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Home>Industry Sector>Distribution>Electronic component distributor revamps Leeds DC

Electronic component distributor revamps Leeds DC

30 May 2024

Farnell selected BS Handling Systems to integrate a powered conveyor solution at the facility.

HEADQUARTERED IN in Leeds, Farnell, an Avnet Company, is a global distributor of electronic components. The continued growth of the business signalled a need to increase stock holding in its Leeds Distribution Centre (DC).

“One of our core strategies is to grow,” explains the head of UK operations at Farnell. “To achieve this, it became abundantly clear we would need to increase the stock capacity and throughput of our Leeds DC.

“Initially, we approached the supplier who had designed and installed the original semi-automated system. Unfortunately, the post Covid demand for automated logistics solutions meant that the lead times they were quoting were simply too long. Consequently, we made the decision to go out to tender for the next phase of development.”

One of the companies approached by Farnell was BS Handling Systems.

The head of UK operations continues: “The company is well known in the industry and has an excellent track record. We were impressed; Rob Brand-Smith, managing director of the company, attended the initial meeting with two of his top management team.

“When they presented their proposal it was obvious that they had not only listened to what we said, but also clearly understood what we wanted to achieve. The quote for the project was really competitive too, but what was more impressive was the timeframe they proposed for completing the work. Given our rate of expansion, the relatively short delivery timeframe was absolutely key and consequently we awarded the contract to BS Handling Systems.”

Designing the integrated conveyor solution

“At the first design meeting, the BSH team walked around the existing system and listened to our thoughts about how the new powered conveyor system could work. 

“They took our thoughts and their perceptions of the system away with them and came back with what was clearly a thoroughly well-thought out solution. The proposed design included five merge points with the existing system. One taking totes with in-bound stock to be put away in one of three zones in the new storage/picking area on the mezzanine floor. 

“The second merge enabling totes with part orders coming from the automated mini load system to divert to the new picking area to collect additional product orders. A merge direct to packing/despatch on the ground floor, the merge of picked totes back into the original system on the mezzanine floor and the empty tote feed from the original system on the ground floor up to the infeed on the mezzanine.

“With the new system, we’ve integrated the logic and the picking sequences which is important for bringing it all together at the end with the existing system. The design also includes a couple of ‘short-cut’ conveyor routes to take completed orders directly to the despatch area to save time and avoid potential congestion on the main system.” 

Installing the new conveyors with minimum disruption

“One of our key drivers for the installation of the new powered conveyor system was that it must not interrupt our existing service. The DC had to continue operating at its normal throughput so that our customers where not let down or disappointed in any way. 

“Naturally, all the work had to be done safely following Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2015 (CDM). This meant fencing off any part of the live operations with the potential for disruption this could cause.

“Rob and his team handled this superbly. The communication between our two parties was first class. If we had an issue, they delayed their work to ensure we could maintain our service levels. 

“If they hit a problem or felt that something wasn’t going to work as we had planned, they didn’t hesitate to inform us. But more than that, they came to us with alternative solutions, not problems. We worked really well together throughout and it was a pleasure working with these guys.

“The excellent work they did integrating the new conveyors into the original system gave us the confidence to add their name to the tender list for additional high bay pallet racking that we required.

“Yet again, BS Handling Systems’ quote and installation schedule offered the best solution, so we appointed them to carry out that work too. This storage area was also completed on time and in budget.”

The Head of UK Operations concludes stating: “Every company is driven by its leader and I think Rob’s a shining example of a customer focused leader. He was onsite several times during the installation and always knew exactly what was going on.

“His team too, know what they’re talking about; both Phil Taylor and Stephen Perriton were excellent and continue to look after us superbly. They don’t make false promises, you get what you ask for and they’re a fun team to work with as well. The guys came to site, they quoted a price and provided a detailed installation schedule; they followed this up by delivering on price and completing the successful installation on time – I mean, what more could you want from a team?” 

For more information, visit www.bshandlingsystems.com