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Room to expand: PDS opens doors on new storage and fulfilment facility
There was a different atmosphere at the Wellingborough HQ of Print Data Solutions Ltd when we caught up with commercial director James Portsmouth to hear the latest news from the expanding print, design, and sourcing business.
The bustle and industry of the PDS logistics and fulfilment departments has been re-located to new warehouse premises just a few streets away on the Park Farm Industrial Estate, affording client services, creative and administration teams more space to expand at Regent Park. We asked James what was behind the move, and how this new facility will benefit existing and potential PDS clients and affect how the business operates in the future.
What has changed at PDS and what is happening at Sinclair Drive?
“We’re delighted to have moved into our new warehouse facility at Sinclair Drive which provides us with a 50,000 sq. ft of space that can accommodate 5,000 pallets. It also contains a purpose-built area for our rapidly expanding fulfilment service. We have been experiencing increased demand for storage capacity for some time and the acquisition of this facility enables us to scale stock and fulfilment operations for our clients with greater pace and efficiency.
“Coupled with new business wins, we had forecasted the need to increase the volume of stock for clients making advanced orders of printed materials and associated collateral to get ahead of anticipated cost rises and market-wide challenges. In addition to printed matter, clients ask us to source and store Point of Sale (POS), exhibition and events material and non-standard stock because we are best placed to select what they need, and deliver it as and when required, lightening their load, and leaving clients free to work on other business-critical matters.
“At Sinclair Drive, we have been able to design our space and workflow to meet clients’ needs as well as our own, so we can offer more flexible solutions and respond with greater agility and efficiency. Since we moved into the warehouse, our team has been busily working to transform the space and move in all our equipment.”
How will PDS clients benefit from the new warehouse facility?
“More and more of our clients are looking to join forces with PDS as a storage partner, clients are able to limit their own capital investment commitments and save on costs by sharing storage space or using it only when required. They can save time too, as well as money, by keeping their stock in a single location. Fulfilment processes become much more streamlined and the timeframes for distribution can be reduced.
“Clients who commission our services to source printed materials benefit from access to our warehouse facilities by reducing the production-to-storage timeline. We can hold raw materials and finished stock in the same location which streamlines clients’ processes, enabling them to increase the speed and efficiency of the order call-off procedure.
“We understand that clients may have a variable requirement for storage space, and fluctuating demand for their materials. Access to our facilities enables them to scale their storage needs to accommodate demand as their business grows. Our reputation means that clients can trust us to look after their materials and handle them with care to avoid any damage or wastage. With a 24-hour live-monitored CCTV system in place, clients can rest assured that their valuable stock is always protected and secure.
“Partnering with PDS means clients can request bulk storage of multiple SKUs or ask us to hold a single line item. With visibility of clients’ stock ranges, we can review their supply chain and make recommendations to help them achieve efficiencies and make cost savings.
“Clients also benefit from access to our bespoke online order management portal that has been developed to enable greater transparency of their stock of print and materials, access to powerful reporting capabilities and an option to build their own bespoke items through web2print technology. Our system, called PDS+, has an asset management facility, and an image and artwork archive which gives users an invaluable overview and helps them to maintain professional guardianship of their brand.”
What trends within the sector led PDS to acquire this new facility?
“Over the last few years, UK businesses have been required to be a lot more robust in their approach to logistics, especially if they are handling exports to the EU. Since Brexit, World Trade Organisation (WTO) codes apply and there is more administration than before.
“It is easier now to outsource tasks associated with logistics to save time enabling clients to focus on other tasks”.
“Lead times on some materials have been increasing with regional and global pressure on raw materials, and the geo-political situation can exacerbate delays. Orders require greater foresight and planning to ensure security of print due to ongoing pressure on capacity. This was significantly squeezed following a prolonged period of industrial action in Scandinavia earlier this year. Some paper mills switched production to accommodate rising demand for cardboard packaging to fulfil e-commerce orders after these increased during the pandemic.
“We have also seen a resurgence in demand for exhibition materials as in-person events have resumed. Managing events logistics is a time-consuming and complex process involving multiple items that need to be picked, packed, despatched, and delivered to meet time-critical deadlines. This is a circular process because materials also need collecting when the exhibition closes, and clients ask us to collect, and re-sort any unused items and return them to stock so that they can be easily accessed for the next event.”
“Demand is increasing for a 360-degree solution that also incorporates reverse logistics.”
What impact is the new warehouse making on PDS?
“We had organically outgrown our premises at our Regent Park headquarters and our existing nearby bulk storage facility was operating with limited space which became challenging for our teams. Having carefully considered our medium to long-term space requirements, linked to our growth plans, we embarked on a significant investment. We took the opportunity to review our entire storage needs for our clients while maximising space management to future-proof the facility. With access to 1,500 pick faces, teams are able to handle manageable quantities and work more easily with smaller items.
“We have worked closely with our logistics and fulfilment teams to ensure that our new facility meets their needs and there has been a great deal of excitement about moving in and starting to enjoy the benefits this has to offer.
“Acquiring this new warehouse space has enabled PDS to turn the spotlight onto its own environmental impact and commitment to reducing carbon emissions. Through the certified Planet Mark scheme PDS are committed to reducing carbon emissions by five per cent each year, to support this we have installed passive infrared (PIR) motion-sensor lighting at Sinclair Drive, meaning that we are optimising our energy use.
“With our storage and logistics consolidated into one facility, there are now far fewer vehicle movements which contribute to lower carbon emissions. Meanwhile, back at our Regent Park office base, we are moving forward with a plan to install solar panels to reduce our energy consumption.
“Ultimately, the acquisition of the warehouse at Sinclair Drive has enabled us to future-proof our business with an investment that will help us to grow in the long term and assist clients with their own business efficiency and productivity.”