Space Saving Storage Solutions at Cardiff Audi

Industrial Storage at Cardiff AudiAutomotive manufacturers have traditionally dictated the parts storage areas within dealerships provided under Retail Standard Codes. This has predominately been shelving products forming a single or double open floor mezzanine system. However, changes have taken place within these manufacturers which has seen automated storage systems, in particular the Hnel Lean-Lift, controlling the flow of parts for major manufacturers from their suppliers in mainland Europe, to their UK warehouses and onto their UK dealerships. This allows many advantages to all parties and has driven an acceptance and an encouragement to introduce automated storage in dealerships.

Hnel products have been installed in numerous BMW, Porsche, Toyota and Audi dealerships across the UK. Indeed, the Cardiff Audi centre, which has recently opened its doors at a five acre site on the outskirts of Cardiff, has installed two Hnel Lean-Lifts, supplied by IAS Industore; the sole supplier of Hnel automated storage systems across the UK and Ireland.

The 18-car Audi showroom is one of the largest new car showrooms in Britain with more than 70 approved used Audis also available. The 7m centre also boasts a 19 bay service area and employs 80 staff.

The Hnel Lean-Lift increases the amount of available floor space by up to 80 per cent. At Cardiff Audi this allowed a reduction of space required for the parts department thereby facilitating a maximisation of showroom floor space and allowing an increased number of service bays. With a footprint of just 2.8m x 2.8m the Lean-Lift system enables the storage of thousands of components in a motorised storage unit.

Goods are loaded in trays at the ergonomically positioned access point, then, at the touch of a button, the goods are stored on the Lean-Lift's vertical axis. Retrieval of components is achieved by simply keying the location assigned to a component when it was first stored.

By saving space, allowing simple user operation and faster storage and retrieval times the Hnel Lean-Lift offers great potential to all automotive dealerships. Further benefits include a reduction in stockholding and a rapid payback period.

Parts Manager Robert Fairfield says: "We installed one Hnel Lean-Lift in our Newport operation where it quickly proved its worth. The original plan for Cardiff was to simply bring the racking from our previous premises; however, we eventually opted for two Lean-Lifts. We're extremely satisfied with the results."
Fairfield says the biggest challenge his team faced was the change in working practice required. "You have to have a good mental image of what's where, but that soon comes." says Fairfield. "The secret to getting the most from the system is to pack the shelves as effectively as possible. I'll admit I was a bit of a Doubting Thomas at first as far as their capacity went, but they are amazing." 

Click here to view a video of other automotive dealership applications

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