Comprehensive Picking & Storage Solution for Fashion Biz
Planning your warehouse storage system can be a complicated and expensive process. With elaborate design drawings, multiple product choices, environmental and staff concerns and intricate workflows to decipher… It is a specialist area for many industries that is not widely understood. Our customers face the dilemma of not knowing how to get to a “storage solution”. When investing in a large complex project, you need a trusted advisor who pays close attention to your operations and provides a long-lasting solution.
Since beginning operations in Fiji in 1981, Fashion Biz has grown to be one of the largest suppliers of uniforms and apparel in the Australasian market. Fashion Biz is a “one stop shop” for uniforms and apparel, servicing the distributor and wholesale sectors. Previously, Fashion Biz relied on agencies to store and distribute products throughout Western Australia. Due to its remote location, Perth was considered a growth area, however that growth needed to be supported with distribution rights and inventory.
National Operations Manager, Brian Davey, said “We felt our presence in the Perth market was not where it should be. With growth in other parts of Australia and New Zealand… we saw Perth as an opportunity for us to grow even more.”
To differentiate from competition, the installation required an effective layout, unique colour scheme and be purpose built for Fashion Biz’s warehouse function. The design involved a complex layout to suit workflows and accommodate more than 27,000 SKUs. A number of parties were invited to tender yet none provided a solution as carefully prepared as Stow’s design. This was attributed to many meetings and a great deal of questions with close attention to workflows and operations.
“We had regular catch-ups in Melbourne where ideas were fleshed out between us. We worked really well together,” added Brian.
The most prominent feature of the solution, a three-level zone picking spiral conveyor system, was a proposal made exclusively by Stow. As opposed to traditional incline/decline conveyors, the spiral improves efficiency as it saves significant space on the warehouse floor. It also has ergonomic value as it reduces the risk of staff back injuries as staff don’t need to bend down.
Stow developed a complete materials handling and storage solution spanning over 5,000 sqm. It consists of a three-tiered Raised Storage Area (RSA), integrated with the Spiral Conveyor, VNA and over 2000 sqm of High Bay bulk storage. High Bay racking stores the core products, which are picked with Reach Trucks and are then loaded onto the RSA to replenish pick faces. Once a carton is picked, the spiral is used to transport it from the RSA, ready for distribution.
Other less obvious initiatives were put in place to improve workflow, like designing the RSA so warehouse staff travel less distances between picks. Perth’s warm climate means it gets quite stuffy inside the warehouse, so mesh floors were installed to allow airflow and keep the structure cool without any electricity needed, as well as assist the overall fire solution.
Recognising the high amount of pedestrian traffic across the RSA, Stow designed wide aisles and recommended specially designed trolleys that move with ease on the mesh floor. These small adaptions for employee comfort make a BIG difference in day-to-day operations.
“Stow actually took the time to understand our needs. Of course, we know what we need to operate, but we didn’t know how to get to the solution,” said Brian.
The early months of 2017 proved very strong sales for Fashion Biz. Despite being in a transition phase, the company has noted a positive impact so far. Fashion Biz is confident on their growth strategy in Western Australia and will be supported by an efficient and scalable storage solution, designed for growth.
“Fashion Biz is built on continuous growth. Now we are equipped with Stow’s specialised storage solution, our new distribution centre in Perth will support us in the long-term to continue this growth.”
Thanks Brian, it was a pleasure working with you and your team!