A wide range of racking and storage systems from the UK's leading manufacturer in the field, Link 51, is central to a new distribution facility now operational on the outskirts of Paris. The GM France Distribution Centre provides some 325,000 sq. ft. of warehouse and office space, distributing an extensive list of spare parts for the private vehicle and van after-sales market throughout the country.
The decision taken by GM France to replace an existing warehouse with this new development has allowed the organisation to apply its 'GM Template', which makes the most of both short term and long term storage with particular emphasis on the benefits of a 'lean layout'. The Link 51 storage installation works in close conjunction with the warehouse management system to meet various requirements, notably a combination of bulk storage and picking locations, within a layout that reflects fast, medium and slow moving product lines.
Keith Evans, Sales Director at Link 51, draws attention to key features of the layout and how the design has met particular requirements specified by GM France –
“The warehouse is split into five equal 'cells' at the site, each of which is divided by a central access aisle,” he says. “Some 90% of the picking activities take place to one side of the central divide with the majority of the remainder used for multi-level bulk storage. A carton live installation has also been installed in part of the picking area while two-tier Euro-shelving in one of the cells provides a large number of picking locations for very small parts.”
Because of the diversity of part numbers and sizes, an extensive choice of both bulk storage and picking location configurations has been built into the Link 51 design including, in the case of the latter for example, bins up to 1.6 metres in depth. The bulk locations can accommodate either pallets or stillages of various sizes on six levels of racking. A drive-in racking facility, featuring 11 lanes each four levels high and able to accommodate a depth of six pallets, has also been provided at the site and is primarily dedicated to the location of slower moving items.
“The two-tier Euro-shelving has allowed the full ten metre roof clearance to be used for the storage of smaller items,” continues Keith Evans. “This is accessed via three stairwells, a goods lift and a set of pallet gates and features 38 mm high density anti-slip decking. This accommodates multiple aisles that provide varying levels of storage offering a wide choice of location dimensions – both on the ground floor and the level above.”
“This is a major step forward by GM France in one of the most important market places in Europe,” comments Paul Johnson, Project Manager at GM's Luton premises, from where the work in Paris was managed. “We have a long standing relationship with Link 51 who have provided storage and racking systems for us in the past and we were delighted, therefore, to be able to appoint the organisation for this high profile and important project. We also benefited from the diversity of the company's storage systems and its installation capabilities.”
This highly intensive activity for a leading name in the automotive industry worldwide is clearly an important new facility for the company in one of its key market areas. Highly dependent upon the optimum combination of storage capability and delivery procedures, the selection and design of every element of the new warehouse is clearly central to its long-term success. “We are delighted to have been involved in the programme and believe it reflects very favourably on both our product design and installation capability – particularly as it is for one of the major organisations in this highly important industry,” concludes Keith Evans at Link 51.