Matthew Clark Brand Ltd - £18m Investment In Customer Service

June, 97

With another 10 months to go before the new Matthew Clark National Distribution Centre is completed a major training and familiarisation programme has already begun for key staff.

This will ensure that when operational the new 306,000 sq. foot facility on a 17.5 acre site close to the M4/M5 motorway intersection near Avonmouth, Bristol will be able to offer the highest possible level of customer service to the major supermarket chains, brewers and cash and carry companies that will form its customer base.

“The new Centre is an £18m commitment to providing our customers with the best possible service”, said Logistics Director Martin Grisman.

“We are at an early stage of construction at present with steelwork being erected but we have already begun an intensive preparation and training period for key personnel using the latest ‘3-dimensional virtual reality simulation’ technology to ensure that from day one our customers can have total confidence in our ability to meet their demands” he said.

Project managers, Harold Whitehead and Partners of Windsor, decided to use the technology to emulate the exact manner in which the new facility will operate.

This has enabled the complex design - which will store some two and a half million cases across the 1000 product lines and despatch up to 300,000 cases daily - to be thoroughly tested and optimised prior to the start of building.

“The computer based system means you can prove the feasibility of design months before you get on site by effectively being ‘inside’ it - allowing us to identify potential problems well in advance and solve them to avoid disappointing customers”, said Martin.

“Traditionally projects of this nature would mean poring over plans and one dimensional drawings of the building or constructing models.”

“Not only does it give us the opportunity to iron out potential problems it also means that by the time the first fork lift truck starts up on day one, the team all have a good working knowledge of the site,” he said.

The simulation - modelled and developed by BYG Systems Ltd of Nottingham - means that every aspect of the new centre’s operation can be thoroughly tested by the management team in advance.

The model - using BYG’s DE3 discrete event simulation tool for logistics and MHE operations - graphically illustrates the inside of the warehouse with all the elements to scale and in the right position so that managers can experiment with layouts and working practices and test them rigorously to ensure the optimum configuration is achieved.

“Our system provides companies with a sophisticated business management tool that reduces the risk of getting it wrong, so reducing potential cost,” said Peter Sorenti, Product Manager - Simulation at BYG.

When complete the National Distribution Centre will be manned by some 120 people who will largely come from two current sites which the centre will replace.

For further information please contact
Simulation Department
BYG Systems Limited
Telephone: 0115 9252221

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