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SCN Client Interview with James Gardiner – CEO, Gardiner Bros & Footsure

In October 2019, Supply Chain Network Ltd (SCN) was approached by Gardiners Bros and Footsure, the UK's leading distributor of global footwear and workwear brands to the retail trade. Established in 1860 Gardiners has over 140 years of experience in providing the best possible service levels for the different market sectors within which they are involved.

Gardiners engaged the SCN team to conduct an initial warehouse evaluation study.

This preliminary study developed into SCN conducting a detailed design phase with Gardiners, for a new build warehouse they had commissioned based on SCN’s designs.

The initial design phase commenced in August 2020, with SCN subsequently involved in all 3 workstreams for Gardiners overall project, concerning the warehouse design, suitable WMS systems, and the implementation of materials handling equipment and operational systems.

To advise on any aspects of the build affected by the internal Fit-Out planning, the SCN team are integrated within the group managing the build of the new site and are involved as advisors throughout the selection process for a new WMS, whilst simultaneously steering the detailed design of the Fit-Out of the narrow aisle racking and operational areas, including intelligent conveyor systems throughout the mezzanine floors and order packing areas.

To date, SCN is leading the fit-out tendering process to select vendors to Fit-Out all aspects of the site operation and will be involved in the operational transition planning through to Spring 2022 as the principal operations consulting partner.

With SCN’s support, Gardiners’ new facility should be up and running at the beginning of 2022. Below, the SCN team interviewed Gardiners’ CEO – James Gardiner – to assess their thoughts on the progress of the project so far.

1. What issues were you experiencing for you to seek warehouse design support?

In August 2019, the business was growing rapidly, and we were running short of space within our existing facilities. To this end, Gardiners wanted to achieve 2 things:

1. To accurately confirm whether we could improve upon the efficient utilisation of space in our existing facilities.

2. If not, to then plan feasibility and designs supporting the build and acquisition of a new warehouse.

From these options, Gardiners did begin to negotiate the purchase of a new facility in Spring 2020. However, then the Coronavirus pandemic struck, and plans were momentarily delayed. At this time, it was decided to review the purchase, and a build and rent deal was instead agreed with St. Modwen for a bespoke facility to be built. Following this, Gardiners engaged SCN in Oct 2020 to advise on the right size warehouse and to design the subsequent Fit-Out protocols.

SCN now engage with Gardiners in weekly internal meetings with updates on the progress of the build, and the factors involved including the size of the doors, the type of concrete slabs being used, and of course all of the operational items including mezzanine floors, narrow aisle racking, and conveyor systems.

2. Can you briefly describe the warehouse design project ongoing currently with SCN?

SCN is managing the design, layout and fit-out of the new build warehouse, alongside its associated tender process. The team are producing budgets for the various items of equipment that Gardiners will require including physical racking and mezzanines, in addition to the associated Materials Handling Equipment including Forklift trucks. Gardiners new facility also requires a new warehouse management system (WMS). The implementation of which is also being managed by SCN.

Overall, SCN is deeply integrated within the successful management of this project. SCN’s responsibility comprises the design, budget, tender management of resources, implementation of new WMS and executing the Fit-Out of both the operational facility equipment and Materials Handling equipment. With SCN’s support, Gardiners’ new facility should be up and running at the end of 2022.

3. Why did you choose SCN and how is it going working with SCN?

Gardiners’ director first met Ian and the SCN team at a logistics show and was drawn to Ian and the team for two main reasons:

One – Ian’s clear knowledge, expertise and attitude, and his willingness to discuss and really understand what his clients want to achieve. The SCN team have no rigid preconceptions, rather they gather information for their clients and are happy to be challenged with data.

Two – Gardiners would describe Ian himself as open and genuine and as having a desire to understand Gardiners’ business and its operations. Ian applies a professional, unbiased, and impartial approach to his clients’ facility designs and Fit-Out solutions.

4. What have been the main benefits of working with SCN so far?

The SCN team and Ian provide a brilliant independent sounding board, which when combined, Gardiners trust to give them an honest opinion and to be able to confidently discuss ideas with. Gardiners can comfortably examine solutions with Ian, and the SCN team works flexibly to work through the best solutions to benefit Gardiners as a business, now and in future. Working with SCN has changed our views and has saved us time and money all while guiding Gardiners in the right direction.

5. How do you feel the project is going so far in a broader business context around the new building?

Gardiners are pleased to confirm that the current project plan with SCN is all on track with the next stage of Fit-Out and operational specifications commencing soon.

6. How did SCN implement the project for you?

To begin this project, SCN acquired Gardiners’ facility’s product flow movements and pick speed and questioned this data to sanity check it. We were instantly impressed with SCN’s data-driven and common-sense approach to this project, and Ian and the teams’ following processes have followed several clear stages:

Stage 1 – Gathering information and data about Gardiners’ current product model, comprising skew, pick speed, and goods in and out.

Stage 2 – Predicting where the business could change and develop over the next 5 years and from this building a model of implications around requirements for warehouse space and the subsequent predicted conditions for the flow of product efficiency through the warehouse.

Stage 3 – Using this forecast data to understand the design and space required, ensuring the efficient and cost-effective flow of product through the new facility.

Stage 4 – Designing the facility.

Stage 5 – Putting together a tender for the materials handling and Fit-Out kit for the new Gardiners facility. This is the stage Gardiners and SCN have currently reached.

The next and final stages of this project will comprise:

Stage 6 – Implementation of the tendered materials handling and Fit-Out kit within the facility.

Stage 7 – Post-project, adapting to what was not expected – and addressing any unseen changes in the economic or business climate.

7. Have your initial problems been resolved by engaging SCN for this project and why?

This is an ongoing project, with an anticipated completion date of August 2022. So far Gardiners are satisfied that SCN has already worked to deliver greater efficiency in our future facilities.

8. What are your business and facility growth plans for 2021 into 2022?

Based on Gardiners' consistent figures for the last 2-3 years, Gardiner's business and facility growth plans are forecast to more than double - over the next 5 years – at a rate of 20% annual growth in volume.

James Gardiner – CEO - Gardiner Bros & Footsure

“Ian feels like part of the team, he is passionate and invested in the project. He combines clear knowledge, expertise, and attitude, with a genuine willingness to discuss and really understand what his clients want to achieve. The SCN team reject rigid preconceptions, rather they gather information and are happy to be challenged with data, rewarding their clients with bespoke and durable facility solutions.”

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