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Never knowingly under-designed

03 March 2017

John Lewis, the department store retailer, serves customers through 44 stores and online, offering over 200,000 items. John Lewis identified the need for a new distribution centre (DC) in Milton Keynes. The new facility was required to support the retailer’s commitment to continually improving customer service, productivity and product availability.

John Lewis chose Cirrus Logistics to create a design for the new 600,000 sq. ft. warehouse. The Cirrus team would need to create the optimum layout to ensure there was sufficient internal space to hold stock volumes previously housed in four other DCs. They would also need to identify how much labour and MHE would be required to run the operation, whilst always ensuring the new DC had the highest level of warehouse space efficiency.

Cirrus Logistics used a combination of warehouse consultancy and its Warehouse Design and Simulation software application, CLASS, to ensure that their predictions of labour requirements, equipment needed and the throughput capacity of the DC were accurate. Using CLASS’s layout design program, blueprints were quickly imported to develop and refine the final warehouse design. A computer simulation modelled a live warehouse environment and ran numerous operational scenarios identifying the optimum layout.

Richard Ife, admin and systems manager at John Lewis, said: “Using CLASS we have been able to provide a visual model of the new DC which allowed communication with stakeholders, provided capacity and performance analysis to support the business case, gave insight into future performance and offered a valuable means to fine-tune our design.”