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Dexion delivers real time distribution solution for global UAE Retailer

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article image A major UAE Retailer’s distribution centre in Jebel Ali, Dubai

A leading UAE retailer chose Dexion as its partner for the implementation of integrated supply chain solutions at its distribution centre located in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone.

The UAE retailer’s facility, known as Logix Two was completed in 2013. The retailer manages more than 2,500 retail stores across the Middle East, North Africa, Russia, Turkey and Europe. The 3.5 million garments at the distribution centre include labels representing some of fashion’s most sought-after brands. During a busy week, anywhere up to 1 million garments will leave the building, only to be replaced by a million more.

Alongside these garments, there are tens of thousands of storage positions allocated for flat packed items, all of which will be delivered to shopfronts around Europe and the Middle East. 

The retailer engaged leading storage and materials handling specialist, Dexion in July 2011 to design the high volume, fast moving distribution centre, with a team drawn from the company’s regional network. Dexion’s General Manager of Sales in Asia and the Middle East, Simon Ingram said that they were able to forge a truly collaborative partnership with the client, helping them develop and implement the agreed concept. 

Dexion has had a strong presence in the Middle East for over 50 years. However, until recently, it was mostly known in the market for its racking capabilities. Ingram observes Dexion is regarded as a leading provider of integrated supply chain solutions in Australia and New Zealand; however, championing the logistics and integrated systems sector in the Gulf poses its own challenges.

When first approached to work on the project, Dexion’s team of specialists insisted on reviewing the raw data behind the statistics included in the RFP. The numbers helped the team define a very clear baseline, from which they could design the most efficient storage and materials handling solution for the client. 

Construction of the site began in October 2011. Components and equipment were sourced from Dexion’s Asian manufacturing plants and material handling equipment partners. Dexion configured the RDS (Real-time Distribution System) software to meet the client’s defined business requirements. 

Dexion’s Project Manager, Murdo MacKinnon described the project as having two distinct phases. The first was the construction of the new building, which adjoined the existing and operational DC. 

In a short time, Dexion installed the VNA (Very Narrow Aisle) racking, a storage solution providing 36,000 pallet locations and a rack-supported 4-tier GOH solution providing storage capacity for 3.6 million garments. 

MacKinnon added that servicing these GOH storage locations required over 12km of overhead monorail garment conveying rails and trolleys. Over 4km of carton conveyors were also installed to facilitate the movement of the flat pack items. Each aspect of the DC is centrally controlled by Dexion’s RDS, which acts as the Warehouse Control System (WCS).

Construction of the new building was completed on schedule after a 12-week construction period. 

With over 30 different brand concepts in the facility, dynamics vary in terms of stock movement and replenishment. Many of the brands stored are in high demand by consumers, which means it’s vital that the orders are accurate and quickly delivered to the shopfloors. Dexion’s RDS has played a critical role, managing the logistical aspects of the distribution centre under one umbrella, moving the right items to the right places at just the right time. 

With the retailer’s stock sourced globally, most items arrive by sea freight, spending between 3-6 weeks on the water. As part of the project, Dexion and its client were determined to reduce the amount of time that the stock spent on the water. Dexion’s cross-docking solution ensures stock is pre-allocated to the stores while still on the water, rather than waiting until the stock arrives to complete the process. 

Using the ASN, when goods are unloaded, the pre-allocated orders are transported via the conveying system to the multi-tier, ‘put-to-store’ module where they are packed, sorted and palletised for dispatch to stores in Dubai or across the wider Middle East. A large percentage of stock will be managed in this manner, with the remaining store replenishment stock to be stored in the DC. 

The second phase of the Jebel Ali project involved converting the existing facility and integrating it with the neighbouring new facility. In the final solution, the new facility will play a pivotal role in the facility’s cross-docking capabilities – the area contains flat-pack and GOH put-to-store processing modules, tote and carton conveying, garment conveying and carton sortation.

The complete facility is now live.

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