The initial phase of the project was to undertake site visits/surveys to review the existing operation and identify the necessary data and other information on which to base the facility design. The next phase was to analyse, collate and summarise the data provided and review this with Barloworld to ensure that it was representative of Ellerines’ operation. This was followed by developing concept designs, to European standards, for the facilities in both ‘U’ Flow and Through Flow configurations and assessing their operation by benchmarking against best practice to deliver optimised, and therefore efficient, material flows and product handling.
A standardised design was developed for storage and picking across all the Distribution Centres, it incorporated various configurations of ‘decked’ Very Narrow Aisle racking (as single deep and double deep) to store furniture and other bulky items; standard adjustable pallet racking for flat pack and other palletised product; and block stack areas for white goods. Each facility also had specific ancillary areas including customer collections; furniture workshop; fumigation chamber; fabric protection spraying chamber; furniture pre-assembly area; workshop; and a battery charging and changing area.
A wide range of inbound and outbound vehicle types had to be accommodated so the concept solution incorporated a flexible loading dock design to service the various vehicle bed heights and body lengths.
During this design development process Barloworld took advantage of an opportunity to procure an existing, redundant, heavy engineering facility to develop as the southern Gauteng Distribution Centre. This site needed significant re-engineering and LPC was appointed to develop a site specific design for it concurrently with the concept design development of the other sites. LPC provided technical and design support during the conversion of this facility into a furniture Distribution Centre which then became operational.
Concept designs for the remaining four locations were completed and LPC assisted Barloworld with the tender process and developer negotiations for each of these facilities, especially technical appraisals of how the concept design had been applied to potential sites.
Approval was then given for the construction of three of the Distribution Centres providing a total of around 100,000m2 of warehouse space at Durban (~71,000m2), Cape Town (~18,000m2) and Port Elizabeth (~11,000m2). Barloworld managed the construction phase of each facility and LPC provided technical support during this period.
LPC was appointed to manage the ‘client’ fit-out works at each facility and undertook the specification, tendering, adjudication, contractor appointment, installation management and handover of several works packages: racking; rack labelling; in-rack sprinklers; marshalling/distribution cages; internal and external line marking; internal and external signage; and internal and external protection. LPC also managed the coordination of these with other installation works (e.g. wire guidance installation, battery bay fit-out etc.).
To meet operational timescales for each facility the fit-out programmes ran concurrently and works were complete at Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban.