistics in bulk storage warehouse E was to convert existing pallet racking from three different suppliers into a two tier rack supported shelving system with integral walkways. As the pallet racking had uprights of three differing beam pitches, an ingenious solution was required to make the upper floor level – the key to this solution was to use three different depths of floor girders to support the top tier.
There are two large blocks of shelving joined by a mezzanine floor which is at the same height as the upper floor walkways. All of the installation work was carried out whilst Dimensions maintained the day to day operations of this warehouse.
In warehouse E there are now 70,848 carton positions and each carton contains approximately 30 garments, a storage provision for over 2 million garments.
Garment hanging 6m high
To utilise the height of warehouse F and increase the density of hanging garments stored, CI Logistics designed an unusual 6m high solution. Used for the long-term bulk storage of hanging garments, manual picking from the upper levels of this system is carried out in a novel way. To access the items of clothing the operator uses a scissor lift, this allows the aisles to be narrow thus increasing the number of garments stored.
Palletised boxes of garments are also stored in this warehouse in adjustable pallet racking. Built up to a height of five levels, the racking system maximises the elevation of this bulk storage warehouse.
A strong working partnership
Cassapi concludes, "CI Logistics had to work to a very tight time schedule which meant that they were constructing our new garment storage systems into busy working environments. To enable them to do their job there had to be internal working to free up space and racking; this meant that the success of the operation was dependent on a strong working partnership."
Now that the impressive distribution centre is finished, the Dimensions operation routinely despatches over 350,000 garments a week, dominating the ‘clothing for people at work’ sector of the industry.