A new 13,000-square-metre DC, designed and installed by SSI Schaefer, ensures customers in every corner of Australia receive the same levels of service and delivery from this privately-owned clothing empire.
SINCE establishing in 1997 Fashion Biz has grown at a remarkable pace and the opening of the Preston Distribution Centre (DC) in New South Wales marks their place as the largest wholesaler to trade in corporate and promotional clothing in Australia.
Now with showrooms and warehouses across three countries, the recent addition of the 13,000-square-metre facility allows further expansion and growth for this privately-owned clothing empire.
According to Fashion Biz general manager, Harish Raniga, the new Preston DC was built to ensure that customers in the Northern States of Australia were receiving the same turnaround and delivery service as their Southern counterparts.
Fashion Biz selected the physical site at Preston due to its location to all major arterials that are required for northern state distribution. The facility is situated near the M5, M2 and M7, allowing ideal access routes for all road deliveries in to both New South Wales and Queensland.
The site also houses a large showroom above the offices so that customers can touch, feel and see the clothing, fabrics and colour ranges.
“As New South Wales has always had the largest customer base and covers 60% of our company sales, it was critical for the future growth of this company to improve the customer satisfaction levels in this state,” Raniga said.
“We knew that it was time to build a new facility that would cater to the needs of our northern state-based clients and also allow for future expansion to the overall business.
Preston Distribution Centre
The 13,000-square-metre facility was developed in coordination with SSI Schaefer and has a conveyor rack and flow rack, a two-tier narrow aisle high rise, and a wire guidance system serviced by Crown Stock picker trucks. Each bay comprises of multi levels, all wire decked to suit sprinkler requirements and product load requirements.
The Preston DC comprises of 14 double entry racks, each with 28 bays long and 12 levels high.
The Schaefer racking has been designed to handle approximately 296,782 cartons and 216 pallets of Fashion Biz stock holdings at any given time.The racking is made up of 1,180 square metres of LS600 with raised storage area, with a finished height of 3 metres.The LS600 racking, or Long Span racking, is designed to optimise individual storage requirements and create maximum storage capacity with minimum storage space.
SSI Schaefer worked with Fashion Biz to ensure that the facility was designed to maximise the ceiling height in the DC, building full ceiling height racking to guarantee Fashion Biz had cube utilisation in all parts of the site.
“SSI Schaefer racking is unique in that it is flexible and modular and can easily adapt and expand as our business does.When our needs change so can the racking and that is a tremendous benefit to this partnership,” Raniga said.
”We were also very impressed with the capability to have the racking built to the full height of the ceiling and felt that this was also a major selling point when we selected SSI Schaefer as our warehouse partner.The racking is 12 metres in height ensuring maximum storage capabilities for the facility.”
WMS helps pick accuracy
Fashion Biz selected a Manhattan Associates Warehouse Management System as part of the Preston DC development.Though the system is still new, the staff have improved their pick and pack accuracy at a rapid rate.
Staff can now pick their own products with the new system.With the WMS system staff are told where to pick their orders and what is needed in the order.
The labelling and scanning system that is linked to the WMS ensures that there is very little paper work for the staff and picking and packing errors have dramatically reduced. On average, each picker can pick 8 orders at one time where before they could only pick one order. The new system allows staff to manage multiple discreet picking which ultimately reduces errors in the pick area.
Raniga added that the development of the Preston DC not only ensures faster delivery turnaround for the Northern States of Australia, but it also ultimately improves customer satisfaction levels.
The design maximises cube space for daily stock holdings, and ensures that any future expansion or growth can be catered for.
The racking maximises the storage capacity of the site and the new WMS system allows faster and more efficient pick accuracy for the staff.
“Overall staff production levels have dramatically improved, our customers in the Northern States are happier and we have the capabilities to expand the facility as our business grows,” said Raniga.
“Fashion Biz is extremely proud of the design of the Preston DC and we believe that it has allowed us to streamline our operations and improve customer service and support.”
SSI Schaefer 1800 724 233, www.ssi-schaefer.com.au