To further improve its service to clients and to keep pace with the growing demands for its range of fulfillment services, Walker Logistics’ multi-user warehouse facility in Berkshire is now operating around the clock.
The introduction of a night shift at the 250,000 sq ft store means that Walker is picking, packing and dispatching client orders 24/7 with in-bound and out-bound stock processed throughout the night.
“We have to allow a two-hour window for our WMS systems to back up but we are, in effect, a 24-hour a day business,” says William Walker, the company’s sales director.
“For our clients the change means a variety of benefits but ultimately we can offer them continuous fulfilment and order picking as well as the ability to turn inbound goods around and onto the shelves or racking in a shorter timeframe.
“And, we have removed the pressure points that could arise from time to time if, for example, a client doubled or tripled its in-bound stock,” he added.
Walker’s staff have responded positively to changes in working practices too, as William Walker explains: “ We asked for volunteers among our existing workforce who would be interested in working nights and we were overwhelmed by the response. Night-time working clearly fits in well with many people’s work/life balance,” he says.
An additional benefit to Walker has been the opportunity to reduce the size of the materials handling equipment fleet deployed at the company’s Berkshire site – and, thereby, cut day-to-day operating and energy costs.
“Because some of our forklifts and man-aloft order pickers, amongst other equipment, have had their work spread over 24-hours, we no longer need to keep so much equipment on site. By planning re-charging regimes efficiently, we are using fewer trucks and have been able to cut our consumption by 15 per cent,” says William Walker.
“This improves our bottom line and helps us to become more environmentally- efficient,” he adds.