Consignia
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 if’s”, 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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