Bradford is the UK home to BorgWarner Turbo Systems which specialises in the production of turbochargers for the commercial diesel engine market. A key business requirement is to run a highly flexible manufacturing operation which can react quickly to changes in customer demand.
The business is very complex with over 4000 turbocharger part numbers, an average batch size of 50 and an average of 40 assembly line changeovers per day. Due to further growth in the business BorgWarner had a requirement to consolidate their warehouse operations onto a single site next to the production facility. To make the most efficient use of the space and resources in the warehouse, BorgWarner were looking for a solution provider to model the warehouse picking activity in order to minimise fork lift truck movements. It was here that they approached the National Metals Technology Centre (NAMTEC) for financial support through the NAMTEC ‘Direct Company Support’ Scheme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The work was undertaken by David Leach who is a Senior Lecturer in logistics at the University of Huddersfield. The University of Huddersfield was chosen due to their breadth of experience in the warehousing and logistics field. The brief was to evaluate different scenarios of Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) locations to minimise fork lift truck travel distance and to avoid congestion in core areas.
Following a detailed assessment of the complex mix of components, their usage and picking methods, a series of scenarios were modelled to examine the efficiency of the full logistics process to ensure the solution was optimised from all perspectives and for all users.
The final solution has been fully implemented into the new warehouse and has resulted in a reduction in distance travelled by the fork lift trucks of over 16 percent. This has enabled not only the speeding up of the flow of parts to production but has also greatly improved the response time to last minute changes in customer demand and reduced the carbon footprint
of the warehouse.