Location : United Kingdom
Industry : Postal Services
Consignia have been developing their warehousing
and distribution facilities at Swindon to seek additional business. They
are offering a pick, pack and dispatch parcel service to any area in the
country. The operation picks into totes on a conveyor, which are then
transported to a number of packing lanes. A simulation was developed by
Logistics Simulation Limited to test the operation before going live.
This simulation included a detailed test of the new conveyor picking system
being developed over 2 floors. The simulation is used for 2 purposes:
Test and prove throughputs for their existing
business to serve individual Post Offices
To test daily what if scenarios
Test and prove throughputs:
A detailed simulation of the conveyors, picking, VNA replenishment and
VNA bulk areas was constructed including the workforce, shift patterns
etc. This was used to test and prove throughputs at each stage.
Important changes to the system where identified to achieve a desirable
throughput for the conveyor system. Various products layouts where tried
to increase efficient of the picking.
In simulating the conveyor picking area, some important bottlenecks where
identified. By varying the product layout, and some of the conveyor logic,
it was possible to reduce the potential for bottlenecks and improve the
projected throughputs during installation.
Every section of the conveyor was constructed in the simulation to represent
the actual conveyors that were to be built. All parts of the conveyor
system were simulated including the CMS logic and physical attributes
such as speeds, pitch distances and priorities.
The output from the simulation showed the number of staff and MHE needed
for all areas.
Importantly the totes per hour coming through the conveyor system were
accurately measured before going live.
Daily What Ifs
Since completing the simulation at design stage Logistics Simulation Limited
have handed over a detailed simulation package of the Capricorn facility
to Consignia. This simulation can be used to change staffing level, product
layouts etc. Consignia use this package to test what ifs,
for example, for new customer business, to try changes to order release
to pick or changes in customer ordering patterns etc. There are many other
areas that they can change and test.
Normally the desired output from this simulation is the effect on tote
throughputs, although other information such as MHE and staffing requirements
can be calculated. Importantly for Consignia the simulation can be used
to demonstrate handling of customers business before launch.
Above: Plan view of the Consignia upper floor.
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