Richard Edberg, Project Manager for the Nordic region at DHL Supply Chain, is an expert when it comes to designing and redesigning warehouses. He recently worked on a project to move a DHL customer internally and integrate their products into a denser solution. The products were originally on shelves, leaving most of the height of the building untapped. This is how Richard approached the project.
Setting clear goals
For Richard, setting clear goals for what you want to accomplish is a critical first step. To what purpose do you want to redesign the warehouse, what would you like to achieve with the changes you make?
- Is optimising the use of the available space the main goal?
- Do you mainly want to improve productivity?
Different goals require different solutions.
- Optimising the use of space is usually priority number one when Storeganizer enters into the picture. The traditional shelving system at DHL left the space between the shelving and the roof unoccupied. In an effort to condense storage and eliminate this empty space, the new project aimed to integrate the shelving into racks. As Storeganizer is designed to be suspended in existing racks, on ground level, pallets can still be used all over the remaining rack space, leveraging the warehouse space to a fuller extent by condensing storage.
- In addition, implementing a Storeganizer solution increases productivity. Its columns of industrial textile can go up to four rows deep. This leaves the option to allocate fast-moving products to the front rows and move the shelf-warmers to the back, depending on the outbound flow.
Space optimisation, as well as productivity improvement, needs to go hand in hand with cost-effectiveness. Any solution that offers the perfect occupation of space, but might negatively impact productivity, is not worth implementing. The balance between these factors influences the return on investment (ROI) and, in contract logistics, minimising costs remains key.
In the layout phase of a warehouse, import and export data collection and analysis tools come in handy. However:
- Full access to the data is not always available.
- Some customers are still using outdated non-integrated systems, or have not yet digitised their warehouse system.
But even in cases where data is available, the quality often remains poor. Consequently, obtaining high-quality data is often the biggest challenge. Paying a physical visit to the warehouse to check on the number of locations needed is a common occurrence.
The picking strategy is based on the outbound frequency: the most frequently needed product categories will be allotted to the locations closest to the outbound zone.
The allocation of product categories to a specific storage solution is based on their volume and size.
Where Storeganizer comes in
Richard believes Storeganizer is a particularly interesting solution to house smaller, lightweight items, especially because it offers the possibility to capitalise on depth. He would move just about anything that is stored on shelves to Storeganizer.
Thanks to the Storeganizer concept, products can be prioritised according to how fast they move. Fast-moving SKUs can be put in the front rows for easy picking, moving over to the next layer of columns according to their decrease in picking frequency.
In addition, the racking space on top of the solution can be used for bulk and additional pallet storage.
The Storeganizer solution is also very flexible. Different pocket sizes are available so each bay can be customised according to specific needs.
DHL discovered Storeganizer a few years ago. Since then, the contract logistics business has developed at a fast pace. In function of productivity, a lot of warehouses tend towards automated solutions, but these represent a considerable investment. Richard believes that Storeganizer’s cost-effectiveness is significantly higher, facilitating a much faster ROI. Consequently, more and more DHL customers are being converted to Storeganizer.