NuStore for NuTool
Nutool has been in business for over twenty years. The company manufactures and imports power tools, hand tools and associated products from a variety of worldwide locations. The products fall into two categories – own branded for many of the large DIY retailers and Nutool brand, which is sold through a nationwide network of independent retailers. Nutool expects its turnover to grow to in the region of £50 million pounds in the current financial year.
Due to its continuing success, Nutool has recently moved to a new, purpose-built £3.5 million Head Office and Distribution Centre. Located at the prestigious Redhouse Interchange development, adjacent to the A1M motorway, on the outskirts of Doncaster, the new building includes a 50,000 sq. ft warehouse.
The warehouse is divided into two distinct areas, designed to serve the differing needs of the two types of customer. Immediately behind the six loading bays, there is a block of drive-in racking, arranged into nineteen bays with five levels of five deep storage. This gives 475 pallet locations.
Neal Roberts, Nutool’s Operations Director, explains. “80% of the products that come into the warehouse are in and out within one day. We wanted to be able to deal with these pallets, without them going into the main warehouse. The drive-in racking is an excellent solution, as it gives us the storage space we require in the smallest possible footprint.”
In the main body of the warehouse, the racking is laid out in a wide aisle scheme with double deep storage. There are five operating aisles and 10 runs of racking. The end aisle is dedicated to order picking and is set up as a carton live storage area, providing ground level picking locations for 1150 different items. Cartons, are loaded onto inclined lanes of gravity rollers, mounted on standard pallet racking framework. When a load, or empty container, is taken from the picking face, the next one rolls into position automatically. Replenishment stock is loaded from the back of the lane, which means that pickers can work at the picking face unhindered by replenishment operations. Operators are protected as the storage levels above the picking face are fitted with Troax anti-collapse fencing. The pallets stored in the remainder of the racking provide buffer stock for the live storage. Nutool’s Warehouse Management System ensures that the buffer stock is rotated on a first in first out basis.
When Nutool were considering the racking for the new site, four companies were invited to quote. Neal Roberts explains why Redirack won the business. “Undoubtedly, the Redirack product has some excellent features, such as the sacrificial leg. What impressed me the most, however, was their willingness to listen and develop a solution that best met both current and future business requirements. Together, we have developed a commercial solution that should support Nutool’s planned development over the next three to five years. As a consequence, they outdesigned the other companies. For example, we save approximately four man hours on every trailer we unload compared to our old system. With up to twenty trailers a day to unload, that represents a huge improvement in operating efficiency. Such long-term productivity gains will always offset initial cash input”
With the forecasted growth in Nutool’s business, Neal Roberts already has plans in place to extend the warehouse. “ We are extremely happy with our new storage system and I am already discussing with Redirack how to make best use of the extra space.” He says.