GRID-LOCKED: NOT SEEING THROUGH THE TREES
Production Director's response “we knew we needed to improve this part of our operations, and with James’ insight and investigation we are pleased with the initiative he brought to our operations”.
Exhibition stand designers Nimlok were pleased to bounce back after the Covid-19 lockdowns. Their business is building attractive and engaging stands for their customers, and exhibitions had been curtailed during that time.
Similarly, many businesses wanted to present themselves, their products and services to their own customers at trade and services exhibitions. Nimlok, with its prestigious reputation for designing and building engaging stands, were well placed to meet demand and had a bumper year.
However, increased demand put great pressure on their internal capabilities, not least in the storage area (known as the Grid). The Grid is where they stored crates (2.4 x 1.2 x 1.3m) holding the various items for their customers between exhibitions. They contained items such as framework, lighting, counter tops, graphics etc.
In the warehouse, access and accessibility to the crates was extremely limited. Making life more difficult was the increased demand and faster turnarounds that their customers needed. With high demand and a congested workspace to sort and pack (incoming) items for storage Nimlok needed to improve this part of the operations.
The Solution – rearrangement of the actual storage area. The self-stacking crates were held in rows of 8 columns with up to 4-5 crates high: making access difficult, cumbersome and slow. The redesign included splitting the columns into 4 x 2, and re-siting the access aisle in the middle. This reduces the average number of columns to locate a required crate, and the time to access it. As important, it reduces the space needed to hold the other crates in the ‘picking’ process, freeing up more space for the sorting and packing activities.
As software designers themselves (for engagement and interactive displays and games they integrate into their clients’ stands) Nimlok took the opportunity to re-write a new stock location system for the Grid. This improved the accuracy and reliability, further improving the speedy and responsive service their customers demanded.
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