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CASE STUDY: Roper Rhodes overhauls supply chain with Narrow Aisle

by ASC Staff on Dec 10, 2017


Roper Rhodes rapid growth in recent years required it to entirely overhaul its warehouse operations and wider supply chain in a major project with the help of Narrow Aisle.
Roper Rhodes rapid growth in recent years required it to entirely overhaul its warehouse operations and wider supply chain in a major project with the help of Narrow Aisle.

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Roper Rhodes is an independent supplier of bathroom furniture and products. Founded in 1979 and based – appropriately – in Bath, the company’s range is sold via a network of merchants and other bathroom equipment specialists across the UK.

Due to the success of the business, the company recently looked to overhaul its storage and intralogistics processes. Roper Rhodes had, for a number of years, operated several ‘satellite’ storage sites within a few miles’ radius of its main Bath headquarters facility, so, when a much larger building became available in the Avonmouth area, the company took the opportunity to consolidate all of its warehousing and logistics activities under one roof.

But, while it offered the storage space Roper Rhodes sought, the new facility had to undergo some significant modifications to enable it to function efficiently and Flexi Warehouse Systems – the intralogistics project division of space saving materials handling specialist, Narrow Aisle Ltd – was chosen to develop a collaborative turnkey solution and then project manage the upgrade.

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The former print works is, in fact, five separate but linked buildings and these annexed spaces have been designed to handle different aspects of Roper Rhodes’ inventory management operation.

The first of the units works as a goods-in and goods-out area where incoming product lines are block-stacked before put away and outgoing orders are collated and assembled before being loaded on to delivery vehicles.

The remaining four units are a mix of half- and fully-racked stores featuring two deep racking designed by Flexi Warehouse Systems and served by a combination of Flexi SToRMAX and Flexi AC 1200 articulated lift trucks, as well as a fleet of low-level order pickers (LLOPs) with long forks to handle the ISO type pallets which are used as a base for assembling customer orders.

The project was completed in phases to meet Roper Rhodes’ business needs and the efficiency and financial gains have been almost immediate, as Flexi Warehouse Systems’, John Maguire, explains: “Because Roper Rhodes had outgrown the space that its various original units offered, the company had been using third party warehousing to store many slow moving lines.”

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