For close to three decades, construction consumable distributor, Interfix has been at the forefront of their field.  Family run, the company has shown incredibly healthy growth since first opening their doors in 1995 – supplying consumables and equipment to the construction and refurbishment industries, now across the whole of the UK.  The company’s success lies in an unrivalled range of products, and their ability to remain incredibly competitive, while offering next day delivery on all stocked lines – thanks in part to their relationship with Industore Limited, who have supplied the business with two Hänel Lean-Lifts, complete with HänelSoft, software integration, as Operations Manager, Titus Brown explains:

“Originally, we exclusively used shelving and racking systems for stock storage, which posed increased safety risks and efficiency challenges, particularly when it came to access at height, and sending MHE [manual handling equipment] into the air. Picking items at the top of our racking would regularly take four-times longer than those on ground level.  To overcome these blockers, some years ago, we introduced an automated carousel – but as the business grew and our product line expanded, more significant, advanced and agile solutions were required.  Following extensive market research, we selected Industore as our preferred supplier of AS/RS [automated storage and retrieval systems].  They were clearly the market leaders when it comes to the service provision, and the Lean-Lifts were without doubt, the best in class.”

WATCH NOW: Lean-Lifts in operation at INTERFIX

Meeting the challenge:

Early-on, Interfix recognised common, “user-error challenges” with their product picking, as many differing products were often stored in similar packaging.  This invariably led to costly and time-consuming returns or replacements, as well as risked customer frustration.  To address this issue, Industore specified Pick-To-Light technology to the lifts, which was demonstrated to Interfix as part of their product demo, carried out at our Cardiff Demo Centre.  The Pick-To-Light promptly identifies the location of the appropriate product, highlighting it for the picker by displaying red dot on top of the appropriate item.  To further improve efficiency, Industore specified HänelSoft Software, which made light work of integrating with Interfix’s existing WMS (Warehouse Management System).  Today, HänelSoft provides real-time visibility of inventory levels, optimises stock ordering and forecasting and eliminates the need for manual input.  Perhaps more impressively, the integration allows the Lean-Lifts to autonomously retrieve goods, as orders are actioned.  Synchronized operation of the lifts enables one operator to easily manage both, typically facilitating the picking of up to 1,000 items per day.

Interfix boast an extensive inventory of over 13,000 product lines – of which the highest valued items, as well as the most picked items, are strategically, and safely stored within our Lean-Lifts – each of which measures six-and-a-half-meters in height, in-line with the facility’s maximum available space.  With faultless precision, the Lean-Lifts maximise storage density and save Interfix around 80% of the storage space they would traditionally require.  This is achieved as The Lean-Lifts only require 9.5m2 of floorspace, to achieve 25m3 of storage, by storing inventory vertically.  If Interfix were still using their traditional racking and shelving, they would now require an additional, sprawling facility, spanning 40m2 (about the size of a large bowling green), exclusively for storage.

Interfix’s market research encompassed various criteria, with a particular emphasis on durability, diversity and dependability.  Lean-Lift’s trademark, four-chain system, offers superior load-bearing capacities and extended lifespan, compared to other options available on the marketplace today.  Unlike Interfix’s older-style carousel, which had fixed location types and sizes, Lean-Lifts take change in their stride – offering a truly futureproof solution, no matter what that may look like.

Our dependability stems from our UK and Ireland only workforce.  In the very unlikely event of a breakdown, Industore can provide an unmatched customer service, thanks to our extensive network of engineers and installers, who are dispersed nationwide.  Interfix can rest assured, knowing their nearest Industore engineer is located just a few miles down the road from their Doncaster warehouse.  Not an uncommon occurrence for Industore customers.  Further value was recognised on closer inspection of Industore’s senior leadership team – whose Managing Director, Ross Powell and several other Directors and key staff have been a part of the company for many years – and in some cases, several decades – highlighting a profound knowledge, industry expertise and belief in the product.

The results:

Thanks to a tenacious drive to beat the competition, Interfix, working alongside Industore have futureproofed their organisation for years to come – and continuing their growth, despite several turbulent years in the world economy.  This has only been achieved due to inspiring ambition, and their work with industry leaders and intralogistics experts, Industore Limited – who perfectly specified the ideal product, the Hänel Lean-Lift, to meet the needs (and future needs) of the organisation.  As with all Industore and Hänel products, Interfix’s Lean-Lifts have been made to order, perfectly maximising the height, width and depth of the available space.  More than that, Industore’s design and specification was crafted with the future in mind.  Not only in the most logical position for optimum efficiency and speed of throughput, but with capacity for future expansion of another two lifts.

Key Benefits

Like many large-scale distributors, Interfix still make good use of the racking, but the products stored there are much slower moving, and much less valuable than their counterparts in the AS/RS – as Industore Project Manager, Steve Anderson-Tyso explains:

“Interfix faced a commonplace issue among successful, growing fulfilment businesses.  Demand outweighed capacity.  Without moving premises, which would have been costly and disruptive to business operations, the only way Interfix were going to achieve their ambitious goals was by storing their assets vertically, with sophisticated automated storage.  Installing two, state-of-the-art Lean-Lifts using the full facility height has certainly achieved that, and the HänelSoft integration has really offered that ‘last 10%’ – which provides improved forecasting, ever-faster picking efficiency and 100% stock transparency, 100% of the time.”

Interfix saves around 80% of the storage space with vertical lift systems.
The Lean-Lifts only require 9.5m2 of floorspace, to achieve 25m3 of storage.
Faster picking efficiency and 100% transparency with HänelSoft integration 

The future:

Looking to the future, Interfix were prudent enough to take out an Industore service contract.  This ensures their machines are always operating at tip top performance, and keeps the organisation compliant with their legal requirements under EN 15095 – the European safety standard for storage carousels, lifts and mobile shelving.  Most reassuring to the client, an Industore service contract leaves the organisation safe in the knowledge that in the very unlikely event of a breakdown, they will receive a prompt and thorough response from Industore.  Steve Anderson Tyso concludes:

“As a result of our collaboration with Interfix, significant improvements in productivity and throughput have been achieved.  Most importantly, the company’s customer satisfaction has been boosted, as orders are fulfilled more quickly and now with 100% accuracy.  We are currently working with Interfix to specify an additional two Lean-Lifts – which will empower the organisation to achieve more, as they introduce batch picking processes and procedures to their operation.  Moreover, we take immense pride in knowing that Titus and the wider team at Interfix have already recommended our products and services to their networks – which is a clear seal of approval from such a successful, respected organisation.  I look forward enormously to working more with Interfix in the future.”

Lean-Lifts at Interfix

Industore - Hanel Lean-lift at Interfix
Industore - Hanel Lean-lift at Interfix
Industore - Hanel Lean-lift at Interfix
Industore - Hanel Lean-lift at Interfix
Industore - Hanel Lean-lift at Interfix
Industore - Hanel Lean-lift at Interfix
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