Barry Searcy (Field Service Controller) reminisces on his favourite memories of working with Logistex

In the second of our special edition anniversary blog posts by our longest serving employees, Barry Searcy, who joined the company in 1985, shares his fondest memories of his career so far:

One of my nicest memories of being with the company was travelling out to Holland with Chris Stevenson to install 2 Condor machines in Eindhoven in 1994. When we were removing the tarpaulins from the machines on the back of the lorry trailer, a huge sign with ‘HAPPY 40TH BARRY’ was revealed. This had been placed there by the guys who were loading back at the factory in Market Harborough, in recognition of my 40th birthday.

Working for Logistex has brought me into contact with lots of interesting and friendly colleagues and customers, and over the years this has built into many long term friendships. I have traveled all over the UK and parts of Europe and found the work both varying and interesting.

My first job on the road as a Field Service Engineer, when I joined Cleco in 1985 was a visit to John Lewis in Sheffield, an overnight stop in Sandbach and then a visit to Banbury Tea warehouse in Crewe. I was working and travelling with Neil Chambers on both jobs and I am still working with Neil after all these years.

Happy Anniversary from Pladis

Mike Hellier, Logistics Project Development Manager at our most longstanding partner, Pladis, wishes Logistex a happy 80th anniversary!

“Our many years in successful partnership with Logistex are testament to their good attitude, high performance and excellent quality. Logistex continues to deliver excellent service within a highly demanding and pressurised environment. The team at Logistex continues to demonstrate organisational and personal excellence and I am confident that our partnership will continue for another 25 years. Happy Anniversary Logistex – your people have made you a success”

 

Happy Anniversary Logistex!

Logistex is celebrating its 80th anniversary this month (read the story of our journey here) and so, to mark the occasion, over the coming weeks we will be posting a few snippets written by our longest serving employees, recalling their favourite memories with the company, how times have changed, and why they have stayed with Logistex for so long!

First up, Dave Acton, Director – Engineering Support Services, who has been with the company for 20 years, tells us what he likes most about the culture of Logistex:

Having been with Logistex since the Cleco days I have seen lot of change over the years. The one thing that has been consistent over the years is the “we are one“attitude of the people in the company.  We are fortunate in that we work in an exciting and interesting sector that is without a doubt challenging at times.  When the chips are down the company really pulls together, many people willingly support each other and that makes such a difference.  So I suppose the reason I am still here is the people involved and as I see it, it’s true “we are one”.

80 years of technical innovation

Logistex Celebrates 80 Years

The story behind Logistex’s growth and success

Logistex can trace its roots back to 1937 when it started as Cleco, a name synonymous with advanced and sophisticated automated systems throughout the latter part of the 20th century. The name Cleco will be familiar to many, for years it was one of the strongest and most respected companies in the industry, designing and manufacturing materials handling products, including VNA automated stacker cranes, with which the company was most associated. Even then, the company supplied integrated solutions based on bought in products from other materials handling manufacturers as well as in-house equipment, so the business model we use today is one that has always been a part of the company’s culture.

As the world of IT and software systems became more advanced,  Cleco merged with software house Io Systems, with whom the company had a long-term partnership, in the 1990s to provide the additional expertise needed to support its own increasingly sophisticated systems. This commitment to specialist in-house IT expertise remains part of the company’s DNA to this day.

Following a management buyout from former owners Melrose PLC, Logistex is now a fully independent business, managed by the team which turned the business round into a financially robust, profitable and successful organisation. The company head office is located in Kettering, Northamptonshire, and employs over 250 people throughout the country.

After dusting off an old Cleco finance ledger, we can see there have been many highs, and some lows, along the journey. 1944 saw costs for damage as a result of the war, whilst 1969 saw an allowance for depreciation of the company aeroplane! The company cars looked a lot different back then too; in the swinging 60s Logistex employees were driving around in the likes of a Ford Zodiac, Humber Hawk, Hillman Minx and an electric van.

Open Cleco finance ledger

Today, Logistex continue to design and deliver intelligent, productive and cost effective warehouse solutions, helping hundreds of clients in a variety of sectors to raise productivity, improve service and cut costs. We’ve made lots of friends along the way too. Mike Hellier, Logistics Product Development Manager at our most longstanding partner, Pladis, says; “Our many years in successful partnership with Logistex are testament to their good attitude, high performance and excellent quality. Logistex continues to deliver excellent service within a highly demanding and pressurised environment. The team at Logistex continues to demonstrate organisational and personal excellence and I am confident that our partnership will continue for another 25 years. Happy Birthday Logistex – your people have made you a success.”

Some of our most recent successes include the automation of the Superdrug NDC which saw a 48% increase in throughput in the first year using 60% less operational cost, and a revolutionary warehousing and dispensing hub for Pharmacy2U which has improved their clinical accuracy to an industry leading 99.98%.

Jerry Woodhouse, Managing Director at Logistex says; “Logistex takes great pride in celebrating its 80th anniversary.  From humble beginnings as a manufacturer of electrical components, Logistex has developed into one of the UK’s leading providers of automated material handling systems, serving the needs of warehouse operators nationwide. The passion and innovation exhibited in the early days of the company continues today helping fuel our continued success. But it is the support of our customers, employees and suppliers that is most important and for which I express my gratitude”.

timeline of Logistex projects

Where you’ll find us in 2018

That’s a wrap! Logistex has just finished its exhibition and event schedule for 2017. Don’t worry though – we’ve already got some exciting events booked in for next year.

Not sure of your stock levels? Want to improve pick accuracy? Need to manage peaks of activity but don’t want to pay even more when you bring in temporary staff? Pop along to our stand at one of the following exhibitions to discuss your challenges and see Logistex’s Reflex Warehouse Management Software in action.

IntraLogistex – 27th and 28th February 2018 – Ricoh Arena, Coventry – Stand 142

eDelivery Expo – 21st and 22nd March 2018 – The NEC, Birmingham – Stand F61

If you’d like to arrange a meeting with us at one of these exhibitions please contact Lauren.King@Logistex.com

Check back for info on other upcoming events and opportunities to meet the Logistex team to understand how you can improve the performance of your warehouse through WMS, automation and engineering support services.

Your Questions Answered!

Here, we answer the most frequently asked questions we get about our LWS Reflex Warehouse Management Software:

Q: Is the system compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7?

A: Yes the user interface runs on any standard windows PC.

Q: Is my warehouse too small for Reflex?

A: No, Reflex is ideal as an entry level system for straight forward inventory management operations

Q: Is my warehouse too big for Reflex?

A: No, Reflex easily scales up to manage any size of operation.

Q: Can I easily import the data I have from my current system?

A: Yes, with the Reflex interface highway, we can easily map data from your existing system and import.

Q: How long is the warranty period?

A: 12 months, with optional extended support cover

Q: Can I use my current RF and Barcode equipment?

A: Almost certainly yes, Reflex uses industry standard interfaces

Q: I don’t want the risk of a Big Bang change, can I move to Reflex gradually?

A: Yes, Reflex can be deployed in layers or as a subsystem.

Find out more about LWS Reflex WMS here, or if you’d like to delve a little further into the ‘whens, whys and hows’ surrounding warehouse management software, take a look at our whitepapers here.

If you’d like to request a free, no obligation demo of the software please email Enquiries@Logistex.com and quote LWSBLOG17 in the subject line.

Pharmacy2U and Logistex Win Top Prize at The Logistics Awards!

We’re thrilled that Pharmacy2U and Logistex won not one, but two awards last night at the prestigious Logistics Awards. Pharmacy2U and Logistex scooped up trophies for best ‘New Facility’ and ‘Overall Winner’ for the night. A huge congratulations to the whole team who made this groundbreaking new facility possible. You can watch a video of the evening and see the team collecting their awards here. 

You can also see a video of Pharmacy2U’s dispensing and warehouse system in action here.

Justin Saw (Logistex) and Naila Dad (Pharmacy2U) with the New Facility award

Justin Saw (Logistex) and Naila Dad (Pharmacy2U) with the New Facility award

The Golden Quarter

Darren Alden, General Manager – Engineering Support Services at Logistex, discusses the challenges of preparing for peak…

The Golden quarter, also known as ‘Peak’ is for many retailers the most important and most challenging time of the year. Many spend the first 9 months of the year just building up and preparing for this period.

So why is it such a challenge?

Stock holding

The aim of the game is to sell as many items of stock as possible, but of course when you have a sudden spike for demand, you have to ensure you have the right stock with the right sizes and colours available when the demand hits, otherwise you will be letting your customers down at a critical time which they unfortunately do not forget!

What does this actually mean? Well, for example, an average retailer’s distribution centre may hold around 5 million ‘items’ of stock on any normal day. Given that they may roughly require a further 40% stock holding for the peak period alone, they have to find space and process for a further 2 million items!

Resource

Given the above, you then need to be able to increase your staff holding by a similar % in a short space of time. Imagine taking on a few hundred extra staff that all need an induction and training on process, not just for the normal operating way but for peak challenging ways!

Equipment/Automation

To be able to cope with the ever growing demand on retailers, following the expectations of us the consumers wanting their items straight away, Automation is pretty much a necessity. But, if there is ever a time that equipment failure hurts you the most, it has to be peak! Potentially thousands of customer orders, and hundreds of staff stood around waiting for the magic green button to be pushed again to get the system back running following Engineer’s resolution.

It’s so critical that all equipment is in its prime condition ready to cope with the demands put on it through this period. Servicing and repairs, although they may cause inconvenience during other times, it’s certainly the better trade off than unexpected down time during the busiest time of the year!

Engineering

All eyes on you! Imagine the occurrence of a site stood still due to an unexpected breakdown, hundreds of eyes watching and an ever growing number of managers stood over your shoulder asking how long?!

This is a time when all that experience pays off, you have to be calm, be able to communicate under pressure whilst trying to solve the issue at hand.

A lot of the time Engineering is seen as the necessary evil, but they generally can be the unsung heroes!

Operations

If the stock holding is correct, you have the right resource in place and the Automation runs as you would hope, operations still have to conduct small miracles every day throughout and leading up to this quarter to ensure the customers’ needs are met.

I’ve only given rough estimates of figures during this blog down to my own experiences, but to finalise….

We wouldn’t have it any other way! The golden quarter, although the most challenging time for retailers, let’s not forget how magical a time it is!

So my final points would be to stock up, resource up and look after your assets, then enjoy the ride and take satisfaction in knowing you have delivered millions of smiles on Christmas day!!!

Darren Alden

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