Predictive simulation and engineering expertise transforms an old factory site into an optimised distribution centre

Due to market and supply chain network changes, our client decided to convert an old factory into a distribution centre. The objective was to modernise and optimise this distribution centre and make it fit-for-purpose with a significant expansion in capacity. Our client faced major challenges in redesigning the layout within the existing confined space. Royal HaskoningDHV was contracted to assist our client in transforming the site from a production building into a future-proof national distribution centre, ready for growth and changing e-commerce supply demands.

The project covered two phases. First a masterplan design was developed to determine the feasibility of the re-design. The second project phase entailed a simulation study to validate the masterplan design and test and evaluate the performance of various operating strategies, logistic flows and engineering design alternatives.



Responsible Regional Project Manager at Client

"Royal HaskoningDHV is a professional company and has the expertise to provide modelling & simulation services in the area of physical logistics simulation."

Masterplan Design

In the masterplan phase, the throughput and site flows were evaluated and analysed from raw data. This determined various options for site flows, and the requirements for racking and automation, docks and eCommerce repacking areas. In this study various alternate layout options for the site were proposed.

Engineering feasibility and cost estimations for each option were added, to fit the design in the existing confined space. The results of the masterplan design included that future site capacity requirements were included in design and automation levels. 

Logistics Simulation Study

The distribution centre design was validated with support of predictive simulation. Various layouts, operational strategies, zoning options, racking systems and MHE types were evaluated in order to optimise the operational efficiency.

The simulation model brought the client insights into design ‘red-flags’. These "red flags" helped suggest mitigating measures for changing the built environment and operational strategy on site.
Furthermore, the site was de-bottlenecked during peak hours by testing various operational and engineering alternatives. This made it possible for the simulation model to identify opportunities for saving OPEX and reducing CAPEX.

Estimated savings are around $500,000 USD in comparison with the client’s initial design.


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