An integrated solution from Dynamic Storage Solutions (DSS), incorporating pallet racking, steel shelving, cantilever racking and hazardous storage cabinets, ensures maximum space utilisation and efficient order picking for Technology Supplies Limited.
Established in 1987, Technology Supplies is the UK’s leading provider and installer of a comprehensive range of products and equipment to schools and colleges. Supplying everything from a box of screws to CNC plasma cutting machinery, the company is widely acknowledged as a reliable ‘one stop shop’ committed to helping its customers meet the ever-changing requirements of the Design and Technology curriculum.
To support a growing customer base, both in the UK and overseas, and a rapidly-expanding online business, Technology Supplies recently relocated its business to a purpose-built headquarters in Shrewsbury. The site comprises extensive office accommodation, a 24,000ft² warehouse, a service yard and car parking for company personnel and visitors. An initial design layout for the warehouse was completed based on the company’s existing and anticipated future storage requirements and DSS was one of several companies asked to submit proposals for racking, shelving and cabinets.
The DSS solution was designed to ensure maximum utilisation of available space, rapid order picking and sufficient capacity to allow for future expansion. At the heart of the design is an installation of 4500 linear metres of pallet racking. Providing space for 1200 pallet positions at heights up to 8.4 metres, the racking offers a maximum load capacity of 1000kg. Stacking and destacking of pallets is simplified by an electric reach truck operating in narrow aisles between the racking. Spaces have also been incorporated into the pallet racking to accommodate large, unpalletised goods that are stored directly on the floor.
Alongside the pallet racking is the small pick area which provides instant access to over 8,500 different stock items ranging from pencils to large sheet materials and metal goods. This area is supported by various storage methods including adjustable cantilever racking, galvanised shelving and special cabinets for hazardous goods.
The cantilever racking, which has been installed in three metre runs and boarded with 25mm chipboard, houses many different types of sheet material, such as card, paper, and plastic, plus long metal items including flat and angle iron, rods and cylinders. Importantly, the cantilever racking features an ingenious locking system that simplifies rapid height adjustment without the requirement for screwed bolts and special tools.
The galvanised shelving is used to store thousands of different stock items either directly onto the shelving, in divided sections that retain and separate smaller goods or within plastic bins and totes. All locations are identified by bar coded stickers that simplify order picking and ensure accurate stock control.
DSS also specified a series of lockable cabinets to store safely a range of potentially ‘hazardous’ products such as paints, adhesives and solvents. These cabinets feature mesh sides and backs to prevent the build up of fumes and perforated steel shelves to allow any spillages to drain into special drip trays within the base of each cabinet.
Located on a mezzanine level above the small pick area is extra storage space for goods, the majority of which are boxed, within additional galvanised shelving. This level also incorporates a pre-packing, kitting and light assembly facility and an area for product development. The section is served by a 2000kg capacity goods lift which is also accessible at its lower level within the main warehouse area.
The Shrewsbury warehouse receives daily deliveries from any number of the company’s 275 different suppliers and despatches orders to more than 4,500 regular customers. In excess of 3,000 orders are picked each month with 3,800 parcels and 50 pallets despatched monthly. "To meet the complex demands of our customers, our storage and order picking facilities have to be first class," says Ian Vaughan, Technology Supplies’ Director of Operations. "The main warehouse pallet racking supplied by DSS allows us to pick from both sides and ensures that we have dense storage up to heights of over eight metres. DSS also supplied high quality cantilever racking, shelving and cabinets to meet the specification and the entire installation has proved to be an excellent investment."