Customer demand is changing the way products are delivered. More and more companies today are offering 24/7 deliveries and this is putting greater strain on the factories that have to manage these processes. Flexibility is key here as instead of continuing to rely on rigid logistics concepts, businesses are turning to flexible systems to effectively manage their internal warehouse.

One such company that has invested in a more efficient infrastructure is Hydravalve, a UK company that stores and delivers thousands of products across the UK. With a warehouse of over 1,000 square meters, storage space needed to be optimised alongside its warehouse processes for maximum efficiency.

Machinery and spare parts are being shipped daily and the focus was on a comprehensive customer service and fast delivery of orders. A flexible operation was focused around the use of automated storage and retrieval systems that would be characterised by an ability to adapt to the current and any future developments. Hydravalve also had a requirement to link its Sage accounting software directly to the systems, which sped up its ordering processes and the company has been able to locate stock quickly, delivering a seamless operation.

High picking speed and precision

Growth is an essential part of any business and no less for Hydravalve, as its inventory grew to more than two million items as a result of additions to its product range. This growth meant there was an urgent need to increase capacity and process orders even more quickly. The company’s investment in automated storage and retrieval systems meant that it had an efficient solution in place that delivered high picking speed and precision.

Hydravalve has increased its capacity by 45 per cent through the utilisation of five Kardex Remstar Shuttle XP high-density storage units, while also cutting the size of the storage unit footprint required by 80 per cent.

The company has significantly cut retrieval times, too; whilst orders were previously worked through manually, the effective interaction between the automated storage units and the Sage ERP system has now created a perfectly integrated retrieval process. The Sage software assigns clear ID numbers to items, which the system uses to automatically identify and then begins the automated retrieval process. This method has halved batch picking times, whilst increasing picking accuracy to over 99 per cent.

Eddie Newham, managing director of Hydravalve, talks about the solution: “We are continually seeking to improve efficiencies and with the addition of new products for our next catalogue we will be offering our customers a wider range of products of the highest quality at the lowest price possible.”

Successful intralogistics solutions need to be flexible, proactive and fit the needs of the changing B2B customer. Automated storage and retrieval systems are becoming the way forward for increased productivity and greater operational processes.

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