Employing Viscount Plastics to supply a conveyor-compatible crate solution has lowered the cost of distribution for retail giant The Warehouse.
To continuously deliver on the promise of ‘where everyone gets a bargain’ it is essential that The Warehouse supply chain always delivers product – from local and international suppliers to stores and the end customer – with maximum speed and minimum cost. Logistics has always been one of great strengths of The Warehouse, creating savings which North Island Distribution Manager Bernard Taylor says go straight to the bottom line.
Conveying the ‘non-conveyable’
The huge North Island Distribution Centre at Wiri and equally impressive South Island Distribution Centre near Christchurch house state-of-the-art technologies that include fully automated conveyor ’sortation’ systems capable of processing some 6000 items per hour.
Integral to the cost savings and speed efficiencies of these conveyor systems are two different sized plastic crates -- called ’totes’ -- developed by Viscount Plastics in collaboration with Distribution Centre management.
The wide diversity of products The Warehouse offers customers creates the necessity to split-case goods for hand picking into orders for distribution to the 85 stores throughout New Zealand. Making it possible to convey ‘non-conveyable’ stock in ‘totes’ was central to the Viscount Plastics brief. The greater the number of products able to be conveyed in the crates to ‘sortation’ and distribution assembly, the lower the cost of throughput.
Other aspects of the design brief included strength, robustness, dimensions to optimise conveyor performance and a solid base and sides for error-free reading and sorting.
Through its international network of sister companies, Viscount Plastics New Zealand was able to source made-to-measure fits to the brief. Availability of two sizes of crate effectively increased the number of conveyable items, construction was robust without being heavy or difficult to handle, and sides and base were solid. Other features include a base affording good grip on step sections of the conveyor systems and straight sides with no lips to better resist ‘totes’ riding up or locking together. Not having to tool up to manufacture ‘totes’ also translated into cost savings for The Warehouse.
Several years on Bernard Taylor has this to say& “Great service. Viscount Plastics is committed to finding the right answer rather than the answer that makes them money.
“Excellent quality. Considering each ‘tote’ averages four cycles per day, they’re still in great shape!”