As part of their countrywide changeover to their renewal stores, Wickes are refurbishing many of their outlets. Now their historical association with Hi-Store, the Hampshire based Storage Solutions Company, is starting to save them money. Wickes asked Hi-Store to come up with a new storage system design, which would fulfill three main requirements.
Firstly, the system needed to be flexible enough to cope with a full range of products. The company had many difficult experiences of range changes and variable sales patterns.
Secondly, it should be designed so that the "front end" storage components could be altered, modified and refurbished, while the main "spine" could stay in place, thus saving a high percentage of renewal costs.
Thirdly, the old system had seven different types of rack and display systems plus many "specials".
What was needed was just one central storage and display system (plus two industrial perimeter racks), which would not have front posts obscuring the merchandise, yet still displaying them attractively and effectively. Standard retail "gondolas" were just not strong enough, particularly for their heavy loads, or tall enough to cope with the height of over 3.0m that was required.
Hi-Store responded with the joint development of CantiTrack, a system featuring infinitely adjustable cantilevered arms supported on a high strength rear spine and over the intervening years this has been installed into a large number of Wickes stores. Now with the evolution of Renewal Stores the flexibility of the system (almost anything can be stored almost anywhere), combined with wise forward planning, is coming into its own. By utilising large parts of the existing system it is estimated that the overall savings could well exceed £1 million this year alone.
The ongoing renovation and replacement activity, which is currently being carried out in over 30 stores, fully involves both companies. This is a rolling programme and, since each store is very different, requires Hi-Store staff to make site visits to assess and plan each individual project.
Display and Storage systems are all inspected and, if necessary, returned to the company’s factory in Four Marks for full renovation. This is where all welding and repairs are carried out before the product is finally prepared for repainting, where this is not possible it is replaced with an appropriate new (and compatible) product.
This whole process is some whatc omplicated by the fact that work must be carried out while the stores remain open and fully functioning. Overnight working and well planned co-operation between Wickes and Hi-Store management means, however, that typical working times for each store, with minimal disruption, are only about seven to eight weeks.