Darren Alden has re-joined Logistex as General Manager – Engineering Support Services to support the growth of our business. Previously at Logistex Darren was responsible for our residential sites before leaving to join Marks and Spencer to head up their engineering maintenance operation at one of their major sites. Darren was keen to return to Logistex and will bring back with him many new skills and insights gained whilst he was away.
HSS editor Simon Duddy took a trip up to the QUIZ distribution centre in Bellshill, Scotland, where he met with Distribution Centre Manager Allan More to talk about how Logistex helped QUIZ to implement a leading edge approach to logistics.
“Logistex had worked with other fast fashion groups and had knowledge of how we wanted to operate. Its WMS system was tailor-made for what we wanted to achieve. It is very important to state that we weren’t led by the system, it was vital that the technology and equipment would adapt to our model. We demand flexibility from all our solutions partners and Logistex was very forthcoming on that.
With Logistex, we created a solution so this warehouse could handle all processes all the time. We could move labour around and carry out processes simultaneously. That was one of the key drivers – we need to be able to fulfil every channel as demand requires.”
Read the full article on the Handling and Storage Solutions website.
At Logistex our site teams are always coming up with innovations that will improve the customer’s operation in some way. This could be by improving productivity, increasing efficiency, saving time, saving money – lots of different ways that make life easier for the customer.
Each year, The ESS Innovations Award recognises the very best of these innovations. The judging process for the 2016 ESS Innovations Award has taken place and the winner has been selected. The main award went to the Logistex site team at Arco, with the team at B&Q being selected as the runner up. The teams received their awards at a formal presentation which took place on Thursday 1st June 2017.
Find out more about our Engineering Support Services here.
Logistex has been announced as a finalist in the Technical Innovation category at the 2017 UKWA Awards for its project with Clipper Logistics.
The UKWA Awards recognise extraordinary achievement of individuals and companies in the logistics industry and are judged by a distinguished panel of industry leaders. The ceremony, which is attended by over 400 guests, will take place on 5th July at The Dorchester Hotel, London, with special VIP guest Gerald Ratner.
See the full list of finalists here.
We are proud that Logistex is once again included in the Northamptonshire Ltd Top 100 companies for 2017. The survey, conducted by one of the UK’s leading accountancy firms, Grant Thornton, uses the latest accounts available for the county’s largest independent firms to provide a recognised barometer of the county’s overall business performance.
Derek Kay, Business Development Director at Logistex says: “To be recognised as one of the top 100 companies in Northamptonshire is a testament to the hard work put in by the whole team at Logistex. We’re really proud to be able to provide employment for so many people across the country and this award comes with a big thank you to all our staff.”
Logistex has designed and installed a sortation solution for Clipper’s latest facility located at the M1 Junction 15 near Northampton. The sorter was designed, manufactured, installed, commissioned and operational within 6 months of contract signature – that’s about half the time normally associated with this type of system!
Clipper’s Head of Solutions said: “I am sure we will work together on future projects based on the experience we have had on this project. The support and, perhaps more importantly, the communication has been excellent. The integrity and honesty of the team at Logistex has impressed me a great deal.” Read more here.
With the introduction of the national living wage and the auto-enrolment into employer pension schemes under the NEST initiative, some businesses have raised concerns that this will impact their ability to trade profitably. Given that many manual warehouses have a large employee base, particularly with the huge increase in order picking required by the rise of eCommerce, employment costs are going to significantly increase over the next few years.
In light of what to many is likely to be a surprisingly large increase in the employee cost base, the case for automation within the warehouse may have a more rapid and consequently more attractive return on investment.
When considering the introduction of any level of mechanisation or indeed automation of warehouse processes it’s important that the solution proposed integrates holistically with the whole of the operation. It might be enough to just add a bagging machine to the despatch process to cut down on manpower requirements, but in all likelihood significantly greater savings can be made if the entire operation is reviewed. Bearing in mind the budget available an experienced solutions integrator should be able propose a solution which meets the needs of a business both now and in the future.
Automation systems in the warehouse and distribution sectors are becoming commonplace as companies compete on service and cost. With consumer expectations for speedy delivery times at an all-time high, automation delivers the benefits of being able to control, process, track and manage stock in real time. It reduces labour costs whilst increasing efficiency and accuracy. Having invested in automation to realise these benefits, a company needs to protect that investment so that the system continues to deliver over many years with minimal disruption. This is the responsibility of engineering maintenance. But what is the true cost of this maintenance? Dave Acton, General Manager for Engineering Support Services at Logistex, discusses the cost versus value of out-sourcing the maintenance of the operation.
When a company that already has its own in-house maintenance team thinks about whether outsourcing is viable, the first thing that comes into mind is usually the cost, and in particular, that it will cost more. This is actually usually not the case when the true cost of the in-house team is considered.
The costs of running the in-house team spread beyond the obvious of the team salaries. There are many costs that are hidden such as: management costs, HR costs, payroll processing costs, sick cover, paying overtime for holiday cover or temporary labour, pension costs, training and development costs, maybe additional services are being engaged because the in-house team doesn’t have the skills, the costs of processing the procurement and payment of spares. One hidden cost that is often overlooked is what it actually costs the company if production is lost. If we consider value rather than costs then the outsourced engineering support provider often delivers additional value that makes cost less relevant. It is wrong to think that by outsourcing the in-house maintenance team you are simply passing your team on to another company that will then want to make a profit on it. When you engage an outsource provider you are really engaging the support of their whole organisation. This gives you access to their more extensive capabilities and competencies in the area of engineering maintenance. It gives you access to more resources and more skills. Because of their economies of scale and the flexibility that the provider has, it also means you get opportunities to do the work differently. A reorganisation of how the work is done and when it is done becomes possible. Savings can be realised through this which might involve a combination of on-site and visiting engineering teams to minimise cost and deliver maximised service delivery at the time it is needed. You don’t have to have a fixed level of resource on site all year round.
Another aspect of cost concern is often the spares that will be used. Again it is seen as another aspect that profit will be added. In reality it is more likely that the amount of money spent on spares does not suffer greatly. The better supplier discounts that the outsource provider has, because of the economies of scale of their wider business, usually means that the cost of spares can actually reduce overall.
Then of course there is the effect of competition. In-house maintenance teams seldom have any real competition and so it is difficult for a company to understand whether they are getting value for money or not. Where support is outsourced it will usually be done on a term basis of three or more years. This introduces the natural check at the anniversary as cost benchmarking can be done between suppliers.
Another approach to concerns over cost can be to let the contract on an Open Book basis. In this way the underlying costs are visible to the company and the agreed profit level is set with the engineering support provider up front. The major disadvantage of this is the cost risk is actually carried by the company not the provider. Open Book usually means transparency of costs therefore if the costs are incurred then the company is responsible for paying them. The provider is therefore really only responsible for the management of the service. So an Open Book contract usually means more risk for the company whereby in a Closed Book contract the provider carries more risk.
There is a lot to be said about sticking to what you are good at. Several aspects are at play that affect a company’s ability to maintain their automated system themselves, e.g. responsibility, resources, expertise, protecting the investment and not least the cost. A well outsourced Engineering Support Service solution can create savings, improve the service delivery, reduce risk, and make life easier – the company can then focus on its core business.