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£21m investment slashes Eriks’ delivery times to a day or two

25 October, 2022

The industrial products supplier Eriks has invested £21m in its UK business, principally on a fulfilment centre in Oldbury that expands its product range as well as slashing its delivery times from an average of four days, to a day or two.

Following 18 months of development and testing, the Fulfilment Centre of Expertise (FCE) includes a 11,000m2 warehouse with one of the most advanced management systems in Europe. The centre has 21 automated vertical lifts, each 12m high, more than 400m of high-speed conveyors, sophisticated scanning and weighing systems, and IT infrastructure with real-time monitoring based on Industry 4.0 principles.

The warehouse has 50,000 flexible locations – a 500% increase in automated storage capacity compared to Eriks’ previous facility in Halesowen. It can store 11,200 Euro pallets and there has been a 22% increase in racking space for pallet-mounted parts. For small parts, the high-speed conveyors are helping to achieve a 110% increase in productivity and a 30% reduction in pick times. A product or part can be picked every 21 seconds.

The warehouse can run perpetual inventory stock-checking to further improve service. The faster supply service offers the option to consolidate deliveries or allow customers to request deliveries on specific dates. They are also kept better informed on the progress of their orders.

“Our goal was to create an industrial fulfilment centre that sets new standards for our sector,” says David Gillies, Eriks UK and Ireland CEO. “Following this huge investment, we are now able to achieve levels of accuracy, speed and service that have never been seen from an industrial distributor.

“The FCE and its vast warehouse space will enable us to provide customers with an unrivalled range of specialised industrial products and services, all controlled through dynamic warehousing systems,” he adds. “We are now able to pick and pack thousands of components every day with total accuracy and dispatch them so the customer receives them faster than ever before.”

Being able to ship goods straight to customers from the FCE, or from a growing number of strategic supply partners, rather than via Eriks’ regional service centre network, will result in significant time savings.

The FCE is also the UK headquarters for Eriks’ UK and Ireland operations with more than 1,100m2 of energy-efficient working areas.

As well as investing in the FCE, Eriks has also spent millions of pounds updating its technical services, with improvements to its engineering sites in Cardiff, Southampton and Chesterfield and to its product technology centres in Barnsley and Warrington. The engineering sites focus on servicing, repairs and upgrades to pumps, motors and geared drive equipment.

Eriks’ new Fulfilment Centre of Expertise has boosted its automated storage capacity by 500%

At each stage of the FCE, goods are checked using weight, size and barcodes to ensure that the right products are delivered. The facility has a future growth capacity of more than 50%, allowing Eriks to adapt and expand to match the market.

“With our new digital infrastructure, connected technologies and smart algorithms, the FCE is the launchpad for the next stage of Eriks’ development, so we can keep pace as the industry transforms faster than ever before,” says Gillies. “We are passionate about the success of UK manufacturing and this multi-million pound investment means we are ready to set new standards for our customers and sector through our unique combination of skills, knowledge and infrastructure.”

Improvements to Eriks’s Web shop and other digital trading channels mean that customers can now place and receive orders faster, with more personalised online access to stock information, pricing and other data.

The increased automation is allowing Eriks to release its customer service teams from much of the repetitive day-to-day order processing work, allowing them to focus on understanding customers’ needs better and to deliver technical improvements.

Since 2009, Eriks has been part of the family-owned SHV business, which has 56,750 employees in 73 countries. As well as industrial services, SHV operates in other sectors including energy distribution, animal nutrition, and the exploration, development and production of oil and gas. The headquarters of both Eriks and SHV are in the Netherlands.

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