Belron Consultancy Project Delivers Warehouse Efficiency Around the World
March 28, 2016
Belron is the world’s largest, dedicated vehicle glass repair and replacement company, and is growing. With this global growth, the requirement for new distribution centres, as well as the redevelopment of some of its existing warehouses, has become a key issue. As a result, the company recently recognised that it needed an approach to the design, or redesign, of its centres that could be more or less replicated around the world. Having researched the market for IT based solutions, Belron chose Cirrus Logistics’ Warehouse Solution Design. This combines the hands-on experience of the Cirrus team in warehouse and logistics planning with the use of CLASS, the leading warehouse design and simulation tool developed by Cirrus Logistics, and other analytic systems. The first projects involved the design of two new warehouses, one in Athens and the other in Brazil.
The issues at the two sites were, however, quite different. In Athens, the team was moving from a dysfunctional
warehouse spread across six floors to a potentially more efficient, single storey building and the key concern was
capacity today and into the future. By contrast, the new Brazilian warehouse was much bigger than the existing centre and the challenge was to facilitate the best pick sequencing from day one in order to ensure maximum efficiency across the large space.
Working Through the Process
Both projects followed certain key processes involving close teamwork between Belron and Cirrus. Beginning with project scoping, data was then collected covering current and projected sales, product profile, the mix of fast and slow movers and delivery patterns. In Athens, a significant question was the necessity, or otherwise, of adding a mezzanine floor, as well as the size of the marshalling yard outside and whether it was possible to introduce a fitting area onto the site. In Brazil, where the product range included a larger proportion of fast moving goods that was forecast to grow rapidly, the objective was to ensure that the warehouse would cope efficiently for the next three years. In the course of five days consulting in Greece and four in Brazil, a series of models were run using CLASS in particular to model the process flows and, in the case of Brazil, to identify how to maximise the use of a large and expensive labour force. In this case, work also extended to simulations of the new warehouse. Belron took the opportunity to motivate staff, currently working in the rather cramped conditions of an old facility, by showing them 3D fly-throughs of their warehouse environment to come.
The Virtual becomes Reality
The final model for the Athens site has now been implemented and experience has shown that the virtual can bear a
very close resemblance to reality and that the efficiency levels predicted by the Warehouse Solution Design exercise have been achieved by re-organising the warehouse as proposed. Other projects are now ongoing in the USA and Canada, and Cirrus has trained a team from Belron in the use of CLASS so that certain modelling work can, in future, be handled independently by the company.
“Cirrus was a very responsive project partner and helped us achieve models that are proving to be extremely close to the real thing. As a result, we are now delivering the highest levels of efficiency in our warehouse operation”
Supply Chain Manager