Air Conveyance Unit Capacity Optimisation for Asendia
A joint venture between La Poste and Swiss Post, Asendia provides international parcel services and mail services for businesses, with significant growth in the ecommerce sector. Its main UK hub operation at Heathrow comprises two distinct operations: a mail centre and an air conveyance (trans-shipment) unit (ACU).
Receiving inbound mail from the Asendia mail centre and from other international mail operators, the ACU had to accommodate unprecedented volumes of mail during the peak 2016 operation. Additionally, the profile of volume passing through the facility has been changing, with an increase in the number of small packages being shipped.
The mail and parcel distributor asked o&i consulting to assess its current operation, help deliver solutions to make best use of available capacity and recommend system changes to more closely support the proposed operational processes.
Our team conducted a series of observations and measurements of all process flows through the warehouse operation involving the receiving, screening, sorting and dispatching of mail bags, packages, caged and containerised goods in the Heathrow ACU facility.
This provided us with sufficient detail to evaluate the layout of the operation; understand throughput, productivity and service performance; map the ‘as is’ flows to identify constraints and restrictions; and quantify the existing facility capacity.
As a result of our research, assessment and analysis, we identified a combination of solutions to enable Asendia UK to improve the efficiency of its Air Conveyance Unit and enable it to function effectively through the 2017 peak period, and also meet future foreseeable postal industry demands.
A lean assessment of current processes enabled us to identify waste in the operation, which subsequently provided the basis for creation of a set of efficient, updated processes and the identification of ‘quick win’ opportunities. This included recommending the use of metal roller cages to reduce manual handling and improve efficiency for the flow of goods through the warehouse from an x-ray, via a conveyor and sort to cage operation; goods then flow from cages to outbound vehicles for deliveries around Heathrow. Modelled against existing performance, it was possible to quantify how these changes would increase capacity and therefore enable the operator to more effectively manage peak demand whilst improving service levels.
As part of the project, o&i recommended revised shift patterns to better cover the workload and improve service levels and developed performance report templates to enable the operation to effectively track its performance. We also worked with the Asendia team to scope IT requirements which would better support the operation.
In parallel to the operational improvement work, we established a “non-operational” working group to identify improvement opportunities in areas where the operation interfaced with other parts of the organisation, such has IT, finance and commercial.
Throughout the project we worked closely with the client, leading regular working and steering group meetings to ensure the senior team remained aware of issues and our recommended changes, and had the opportunity to provide timely feedback before changes were finalised.
“Asendia UK contracted o&i consulting for a review of one of our business units (Air Conveyance in Heathrow). o&i conducted the project in a professional manner, coordinating and cooperating with members from various Asendia teams, while achieving all targets established within the agreed timelines and budget.
Asendia would highly recommend o&i consulting for any similar projects.”
Luis Barros, Production & IT Director, Asendia
Data analysis and modelling
Process engineering and optimisation
Equipment assessment and identification of alternative solutions