Coach House automates warehouse operations and optimises space with Jungheinrich

Coach House has been a family-run business for over 40 years, selling homeware products to trade organisations across the UK, Europe and around the world. Following the expansion of its warehouse to increase storage space, it quickly identified that it would prove beneficial to palletise a lot of products within the extension, from small items such as cutlery and wine glasses, to lamps and cushions to reduce damage, allow for easy movement and to streamline how products were being stored.

Working collaboratively with Jungheinrich to find the right solution for its specific requirements, and following the installation of narrow aisle racking in the warehouse’s extension, Coach House placed orders for two of Jungheinrich’s high rack stacker Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) trucks and five high level order picking trucks. Two Under Pallet Carriers (UPC) were also ordered to stack larger products too big to go into traditional racking, along with two electric Counterbalance trucks. The trucks have the ability to stack or retrieve entire pallets. Jungheinrich’s tri-lateral stackers are also fitted with intelligent Jungheinrich Warehouse Navigation, allowing integration of the trucks to Coach House’s warehouse management system (WMS). These semi-automated trucks offer improved productivity for any operator.

Danny Bovingdon, one of the Directors at Coach House comments: “With the combination of Jungheinrich’s racking solution and trucks, we have been able to truly optimise the additional space the extension provided, as well as maximise the performance and efficiency of our processes. We have also been able to increase our production speed and ability to manage increased order volumes.

“Whilst we did have an existing Warehouse Management System, we discovered it had limited functionality and reporting tools. This is why, in 2018, we requested Jungheinrich implement its WMS due to the built-in functions and flexibility within the system. We instantly found that we were able to introduce better planning and resource management. Another benefit has been that the WMS gives directed instructions to our warehouse operators. The system doesn’t quite run itself but with time spent on setup, rules and configuration means that managers and supervisors can spend more time on improving our operations rather than allocating basic tasks to staff. Overall, the information from the WMS allows us to achieve better results compared with the old system.”

Jungheinrich’s WMS now covers the entire warehouse and controls all storage and vehicles. This ensures that all processes are fully connected. When comparing results achieved year on year, before and after the implementation of Jungheinrich’s WMS, Coach House has made significant savings. From May 2018 to May 2019, it has seen an increase in the volume of items being picked (eight per cent), a reduction in the number of hours worked in the warehouse (ten per cent) and has reduced the number over overtime hours needed by 55 per cent.

Danny concludes: “The upgrade of our WMS has been a major project. From the specification stage and writing of the system, to implementation, testing and go live Jungheinrich managed the entire process. When it comes to the savings we’ve made, the results speak for themselves. The amount that we’ve saved in a number of areas of the business has resulted in us achieving a return on investment with Jungheinrich in under two and a half years – it’s phenomenal. We can only see our relationship going from strength to strength to the benefit of not just us but also our customers.”

Since it started working with Jungheinrich, Coach House now has 10,500 pallet locations and most recently, it made the decision to update its entire fleet by ordering an additional 25 trucks that will replace all incumbent providers, meaning that every process and vehicle on its site in Lancashire will be supplied by Jungheinrich. Additionally, as an extension of the WMS, early 2020 will see Jungheinrich build a high bay warehouse automated crane solution – an Automated Storage Retrieval Systems (ASRS). The narrow building, positioned next to Coach House’s narrow aisle racking within the warehouse, will contain three cranes inside, that will go up and down on a rail, to a height of 32m. This will provide higher density, higher throughput storage and a fully automated warehouse.

Steve Richmond – Director of Logistics Systems at Jungheinrich UK adds: “We have been on a journey of automation with Coach House, having started our partnership supporting manual processes and progressing to semi-automation with a VNA warehouse and WMS, to being on the road to a fully automated high bay warehouse with our ASRS solution. Coach House is really maximising storage capacity and efficiency on its site by allowing us to build vertically and utilise the latest technology now available in forklift trucks – something that Jungheinrich continues to heavily invest in.

“We’re delighted that the company has seen such a quick return on its investment and we look forward to developing our relationship even further and helping the business make additional savings.”