Tag Archive | "Motor factor"

AUTOMATED FUTURE FOR FACTOR CHAIN

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AUTOMATED FUTURE FOR FACTOR CHAIN


Large German factor Stahlgruber combines robotics and logistics in hub reboot. CAT contributor Alan Smithee gets the latest. 

Factor gets an upgrade

How about this for a warehouse upgrade? German motor factor Stahlgruber needed to expand and in typical fashion, bosses at the firm put their minds to achieve the most efficient solution possible.

What they came up with was a completely robotic 23,000 sq. ft extension, connected to the existing facility by a 60-metre bridge with a pallet conveyor. Working with warehouse automation firm TGW Logistics, the firm built the new new automatic ‘mini-load’ warehouse and the entire conveyor system for plastuc crates known as ‘totes’, roll containers and pallets, plus the storage and retrieval machines. TGW was responsible for the design and installation of the pallet conveyor and storage and retrieval equipment in the receiving area.

The new 26-metre-high automatic mini-load warehouse consists of two storage levels with nine aisles each, and two separate storage and retrieval levels serviced by machines. ‘Twister’ load handling devices transport the goods to and from 165,800 storage locations at rates of up to 118 movements per hour, with each unit identified by barcode and tracked on Stahlgruber’s computer system.

As part of the new facility, TGW built a new receiving terminal that makes the best of the received goods’ travel through the logistics centre. Modifications to the existing pallet handling system means suppliers now deliver all pallets pre-labelled with a barcode indicating the shipping unit.

On receipt in pallets or grid- boxes, items are routed either directly to the existing pallet warehouse over the bridge via conveyor; to eight picking stations for direct picking from pallet; or to 44 decanting workstations connected to the tote conveyor system for unpacking the pallet into the tote crates. A display at each decanting station informs the employees about the required number of items to put into a provided empty tote, which is then transported to the automatic mini-load storage warehouse.

The existing warehouse has also been redesigned with ‘ergonomic’ workstations for receiving, repacking, picking and shipping areas, with everything to hand and technology measuring weights etc in order to provide the best possible conditions for the employees. There is little need for employees to walk very far at all in fact, as the facility has four kilometers of conveyors whizzing totes and pallets wherever they need to go. Bosses reckon on employees picking 210 totes per hour. The same picking stations also pick from full pallet loads delivered directly from the receiving area via TGW pallet lifts and a double transfer car.

TGW also added a new shipping line to the shipping area and expanded the dispatch sorters. The changes to the twenty-year-old conveyor system in the shipping area increased performance significantly and dramatically reduced the noise emissions. The logistics centre now holds over 155,000 SKUs, with up to 100,000 orders leaving each day in a two-shift operation that provides customers with fast, accurate deliveries.

Even more surprising is that the upgrade, was completed in a year without having to shut the warehouse. “Work in this area was carried out at weekends, to avoid affecting the facility’s performance during the reconstruction phase,” explained TGW Project Manager Josef Eibel. “The coordination was challenging at times, but the team worked together perfectly and the high-tech upgrade for factor shipping area’s performance was doubled. The new system provides Stahlgruber with a supply chain that provides operational efficiencies as well as enhancing its high levels of customer service.”

Is this an exciting future, or are robots threatening the way we work? Why not email CAT and let us know your views.

MINI-LOAD SYSTEMS
‘Mini-Load’ systems, so-called because they use small crates called ‘totes’ in conjunction with a tall and fast robotic picking known as Automated Storage and Retrieval. When used with other systems mentioned, they can increase space utilisation by 90 percent, productivity by 90 percent and throughput up to 750 lines per hour. Who wouldn’t want that?

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WATERLOO ACQUIRED BY PARTS ALLIANCE

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WATERLOO ACQUIRED BY PARTS ALLIANCE


Waterloo Motor Factors has been acquired by private equity-backed business group The Parts Alliance. The East-Riding based business has branches in Hull, Beverley and Bridlington and was founded in 1928 by James Henry Munday.

It becomes a wholly-owned business within the HgCapital-owned Parts Alliance Group but will continue to trade under its own name. David Brooks, founder of SAS Autoparts will take over day-to-day running of the firm.

Current MD Jim Munday said: “As a three-generation family business, building long term relationships and providing quality local service are in our DNA. We look forward to working with (PA CEO) Peter Sephton and the rest of the management team to accelerate our growth in what are very exciting times for our trade.”

Peter Sephton said: “I’m delighted Jim Munday has agreed to work with us to facilitate the integration into The Parts Alliance and the transition of leadership to David Brooks, founder of SAS Autoparts, as we seek to extend our branch footprint and optimise our distribution and reach into the region”.

“Jim will continue to advise us on development projects and we are delighted to have Jim and his colleagues at Waterloo as part of our Group.”

The factor was previously a member of the IFA buying group. The change of ownership will see a number of different brands filling the stockroom.

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FPS AND NISSENS COMPETITION WINNER REVEALED


Paul Stewart is the winner pictured far right

Paul Stewart is the winner (pictured far right)

Paul Stewart of Kingswood Autopart Ltd has been crowned the winner of the latest competition organised by engine cooling parts manufacturer Nissens and FPS Distribution.

The awards ceremony took place at Stewart’s Bristol-based motor factor where Nissens UK General Manager Duncan Rainbird and FPS Marketing Campaign Manager Sarah Matthews, handed over a life-size cheque to the victor. “When I was told that I won the competition I didn’t believe it at first”, said Stewart. “It’s a great prize to win. I am a motor racing fan and not many people get the opportunity to go to NASCAR” he added: “It’s a good competition to be put on through the motor trade and I’m really happy Kingswood Autopart won it”. Stewart’s first place prizes include a trip for two to Orlando Florida with £500 spending money, car hire and tickets to the NASCAR Daytona 500 Racing.

Rainbird said the competition partnership with FPS, has seen a ‘positive’ increase in sales from its engine cooling range during October and November, where entrants would receive a ticket for every £100 spent on Nissens engine cooling and air con parts before entering the prize draw. “Looking at the figures we’ve seen on FPS sales during these months we’re both up year-on-year in what is usually a quiet time in terms of engine, engine cooling and climate products that we offer”, Rainbird elaborated: I think one of the things we are keen to promote is the association that we have got together. People now associate FPS with Nissens and likewise with FPS, and the service capabilities for what they can offer”.

FPS Distribution’s Sarah Matthews added: “It’s been a good opportunity to work with Nissens, get to know them and help promote the brand”. Matthews is now in the process of sending out the second prize to its 80 winners who will each receive £25 worth of Love2Shop vouchers to spend at a number of high street retailers up and down the country.

Before drawing the ceremony to a close, Rainbird gave some final words to Stewart. “I hope Paul has an enjoyable time with his wife in Florida and escapes some of this English winter. Have a great time”.

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SUPPLYING CLASSIC CARS ONE PART AT A TIME


Howard Robinson takes us around Collectors Car parts in Egham

howard-robinson

Owner Howard Robinson

Collectors Car Parts first opened its doors to the public in 1982 and since then it has gone on to become a treasure trove of long- obsolete components, stocking nearly every part imaginable for classic cars.

Howard Robinson has been the owner of the operation since day one, and little did he know that his hobby as a young man would turn into a large business venture supplying components to customers across the UK and overseas. Robinson previously owned two factors in the Heathrow area, but due to the large quantity of stock in his possession and some customer parking issues, he relocated his business to a large warehouse space in the Thorpe Industrial Estate, Egham two years prior. We paid a visit to the parts enthusiast to find out how business has taken off since the move.

While entering, we were taken back by the size of the facility with one third of the space catering to Robinson’s motor factor and manufacturing business and the other
section home to a large hall filled with parts, or at least with boxes that are filled with parts. “I moved here in September 2014 but we couldn’t move into the main hall because the builders were piling the floors”, said Robinson, “The estate was built on infill so it was sinking and we couldn’t do anything for six months”. However, this didn’t leave a chink in his armour as Robinson built his own mezzanine floor to continue business and line his wares on the shelves.

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Shelves filled with classic spares

CUSTOMER BASE
Although there’s still some unpacking to do, this hasn’t stopped the business from running with customers dropping in and motor factors on call every day enquiring about his classic spares. “I have customers calling me from all over the world but one of the big companies on my books is a factor chain who call virtually everyday for parts”, said Robinson: “Monday is always my busiest day. The phones just go absolutely ballistic with calls I can’t cope with so many coming in”. For his UK base, the one-man- band uses APC to deliver parts around the country while using a local international freight company to distribute products overseas.

Robinson has built up a strong customer base over his last 34 years in the trade and accumulated most classic car components between the 1920’s and 1980’s. If this space wasn’t enough, he also owns a small farm containing hundreds of sets of pistons up to 1980 just a stone’s throw away from the warehouse. Robinson elaborated: “I’ve probably got the best comprehensive collection of parts books anywhere in the UK” he said. “It took many years to accumulate so many books and change part numbers and so forth. I do all British car parts from the 1920’s right up to the 1980’s or anything that has been made in the UK I’m sure to have it somewhere”. From braking and water pumps to exhaust silencers and trims, Robinson has parts that cater towards ‘the bottom end of the market’ including Ford, Vauxhall, BMC and many more.

PRICING
With so many parts at his disposal, logging them onto a computer management system
would prove a daunting task, so we were curious to know how Robinson keeps track of sales and stock. “Although I have a computer myself, I’ve been bought up with the old system
of card indexes, books, changing part numbers and I think it’s nearly as quick as doing this old stuff rather than doing it on a computer”, he said. “If it was all on a computer, I’d be here for the next 100 years because I have so much stock”. His parts catalogue collection is quite the spectacle with one room serving as a miniature library with shelves filled with catalogues and price lists from manufacturers and suppliers dating back almost
100 years.

Robinson’s combined industry knowledge along with his most up-to-date price list allows him to price his wares competitively for dealers to buy and sell on to consumers. He elaborated: “I came into this business because there are people in this business that charge way too much. If I can sell something for half their price I will undercut them so they don’t get away with charging ridiculous sums”.

FUTURE PLANS
Robinson has some exciting challenges ahead, which includes going into new territory specialising in motorcycle parts and hosting his own events for the local motorcycle clubs over weekends in the main hall. “I’m going to have a small shop to cater for motorcycles on the weekend, selling motorcycle silencers, trims and all sorts of things”. He will also continue running his auction in the main hall on Saturday afternoons selling anything from ‘greasy gearboxes’ to old ‘back engines and rusty parts’. “I’m always on the lookout for old spares dating backing as far as I can go. I’ll sell anything, there’s no air and greases in my auctions it’s as it comes”.

Robinson is giving himself another year to finish setting up and getting his motorcycle business off the ground, and has cordially invited us back next year to see everything in action. “The future is doing these motorcycles. If I can make this successful I will be doing the same thing opening places across the country. It’s going to be quite ataskandaneweraforamotor factor which is what I am”, he concluded.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, News, Out and About with CATComments (1)

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