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APC Storage Solutions SA enhances automobile parts distribution centre

APC Storage Solutions SA recently completed a turnkey storage solution installation for a new 7 500 m2 national parts distribution centre to be used by a large Japanese motor vehicle manufacturer in Midrand, Gauteng.

The tailored solution had to replicate the company’s strict global logistics standards and procedures for the storing and distribution of its automobile replacement parts, and be completed within just 26 days.

“While the new warehouse had to comply with stringent design and safety parameters in terms of how each product type is stowed, we were still able to suggest and implement certain customised stowage procedures to tailor the solution to the unique requirements of the South African operation,” explains Fred Albrecht, Managing Director, APC Storage Solutions SA.

The inventory, which consists of the complete range of automobile parts and accessories for distribution to all local dealerships and service centres, is shipped regularly from Japan in special containers which are then divided into large parts, small parts and airbags – each being catered for with an item-specific storage solution.

The 4 200 m2 large parts area was fitted with eleven rows of customised conventional pallet racking, all barring one of which is back-to-back, with wooden decking on each level designed to carry maximum loads of 600 kilograms. The racks have a maximum length of 39 metres and consist of five levels giving a total height of nine metres. Specialised dividers were manufactured and installed to support the various part dimensions and a unique in-rack sprinkler system in line with ASIP safety standards was installed to protect the stock in the unlikely event of a fire.

The small parts area of 750 m2 is a two-tier mezzanine system for maximum utility of available floor space. Connected via a gangway system, this section was fitted with Simplos shelving and also houses the high value stock in a dedicated area that is fenced off and access controlled.

25 000 specialised, variously-sized cardboard storage boxes and barcodes were designed, manufactured and installed for both the large and small parts areas for a more effective inventory management, with the entire warehouse run by a state-of-the-art warehouse management system that identifies the correct logistics for each product item.

APC Storage Solutions SA also custom-designed a separate conventional pallet racking and shelving system to store the highly pressure-sensitive airbags, which in the event of accidental detonation, can shoot up to 160 metres to pose a significant safety hazard.

As part of the full turnkey solution, APC Storage Solutions SA, through its material handling division, IHS Forklifts, also provided a 1.5 ton and a 2.5 ton forklift and stock picker to manage the picking and stowing of unit loads; specialised picking trolleys for large and small parts and various work benches.

“When we received the purchase order at the end of January 2014, with an instruction to be complete by 1 May, the warehouse wasn’t erected yet,” Albrecht explains. “Once construction commenced, our ability to act quickly and flexibly, as a single-source solutions provider, set us apart from our competitors. Apart from the complete system installation, we also supplied training for the operation of the material handling equipment and the sprinkler system in order to ensure a pain-free handover.”

As part of the company’s after-sales service, APC Storage Solutions SA will conduct biannual site inspections of the warehouse’s racking to ensure each component offers the full performance and safety capabilities of its OE manufacturing specifications.

APC Storage Solutions SA, though its dedicated material handing division, IHS Forklifts, offers a range of warehouse forklifts to handle any application and includes extensive service plans and workmanship guarantees.