Link 51 install an integrated storage solution for iconic footwear brand Dr. Martens, incorporating Pallet Racking and Shelving.
Having occupied a 43,000 sq ft distribution warehouse for 16 years and previously used Link 51 on several occasions to help increase overall capacity, Dr Martens, trading under the Airwair International brand, recently moved into their new 104,000 sq ft distribution centre near Northampton.
As the build progressed and on account of the good relationship with Link 51, early discussions on racking types, design and layout options took place, to ensure that the area available was fully utilised. Despite there being no formal tender process, Dr Martens consulted with a number of warehouse racking specialists and MHE suppliers in order to compare products, service delivery and cost. Link 51 eventually secured the contract due to their understanding of the brief, flexibility and competitive rates.
Key to the racking installation was whether to opt for a wide aisle or narrow aisle solution. With pros and cons for both, Dr Martens’ warehouse management team chose a wide aisle configuration to enable a faster pick process for their wholesale and retail/online operations. Provision was made for 6,700 pallet locations, 1200 ground location spaces of which 1000 had beams and mesh decks located for ground location picking.
In addition to the pallet racking, the completed layout of the warehouse included two mezzanine floors for clothing stock and archive material, a packing area and an allocated space at the rear of the warehouse for MHE charging. An in-rack sprinkler system was also factored-in.
For the main racking area Link 51 installed 42 runs of wide aisle pallet racking, which provided direct access to every pallet. Space between each run was increased marginally to accommodate the in-rack sprinkler system and provide a 50mm pallet overhang if required.
During the design process, Link 51 and Airwair made modifications to the racking, which included:
- Increasing the beam height in the finished goods area to 2.2m to facilitate a quick and easy load onto outbound transport without the need to re-configure pallets. This simple adjustment saves time in the pick process and costs for transport were maximised where possible.
- In a designated part of the higher level racking, Link 51 installed mesh grills across beams in a number of bays to support Dr Martens’ limited use of plastic pallets.
- Dividers to separate previous seasons/slower moving stock at the rear of the Distribution Centre. Previously palletised centrally, stored in high bays and sorted on demand – a time consuming and labour intensive process.
On the mezzanine floor allocated for clothing and accessories, Link 51 designed the space utilisation combining Longspan shelving from Dr Martens’ previous warehouse. To complete the layout, new Longspan shelving was also provided that had been re-sized to accommodate Dr Martens’ specific tote boxes. In keeping with insurance regulations, the height of the Longspan was restricted, but the number of shelves were maximised to accommodate stock.
Link 51 also supplied Euro shelving on the mezzanine for ‘returns’ from Dr Martens’ retail stores. This shelving, which was designed to suit the space allocated, was configured to provide multiple pick locations for a variety of SKUs.
“Link 51 are a very good company to deal with. The levels of communication throughout the project were excellent, as was the support and assistance we received in dealing with the complexities of the build. The fact that they are a UK company helps enormously; I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend their services in the future.” – Mark Ashton, UK Warehouse Manager, Dr Martens
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