Our in-depth analysis involves a complete assessment of operational data using our in-house machine learning system ‘ELSA’

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Our in-depth analysis involves a complete assessment of operational data using our in-house machine learning system ‘ELSA’

SEC Storage Improves Efficiency With Pick & Pack Mezzanine at Portmeirion

SEC Storage has recently completed the installation of a pick & pack and storage solution within a bespoke, insulated mezzanine floor for leading ceramics manufacturer Portmeirion.

With their e-Commerce sales expanding significantly during the recent pandemic, Portmeirion were looking to increase their ability to handle their rapidly growing E-commerce sales channel within their existing warehouse facility to meet their growth and customer service objectives. It was this necessity for efficient use of their existing space that brought them to SEC Storage.

SEC collaborated with the client to assess all aspects of their operations, carrying out in-depth data analysis of their order processing, SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) and operational data. From this detailed analysis, SEC could define rapid and slow moving products and devise a comprehensive strategy for the operational changes that would manage order processing and throughput more efficiently.

Harry Watts, managing director at SEC Storage commented, “Our in-depth analysis involves a complete assessment of operational data using our in-house machine learning system ‘ELSA’ which allows us to demonstrate to our customers the optimal solution based on efficiency gains and return on investment.

“In essence, efficiency comes through changes in operational practice, with ELSA guiding pick face locations and SKU allocations, enabled by the systems delivered, and for Portmeirion, we concluded that relocating the e-Commerce order processing element with fast moving goods to a new mezzanine floor would be the most efficient use of their existing space.”

In addition to providing a dedicated area for this growing part of the business, creating the new mezzanine would offer a significant increase in order processing capabilities by doubling the number of pick & pack stations within the overall warehouse facility and also providing additional SKU capacity within their existing Automated Storage & Retrieval System following the relocation of priority e-Commerce stock items.

Mezzanine Design

Having agreed that a mezzanine would be the optimal solution, the key challenge for the SEC design team was that the position of the new structure would create an area where the temperature would be uncomfortably high, particularly in the summer months. To overcome this and ensure staff could work efficiently with a consistent, ambient temperature, SEC’s design team worked with sister company SEC Interiors and its Cleanroom team with specialist knowledge on insulated and temperature-controlled environments.

Through this combined expertise, SEC provided a bespoke design for a fully insulated, fire-rated mezzanine structure complete with suspended ceiling fascia and column casings which would be constructed from insulated panels and include air conditioning to ensure a comfortable, temperature-controlled pick and pack zone would be maintained for staff.

Gary Kirk, Sales Director at SEC Storage, commented, “It was a complex design as the solution not only had to enable an efficient storage and pick & pack operation but also manage the welfare of the staff working in what could have been an extremely warm environment. With the installation of insulated panels and an efficient air conditioning system, the ambient temperature ensures staff can work productively, all year round.”

Installation Challenges

The installation presented additional operational challenges for the SEC Storage team as the mezzanine would be situated directly above the existing pick and pack stations on the ground floor. This meant that the construction of the mezzanine would have to be conducted outside of normal working hours to ensure that day-to-day operations could continue with minimal disruption.

Tom Bratherton, Head of Logistics was managing the installation and commented, “The location of the proposed mezzanine directly above an active packing area meant we had to do our best to accommodate the installation team by removing four of our pick and pack stations temporarily overnight and at weekends, to allow the safe install of the mezzanine structure. At every point of this project the SEC team were outstanding in their communication of the process, providing an accurate timeframe for each stage and what potential impact that could have on our day-to-day operations.”

Pick & Pack Storage Solution

For the order processing and storage required for their growing number of e-Commerce customers, SEC designed and installed a range of efficient storage equipment within the enclosed mezzanine including carton-live and static shelving aligned to the SKU order processing data, to provide an efficient pick and pack area. Throughput within this area is further enhanced by goods arriving in totes lifted on to the mezzanine via an integrated box lifter and conveyer system keeping the process fast and efficient. Additionally SEC installed longspan shelving aisles to act as a holding area for items stored in totes ready for staff to pick and pack as required for multiple SKU orders.

From either the carton-live or longspan shelving, the picker removes each order item from the tote ready to collate, pack and send to dispatch. Larger units of multiple SKUs are loaded onto a pallet, shrink-wrapped and then lowered to the ground floor via a pallet gate, ready for dispatch. The empty totes are then returned to the ground floor via the box lifter ready to be replenished for the mezzanine or used elsewhere within the warehouse.


Portmeirion Feedback

The analysis SEC conducted and subsequent design solution demonstrated a clear path to improved operational efficiencies across the warehouse with intelligent use of the existing space. The new pick & pack mezzanine area will enable us to expand our e-Commerce offering, whilst meeting customer service objectives with improved delivery times.

“This project came at a critical growth point for Portmeirion and the resulting efficiency gains are a testament to SEC’s analytics and intelligent warehouse design expertise combined with excellent project management and a professional installation team. What could have been an extremely difficult and stressful build process was alleviated by SEC’s efficiency, flexibility and communication. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with SEC again and very much hope we will have the opportunity in the near future.”

Tom Bratherton, Head of Logistics

Steve Watts

Harry Watts

Paul Booth

Vanessa Beck

Victor Onyebucchi

Lindy Barton

The people that made this possible

At SEC we work together to deliver the best possible result for you, our customer.

Our dedicated and experienced sales teams, data analysts, designers, project managers and customer service staff communicate and collaborate to design and install the best possible system for your needs. Our staff are your project’s most valuable asset, take time to meet some of them here.

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IET Excellence and Innovation Awards 2023

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