When furniture retailer Ikea decided to expand its distribution in the UK, it looked to Ashton in the North West to alleviate some pressure off its Warrington and Leeds stores.
The Ashton site, although perfect in location, presented the retailer with some very different logistics challenges in comparison to other IKEA sites across Europe. In terms of size, square footage and number of floors, the Ashton warehouse was unique and required the assistance of a logistics partner to meet the challenges head on.
With every operation under increasing pressure to achieve maximum efficiency, Diamond Phoenix, a market leader in materials handling success, were brought on board to deliver a custom built pallet handling system that would work within the constrictions of the Ashton building and help achieve maximum productivity for the new IKEA store.
Graham Boner, Sales Director at Diamond Phoenix comments "The key challenge was to develop a pallet handling system that could work effectively across the 3 floors, rather than just 1 or 2. With Ashton's 3-storey warehouse facility, a continuous flow of product was required from the ground floor loading area, transporting product up to and across 2 different store levels, returning empty pallets to ground level."
With this in mind, Diamond Phoenix developed a custom built pallet handling system that fitted around the constraints of the Ashton building, This included two vertical lifts and a conveyor system based on a robust modular design to help secure the benefits of economy and simplicity of installation.
Iain Foss, UK Logistics Expansion Coordinator at IKEA comments, "From initial design to installation the process took less than a year just 32 weeks build time, which was a first for any IKEA store. The quickest build time ever achieved for IKEA, around the world."
From the successful installation, the benefits and efficiencies in operation have been realised immediately upon rollout. With faster turnaround times and increased productivity, the Ashton store can deliver up to 100-250 pallets in a 6hr shift rather than the normal 9hrs, which has resulted in good labour saving benefits for the Ashton store.