The Co-operative Group, the UK’s largest mutual retailer, has become one of the most recent converts to CLASS, the warehouse layout and simulation tool developed by Cirrus Logistics. Following a trial exercise that compared CLASS to its existing simulation tool. According to Chris Sollinger, Warehouse Design and Project Analyst at The Co-operative: "The graphics are a million times better than what we had before, the help function is brilliant, the modifications between projects are easy because you don’t have to change all the co-ordinates and being able to bring data in from the WMS makes a massive difference."
The Co-operative Group first became aware of CLASS when the business acquired Somerfield and, along with it, a CLASS licence. The first trial of the technology involved a presentation to the senior management team that included an animated fly-through video of a depot operation. This was so well received and understood that the logistics team decided immediately to use this element of CLASS for all future presentations of new depots to senior management.
The real breakthrough, however, came in spring of this year when Cirrus released the 12th generation of CLASS. This introduced a number of new features, key amongst which was the ability to import real warehouse activity direct from the warehouse management system. The facility meant that even faster and more accurate model building than before was now possible and that a range of simulation possibilities based on accurate and current data were now available. As a result, The Co-operative decided to use the Site Traffic Yard module of CLASS to investigate a perceived problem of traffic congestion, and a plan to alleviate it, at a centre in Newhouse, Scotland that was then under development. The next project on which The Co-operative will be using CLASS will be to investigate the case for introducing a pick by line system and to understand the resource requirements at a new CDC – a major undertaking for which Cirrus has once again provided a tailored advanced training course.
Throughout the work, the logistics services team at The Co-operative has handled the CLASS modelling and simulation itself following training by Cirrus Logistics. "It was our choice to run the projects independently," says Chris Sollinger. "Importantly, though, we found Cirrus Logistics both responsive and reliable when it came to any teething problems."
"The latest generation of CLASS is proving particularly successful for new and long term users of the tool," says Carol Chapman, CLASS Product Manager at Cirrus Logistics. "We now have more customers than ever before across Europe, Asia and Australasia and are already working on plans for further enhancements in 2011."