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Marley Alutec Introduce Gravity Fed Racking

Marley Alutec, The UK leader in innovative aluminium guttering, rainwater drainage and eaves solutions, contacted Exporta looking for help and support in improving the layout, processes, and efficiency of the extrusions warehouse operation in Bedford.

The main issue was that the range had grown over time and processes had changed. New lines and ranges were added, and the racking was extended on an ad-hoc basis over several years. The result was a well-stocked warehouse that operated perfunctorily but was not aesthetically pleasing, or as efficient as the business and management team who run the operation would have liked.

Kevin Stanley, Head of Operations and Customer Service said:

“Our challenge is to become an agile Operations / Warehouse facility in order to meet our changing customer demands. Reduced Lead Times is one such challenge and one that we are meeting head on. We have had to adapt and change our racking and setup to accommodate improved lead times, new ranges and colours over the last few years without disrupting the operation in any way. This has meant ad-hoc changes and making do with what we have had available or expanding some racking or shelving as needed. It means that our site was not set up to be as efficient as we would like it. Having worked with Exporta in the past I knew we could work together and provide a solution using their knowledge, support and inspiration.”

Don Marshall, who worked in supply chain operations and warehouses before joining Exporta, visited the site in Bedford to see what might be possible. There were several further changes to the operation and range planned, which needed to be taken into account when considering a solution that made order picking and replenishment as efficient as possible. Discussions and initial ideas from the team at Marley Alutec included various scenarios including some form of gravity fed racking solution.

The main solution for the first phase and area for improvement was to be one of the fasted moving range areas. The initial idea that came from the team at Marley Alutec was to look at some format of gravity fed system that could accommodate the existing recycled bale arm crates, and that worked within the budgetary constraints. This solution meant replenishment could be executed from the back of the racking and picking from the front, avoiding congestion, and keeping both processes efficient and separate.

Exporta created the project’s design, but it was a team effort between Exporta and Marley Alutec to develop and agree upon a final solution. Once agreed, the first bay of the new gravity-fed racking was ordered as a trial section and installed so that it could be tested and adjusted accordingly before the full area was installed.

The initial trial was a success, and with a few tweaks to the design, a larger section was ordered for installation. This larger configuration was trickier to install and setup correctly, as the installation was not as straight-forward as we had hoped. With discussion and brainstorming amongst Exporta and Marley Alutec, the installation was completed and the gravity-fed racking fully installed and operational.

Don Marshall, Head of eCommerce & Fulfilment at Exporta said:

“This was a great project to be involved in. From the start, we knew it would not be easy to find a simple and effective solution within the agreed budget and site constraints, but we managed to pull it off and create a more efficient and leaner picking and replenishment operation in one go. Now we are looking forward to phase two where more innovation will be required.”

Ultimately, a leaner and simpler operation is now in place due to some clever design and working collaboratively with the operational team.

Kevin Stanley, Head of Operations & Customer Service at Marley Alutec said:

“We are really pleased with the outcome. It was not easy turning the concept into a fully working setup and getting it configured correctly. However, we worked together to produce a new and better way of working and look forward to working with Exporta again in the future.”

The Finished Setup

If you have an operational hurdle or you want to improve the efficiency of your operation but are not 100% sure of where to start, then why not get in touch with the experts at Exporta. The initial consultation is free and under no obligation, they guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

You can reach Exporta via the website via Freephone 0808 301 9312 or on email

About Exporta:

Exporta is the place to come if you need to MOVE IT, STORE IT or SECURE IT. They provide products and services to help businesses save time, save cost, and ensure compliance. They do this by supplying products such as plastic pallets, storage containers, pallet boxes, crates, load securing items, racking & shelving, and a full range of warehouse equipment. 

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