Leicester based LB Foster Materials Handling was chosen by schoolwear specialist, David Luke to design, manufacture and install a hanging garment system for 140,000 Eco Blazers. The innovative six tier solution with integral walkways maximises the 10,000 sq. ft. of space in David Luke’s new warehouse in Manchester.
Mark Woolgar is operations manager for David Luke, he comments, "Sales of our Eco Blazer exploded in the last six months which meant we urgently needed more storage for this particular line.
"These unique blazers feature an outside fabric which is created entirely from recycled plastic bottles; it takes just 16 bottles to make one blazer. The blazer’s popularity proved so great that we had to resort to using outside storage in order to meet demand. The three warehouses we have here at our headquarters in Manchester were already full of our other school uniform lines.
"We managed to secure a further warehouse adjacent to our facilities and approached two companies to tender for the storage contract. One of the selected companies was LB Foster. They were on our list because we’d already had experience working with them as they’d previously kitted out two of our warehouses on this site.
"For both economic and practical reasons it was important to maximise the number of Eco Blazers we could safely store in what is now known as Elm Warehouse. One company was insistent that we needed to have a full mezzanine floor which would have reduced the downstairs storage to two tiers.
"It was LB Foster’s inventive design that won them the contract. Their successful solution allows us to have six tiers of racking – three upstairs and three downstairs plus a small mezzanine floor over the checking area. This enables us to store up to 140,000 blazers."
Manufactured from LB Foster’s own proven garment racking system, Hook-In® combined with manually operated slick rail, the storage solution in David Luke’s Elm Warehouse has been configured into two levels. The upper level features integral walkways which are accessed by three strategically located staircases, as well as a new access into the existing first floor office block.
Blazers are automatically transported up and down the levels using a garment elevator which was moved by LB Foster from an existing warehouse. To ensure the safety of operatives working on the upper floor, netting covers all first floor hanging bays.
"We are going to be making an extra 80,000 blazers this year," concludes Woolgar, "now that we have LB Foster’s multi-tier garment hanging solution we can service that growth without using outside storage. We’re already storing 30,000 more blazers than we could have held last year and it’s not our busiest time yet, so it was vital that the warehouse was completed on time.
"LB Foster has been involved from the beginning and we have always come back to them. That’s the way we like to do business, building relationships with people we trust. Long term we find that that works better than chasing price or chasing the next best thing."