Travis Perkins and Wickes create space on site
13 September 2018
Travis Perkins and Wickes both faced space issues on site when eCommerce changed their distribution operations. They turned to CopriSystems for solutions. Managing director Rafe Colenso explains further to HSS editor Simon Duddy.
Travis Perkins has been a customer of CopriSystems for 15 years, and in 2016, the builder’s merchant approached the temporary building specialist with a major job at its Northampton central distribution centre. Travis Perkins took on 12 buildings, which have been incorporated into four very large spaces on-site.
Rafe explains: “As a result of quickly increasing eCommerce business, Travis Perkins automated some warehouse processes, including the installation of a conveyor based system at the CDC. This put pressure on warehouse and goods marshalling space and that’s when they came to us.”
CopriSystems developed a bespoke system to meet the demanding criteria of the building materials leader.
“They came to us for a number of reasons. Firstly, because of our reliability, we use galvanised steel and a very high grade of PVC fabric. Secondly, while the structures conform to Building Regulations, they are completely bespoke.
“For example, the fitting of sprinkler systems was a requirement of insurance. This was a wet system, with 200mm radius pipes full of water, so it added a lot of weight, and we had to incorporate this into the design.
“Travis Perkins were also delighted we were able to work around their operation during a very busy time for them, by working on Sundays, for example.”
CopriSystems has also carried out work for Wickes, the DIY chain that is also part of the Travis Perkins Group.
Again, due to the changing demands of eCommerce, Wickes adapted operations at its DC for kitchens.
Previously Wickes would send kitchen components out to customers via the local store network.
Rafe explains: “One of the issues with this is it involved a lot of double handling, so Wickes switched to delivering from the DC.
“This brought challenges, as the DC was dealing with higher quantities, because the new operation covers the whole of the UK, whereas the old method served only the South.
“Also, the quality of the product being delivered has to be higher as the DC is the last stop before the customer, it has to be spot on. This is why they brought in our canopies for loading & unloading and keeping the product dry before it’s sent out.”
Wickes ordered three canopies off the back of the successful DC installation.
Rafe adds that Brexit has not had the effect that many feared, with a slowdown avoided. What he has perceived is a change in supply chain strategy among some companies, which has led to greater demand for quick-build, temporary warehousing.
“We are seeing our customer’s customers stockpiling in readiness for Brexit. The thing is, they are typically not yet ready for the stock and are asking their supply chain (our customers) to hold the stock for them until they need it.
“Our customers are happy to take the business and do this, but it has led to storage challenges, creating opportunities for us.”
Rafe is keen that customers get a reliable solution that will stand them in good stead.
“We are a family business and pride ourselves on high quality and product development. Many years ago, we had thousands of service jobs per year and now we have a handful. More cynical operators might have kept that revenue stream going, but for us the priority has always been to provide customers with a product that is as reliable and trouble-free as possible.”
Bedded in at its new location near Devizes, CopriSystems is continuing to develop behind the scenes, with the latest project a revamp of its design process to make the buildings cheaper to install and modify.
CopriSystems also counts GlaxoSmithKline, Waitrose, Ocado, Boots, DFS, BAE Systems and Eddie Stobart among its customers and is well known for supplying a wide range of structures from temporary buildings to canopies, including options for chilled, ambient and frozen food.