With over 2.5 million units being shipped each year out of seven different Distribution Centres, leading sports clothing and apparel distributor, Conquest Sports realised it was time to find a single site that could house all of their brands.
Recent growth in the company sees them selling well-known sports brands to not only all major retail sports stores in the country, but also to their own stores which are housed in Discount Factory Outlets (DFO’s) around Australia. No longer could Conquest Sports manage their growing operations out of seven different sites.
Conquest Sports were looking for a site in Melbourne that would become their National Distribution Centre and have the capacity to house 8 major sports brands, 2000 SKU’s and 24 staff under one roof.
A most unusual shaped National Distribution Centre, the site is a three level split floor plan, with 2700 square metres of floor space on each level. Shaped as an L shaped NDC, the Conquest Sports site is as unique as the sports brands they distribute, and the planning required a reputable company to help them design and layout the L Shaped floors to ensure that the NDC is as efficient and productive as possible for the site design.
Long-time distributor of Schaefer Systems International , Absolute Storage Systems, welcomed the challenge of project managing the new NDC and worked alongside Conquest Sports to ensure that everything from the Council permits, lighting, fire protection, sprinklers and conveyors met the project requirements.
According to Merv Clemens, Managing Director, Absolute Storage Systems, his company was responsible for the entire design, planning and implementation of the new National Distribution Centre.
“The Conquest Sports NDC is not your ordinary floor design and required much planning to ensure that the shelving, racking and conveyors were incorporated into the floor space, without restricting the productivity of the company. With so many SKU’s and brands under one roof it was critical that each brand was separated in the floor planning so that staff can easily identify, pack and ship each brand, as and when needed,” Mr Clemens said.
“As the NDC is three levels we isolated the brands accordingly and staff pick and pack on the required level, depending on the daily stock movements for the respective brand. We incorporated world-leading racking and shelving systems from Schaefer Systems International into the design and worked with a local supplier to customise a reversible conveyor system throughout each level of the NDC,” he said.
Peter Moulder, Logistics Manager, Conquest Sports, added that without the assistance from Absolute Storage Systems, their new NDC would not be designed as efficiently as possible based on the L shaped design.
“We are in the Sports clothing and apparel business, not designing warehouses, and we had no idea even where to begin. Consolidating seven DC’s into one NDC was by no means a small feat and without partners like Absolute Storage Systems and quality shelving and racking from Schaefer this project would not have been possible,” Mr Moulder said.
Additional features of the new NDC include a racked area for all of the clothing lines, a reversible conveyor system, a product identification system for track and trace and Schaefer racking and shelving on each of the three levels.
Track and Trace System
In the previous 7 DC’s Conquest Sports manually picked and packed hundreds of boxes of shoes and clothing lines. The company identified that this was an inefficient and unproductive method of handling their products and decided to implement a fully scanned warehouse operation in the new NDC.
All clothing and apparel is now labelled, barcoded and scanned into a Warehouse Management System. The staff can now enjoy a higher level of accuracy in their pick and pack operations, improve their track and trace of SKU’s and dramatically reduce the amount of manual errors on the pack lines.
“The staff are much happier since the introduction of the barcodes and labels and with over 2000 SKU’s in our NDC the system was well worth the initial capital outlay. The operators no longer walk around with reams of paper ticking off their pack list and this implementation was long overdue,” Mr Moulder said.
Racked Clothing Area
The NDC also houses a new racking system for the clothing ranges of each of the eight sports brands. The garments are now hung on hangers within the racking system allowing the operators the ability to easily locate any garments required for an order. Each individual brand is located in their own area and easily identifiable. The new racking system has improved the efficiency of receiving and despatching clothing lines within the business and has increased the pick accuracy for the operators.
Reversible Conveyor System
Absolute Storage Systems worked with a local manufacturer to design and install a reversible conveyor system in the new NDC. Designed over all three levels the automated reversible conveyor system has added a higher degree of productivity and efficiency to the flow of goods being brought in and out of Conquest Sports each day. The conveyor can also be altered to suit the brands, and hence floor levels being processed daily. The custom-built reversible conveyor system allows Conquest Sports to not only eliminate the need for pallets within their warehouse but to also ‘flick a switch’ and reverse the flow of goods depending on whether they are receiving or despatching shipments.
The conveyor system enables the goods to be sent straight to the despatch door and into the truck; significantly improving the flow of goods at the new NDC.
Schaefer Systems International Racking
Absolute Storage Systems supplied and installed world-leading Schaefer Systems I600 heavy-duty racking into the new NDC. The Schaefer I600 racking system offers Conquest Sports the flexibility towards future modifications and integration of picking levels to meet new and modified product ranges.
Depending on the weight and number of storage levels – multiple storage locations are possible with the Schaefer I600 and take into consideration Conquest Sports space utilisation economics.
Bay load capacities up to 28 t are possible with the I600 system and have an upright width 90mm and 115 mm with height adjustability at 50mm intervals.
The consolidation of 7 Distribution Centres into one National Distribution Centre has not only dramatically improved the productivity and customer service levels of Conquest Sports, but the ROI has exceeded all expectations. The staff are happier, more productive and the handling of the 2000 SKU’s is far more accurate.
Conquest Sports can now enjoy their company growth with a higher level of accuracy and efficiency and continue to expand the family-owned and operated business for years to come.