SSI Schaefer has successfully doubled on-site storage capacity within the distribution centre of the UK’s largest television and internet shopping business, QVC, by designing and building a new on-site extension for the storage, order-picking, and distribution of over 25,000 QVC products consisting of house-hold goods, electrical items, jewellery and clothing.
QVC dispatches over 12 million orders per year which are shipped from one distribution centre in Knowsley Industrial Park, Liverpool, with 100% of items sent to customers within 48 hours of order placement.
In order to maintain such impressive standards of customer service, whilst accommodating future growth and on-site storage expansion, QVC wanted to double its existing storage capacity in order to prevent off site storage, which was costing money, and concentrate on restructuring its logistics processes to one site, ensuring high availability of items and quality of delivery for same day handling of goods.
To achieve this SSI Schaefer worked closely with QVC and worked in phases beginning with the installation of eight-metres high, drive-in pallet racking for the storage of over 5,000 fast moving / large volume goods, which immediately increased initial storage capacity – the first step in the installation of a 35metre high-bay rack supported on-site warehouse extension to fully accommodate bulk storage materials and bring external storage into one location, reducing transport and offsite storage costs.
The high-bay rack-clad warehouse is inclusive of mezzanine flooring, a pallet roller conveyor system, chain conveyor, automatic positioning within the shipping area and the integration of two shrink-wrapped systems, lighting, heating, power, sprinklers, ventilation, cranes and a Warehouse IT Control System designed with full pallet and case picking options.
Over 29,000 storage locations are now housed in the high-bay warehouse and is designed to perform 200 storage and 200 retrieval operations per hour – in case of future expansion, up to 300 retrieval operations can be carried out per hour.
The high-bay warehouse also necessitated the moving and reconfiguration of the returns department, due to its optimum on-site position – an opportunity seen by QVC to modernise, improve and increase efficiency within their returns handling process, introducing automation to bring the QVC returns operation up to the same level as their USA and German operations.
A returns tote conveyor system has been installed complete with components belt, curved roller conveyor, repacking tables, diverting unit with integrated belt conveyor, pop-up diverting unit and waste conveyor system.
Andy McNaughton, Operations Manager at QVC said: “The installation of the high bay has benefited QVC by giving us a greater amount of storage flexibility and helps us focus on how we can deliver a better service to our customers. Our distribution team have seen the benefit of reduced pallet put away in narrow aisle in the efficiencies gained from having only one main put down and put away point.”
He continued: “The high bay has also forced a discipline into the quality of pallet receipts to site which had created some issues when pallets were stored in standard racking systems. Schaefer worked closely with our engineering team ensuring that our design requirements were reviewed and discussed on a regular basis, often challenging some of our requirements and offering more practical alternative solutions.”
Andy concluded: “The high bay has become an integral part of our operation as we continue to introduce further automation into the distribution centre.”
Tel: 01264 386600