Page 1: Introduction
In the world of the 1990s, modern day consumers want their requirements to be met with the right goods, at the right price, at the right time and in the right place. When they walk into a local supermarket, irrespective of whether it is in Penzance, Harlow, Belfast, Coventry, Carlisle, Wrexham or Dundee, they expect not only to be able to view familiar products, they also want choice to go with this product availability.
Making products available, wherever they are required, benefits customers. Although customers do not actually view the operation of supply chains, they value product availability made possible by distribution processes. In fact consumers have become so dependent upon the operation of supply chains that they would quickly complain if the processes of distribution suddenly broke down.
The process of physical distribution involves stages in the movement of goods from producers through to consumers. Even today there are very few situations where goods go straight from a manufacturer through to a consumer. If a business manages to perfect its distribution activities, then it gains a genuine competitive advantage, particularly if it can do this better than any of its competitors. On the other hand, if retailers do not have the stocks their customers require, this inevitably will lead to customer dissatisfaction which, in turn, adversely affects the reputation of a business.
To meet these increasing customer requirements considerable changes have taken place over the last 20 years. From a situation where transport, storage and distribution had a minor role at the end of a production line, the process of supply chain management - logistics - has developed into an important management concept in which today’s managers are responsible for the control of a whole supply chain, from raw material to beyond the finished product, until it is enjoyed by the final consumer.
This case study focuses upon how one organisation, Dexion, uses its skills and abilities to provide help for businesses of all shapes and sizes with their supply chain management problems. To illustrate the sort of issues involved in logistics management, it focuses upon the help Dexion provided to deal with different logistical issues for two organisations:
- A Storage and Distribution facility at Minworth, for Cadbury, a manufacturing organisation.
- A Distribution Centre at Manton Wood, for Wilkinson, a hardware retailing organisation.
Changing technology in warehouses
The origins of Dexion go back to before the Second World War when Demetrius Comimo, an engineering graduate, who owned a printing company in London, became frustrated with the inflexibility of commercially available standard racking and shelving. Using the knowledge and engineering skills he had acquired, he invented Dexion Slotted Angle, a simple yet flexible construction system which enabled him to build racks, benches and stands tailored to his precise requirements. Slotted Angle was the first of many generations of storage products, each of which has been designed to meet the ever-sophisticated needs of the user. In response to the developing needs of the market, Dexion has diversified from static shelving and pallet racking into complementary market areas, including live storage, mobile shelving, mobile pallet racking, conveyors, carousels, narrow aisle trucks and control systems. In fact today Dexion’s name is associated with the creation of complete solutions where the cost-effective utilisation of space leads to greater business efficiency.
Dexion designs and manufactures racking systems for the safe storage of pallets and large loads.
Versatile shelving systems are developed to fulfil storage requirements.
Package and pallet handling conveyors are designed and manufactured for production lines, warehouses and stores.
Dexion is a major supplier of picking systems which allow items to be picked from pallets, shelves, bins, carousels and live storage racking or from a combination of storage types.
Dexion provides a range of office partitioning systems which help to improve the working environment whilst, at the same time, making the most of the space available.