Bellbird Building Supplies was established in the late 40’s and procedures have been done much the same right up until the present day. A small amount of undercover area was designated to block stacking packs of timber, from F17 hardwood to expensive lots of Oregon. But the majority of timber was stored out in the yard exposed to the elements day in day out, which was not the best practice.
Bellbird was faced with several dilemmas: how to get better utilization of the undercover storage area; how to get fast turnaround of stock yet reduce stock levels; reduce manual handling; achieve faster service to trade customers and to improve the bottom line in a low margin business.
Richard Tremewen knew none of these issues could be addressed without the right storage solution and materials handling equipment. It needed the complete co-operation of his staff. Richard says, “With such a large capital outlay being predicted, ownership of the project and the solution had to be with the people doing the job”.
Stuart McCormack, Yard Manager, knew first hand how time consuming and labour intensive the old system was on staff. Each piece of timber was manually handled many times both in storage and stock retrieval for order fulfillment. Combined with the massive turnover of stock, this meant that labour utilization under the old system was very unproductive.
Richard wanted a racking system that was totally flexible, where storage levels could be adjusted without using a spanner, where support arms were hinged in case of accidental contact and not welded. The racking had to be capable of handling maximum capacity loads to full height, give low level picking, holding stock above and also look smart to reflect the new image of the Company.
Working closely with Richard and Stuart, Laurie Quinn of MECA Racking System was able to present a solution that consisted of 12 bays x 5 high x 12 meters long of heavy duty cantilever racking. The spacing between racks was critical to maximize storage capacity so a guided aisle system was recommended as a conventional lift truck would take up too much space.
The MECA Racking System comes pre drilled to take the necessary bumper strips to accommodate all makes and types of four directional lift truck guide rollers. The MECA proposal consisted of detailed drawings and a pricing to prove the concept would work.
Richard says “The MECA Racking System was a little more expensive than other fully welded racking but this was offset because the MECA product was a well designed modular racking system that provided better options for the variety of loads being handled and would fit well into Bellbird’s future expansion plans”. MECA delivered the whole project on time and on budget.
In just six months Bellbird Building Supplies have realised gains in their operation: -
- Stock take and reorder is more accurate and less time consuming;
- Stock is more accessible;
- A gain of 55% more stock under cover with no extra building required;
- Manual handling has been reduced;
- More stock movements per hour with less hassle;
- Picking time has been reduced to 1/2 an hour for an average house lot. Local deliveries can be now made approximately one hour from placement of order.