Following 18 months of development and testing, ERIKS’ new Fulfilment Centre of Expertise (FCE) in Oldbury is now fully open and operational with its huge 11,000m2 warehouse space backed by one of the most advanced warehouse management systems anywhere in Europe.
It has 21 vertical lifts, more than 400m of high-speed conveyors, sophisticated scanning and weighing systems for every order and robust Industry 4.0 configured IT infrastructure with real-time monitoring.
While a large part of the £21m investment has been pumped into the FCE, ERIKS has also spent millions of pounds updating its technical services offering, with significant improvements made to its Engineering sites in Cardiff, Southampton and Chesterfield and its product technology centres in Barnsley and Warrington.
The Engineering sites focus on servicing, repairs, and upgrades of pump, motor and geared drive equipment as well as providing a base for ERIKS site services teams.
David Gillies, Chief Executive Officer at ERIKS UK & Ireland, commented: “Our goal was to create an industrial fulfilment centre that sets new standards for our sector. Following this huge investment, we are now able to achieve levels of accuracy, speed and service that have never been seen from an industrial distributor.
“The FCE and its vast warehouse space will enable us to provide customers with an unrivalled range of specialised industrial products and services, all controlled through dynamic warehousing systems.
“We are now able to pick and pack thousands of components every day with total accuracy and dispatch them so the customer receives them faster than ever before.” Being able to ship goods held at the FCE, or from a growing number of strategic supply partners, straight to customers rather than via its regional service centre network can provide a significant time saving.
This faster supply service now also has the option to consolidate deliveries or allow customers to request delivery on a specific date. Delivery times have been slashed from an average of four days to next day or two days depending on the source, and greater insight has been introduced so customers are kept better informed on progress of their orders.
The FCE warehouse capacity is 53% larger than ERIKS’ previous facility in Halesowen, allowing for greater breadth and depth of product availability.
ERIKS now have capacity for a huge 11,200 Euro pallets – a 22% increase in racking space for pallet mounted parts – for small parts, the high speed conveyors help deliver a 110% increase in productivity and a 30% reduction in pick times. Today a product or part can be picked every 21 seconds.
There are 21 automated vertical lifts each standing at 12 metres tall with 50,000 flexible locations, delivering a 500% increase in fully automated storage capacity and running perpetual inventory stock checking to further improve service levels.
The whole facility has been built with future growth capacity of over 50%, allowing ERIKS to adapt and expand with the market.
At each stage through the FCE goods are checked using weight, size and barcodes to make sure the right products are delivered every single time.
David said: “With our new digital infrastructure, connected technologies and smart algorithms, this FCE is the launchpad for the next stage of ERIKS’ development so we can keep pace as the industry transforms faster than ever before.
“We are passionate about the success of UK manufacturing and this multi-million pound investment means we are ready to set new standards for our customers and sector through our unique combination of skills, knowledge and infrastructure.”
Improvements to ERIKS’ web-shop and other digital trading channels mean customers can now place and receive orders faster, with much greater personalised online access to stock information, pricing and much more.
Furthermore, the increased automation across the business has allowed ERIKS to release customer service teams time from much of the repetitive day-to-day order processing work, allowing them to refocus on better understanding and delivering on technical improvements to unburden our customers of their problems.
The FCE is also the UK headquarters for the UK and Ireland operations of ERIKS with over 1,100 m2 of light, open and energy-efficient workspaces, designed using the latest architectural and behavioural insights for the right environment for a high performing team.