Warehouse X, which is part of a well-known retail chain in northern Europe, has recently opened its state-of-the-art chemical distribution center, the largest of its kind in the region. This innovative facility not only prioritizes ultra-high safety measures but also employs cutting-edge automation technology that enhances efficiency, security, and overall productivity while saving on labor costs.
A Hub for Chemical Distribution
The 25,000 square meter distribution center, located in Falkenberg, manages around 500 different chemical articles, including paints, oils, and other hazardous materials. The center serves as the primary hub for supplying all Warehouse X warehouses and distribution centers across northern Europe, streamlining the company’s supply chain and reducing delivery times.
Safety is of paramount importance at the facility, and Group Manager Kim Wernersson takes pride in the extraordinary measures put in place. Wernersson shared, “Our safety precautions truly set us apart. They influence everything we do here. Considering that this area contains mostly flammable articles, imagine the consequences of a fire or explosion. It’s really beneficial to have all these items in one place, making it the Fort Knox of flammables.”
Advanced Safety Features and Unique Storage Solutions
The center has been designed with advanced safety features, including an inbuilt sprinkler system in every rack, regular catastrophe training with the fire department, and a unique mezzanine floor to store highly flammable and explosive materials. In addition, the facility is equipped with state-of-the-art fire detection and alarm systems, ensuring rapid response in case of emergencies.
The mezzanine floor not only provides added protection against fires and explosions but also takes advantage of an automatic goods supply line from VPG. This ingenious solution efficiently transports dangerous goods between floors, maximizing the safety aspects of the warehouse. The warehouse is equipped with a fire-stopping sprinkler system that is connected to both the municipal water supply and the on-site water silo. In the event of a fire, the sprinkler system can be activated to quickly contain the flames. If additional water is needed, the system can draw from either the municipal supply or the on-site silo. The silo is designed to provide full coverage of the warehouse in the event of a fire, meaning that it can be used to extinguish any flames without the need for additional water from the municipal supply. This design ensures that the warehouse is fully protected and minimizes the risk of damage from fire.
Enhanced Safety, Efficiency, and Labor Savings with Automation
Furthermore, the new distribution center benefits from an automatic pallet loading and unloading solution that both enhances safety and saves two full-time employee positions. Wernersson explained, “This solution is incredibly valuable. Instead of having one person on the second floor and one down here, we fully utilize the automatic loading and unloading system. We save two full-time positions while also improving safety. Moreover, the automated system reduces the risk of injuries caused by manual handling, contributing to a safer work environment.”
The automatic infeeder solution streamlines the pallet transportation process, saving employees’ time and allowing them to focus on other tasks. Employees can simply leave the pallet at the infeeder, eliminating the need to wait or coordinate specific timings. With automatic signals, there is full control over the flow of pallets, ensuring an ideal and efficient flow within the facility.
Emphasis on Equality and Inclusivity
Wernersson emphasizes the importance of equality in the workplace, with the center currently employing 13 women and 7 men. By investing in ergonomic solutions and automation, the distribution center promotes an inclusive work environment, allowing the company to hire based on talent and mindset.
As the facility ramps up its operations, Wernersson and his team are prepared for the peak season in April. With its commitment to safety, efficiency, and equality, the new distribution center is poised to revolutionize the way chemicals are stored and distributed throughout northern Europe.