The latest distribution centre for the Headlam Group has recently been completed in Bridgend. Operated by MCD Wales, it has been fitted out with bespoke racking and shelving designed, manufactured and installed by LINPAC Storage Systems.
The Headlam Group holds a unique position in the distribution of floorcoverings to the UK's independent retailers and contractors. It is the largest supplier and has maximised its presence in the market by successfully operating through 50 businesses. The success of these businesses is based on a reputation for excellent local service and the distribution centres play a major role in delivering this.
Lee Harvey, Operations Manager for MCD Wales takes up the story, “Our new Bridgend facility gives us the ability to provide a more efficient service to our customers in Wales and the south west of the UK. The storage solution has to cope with a wide variety of product from traditional carpets and carpet tiles to wood laminates and 2m rolls of vinyl flooring which have to be stored upright.
“Our parent company, the Headlam Group, has built a relationship with LINPAC over many years and therefore they know exactly how to design the optimum storage solution for our distribution centres.
“The 40,000 sq.ft. warehouse has a mix of storage solutions. The carpet racking features bridging bays built into the racking face to store stillages of underlay as well as a manual cutting station. Meanwhile the 2m vinyl rolls of floorcoverings are kept in vertical storage pens at ground level in both the carpet and VNA racking, which is primarily designed to hold the timber flooring, carpet tiles, adhesives and accessories. We also have Longspan shelving in our trade counter and Linspace shelving in the Gradus cutting room.”
The outer run of single bay VNA racking has mesh cladding on the narrow aisle side to enable longer pallet loads of timber flooring to be stored and retrieved from the wide aisle side. For stability and safety, the bays of VNA are tied at the top with steel braces.
A new improved design of bump rail which is bolted to the floor in front of the carpet racking prevents rack damage from the lift trucks. The traditional design of bump stops was susceptible to the stillages catching on them and suffering damage; with the new design this cannot happen.
The loading bay area has racking specifically designed to store product waiting to be loaded onto vehicles and is constructed around the loading bay doors to maximise space and minimise loading and unloading times.
Attention to detail is a strength that has helped LINPAC build a reputation for first class service and it is something which Headlam Group managing director, Tony Brewer, appreciates. “Providing excellent local service is absolutely vital for our business success and the efficient operation of our distribution centres is key to this,” explains Brewer.
“LINPAC has gone to great lengths to deliver the best solution. The top deck of the carpet racking structure, for example, features a specially designed and manufactured deck which is flush, with no upright posts disrupting the front face so we can store more stock up there.
“The carpet racking also has chipboard decks which are protected at the front edge with a bespoke metal lip which is both practical and pleasing to the eye. Even the chipboard itself is custom made; standard chipboard has a rough finish which is not ideal for storing carpets, so LINPAC has sourced special 'smooth' chipboard making storage and retrieval quick and snag free.
“Making life easier for the warehouse operatives is very important because it improves productivity. All the beam levels follow through along the entire length of the racking runs at every height and this, combined with different pitches for carpets and vinyls, makes it visually easier for the lift truck operators to find locations quickly.
“We are delighted with the new facility which has clearly benefited from LINPAC's knowledge and experience of our operation. The job was completed on time and in budget and the distribution centre is already adding to our reputation as the market leader for floorcoverings to the UK's independent retailers and contractors,” Tony Brewer concludes.