One of Aldi’s Regional Distribution Centres (DCs) currently serve about 40 stores with ambient chill and frozen goods. Growth is planned to increase the number of stores through this DC before a second DC is implemented. To accommodate this growth it was originally planned to build an extension to the existing DC. From a previous study in the retail sector by The Logistics Business it has been seen that there is considerable potential for growth within the existing DC through the re-design of the operating processes and the use of the available height within the existing building. As Aldi currently employ some very efficient practices within the current DC, it was important to retain these along with the operating culture of the company.
The approach to this project was to collect and analyse data on the current operation and develop a suite of operational models that defined the processes in each of the temperature zones. Growth within the business was then defined and applied to these models to analyse the effects on throughputs, storage requirements, space requirements and labour. Where bottlenecks were identified, designs and proposals were made on processes and technologies that would allow growth in the current DC. Layout drawings were also produced to detail how these technologies can be applied within the existing operational layout.
The result of this modelling work provided Aldi with a year by year growth plan for their DC, broken down by temperature zone and process. This work enabled Aldi to not only plan for future potential bottleneck in their operation, but also to reduce size and cost of future building extensions.