Case study

WSL delivers the whole package for Moonpig!

WSL is over the moon having successfully completed a recent large scale project for Moonpig.com! Discover how this ultra-bespoke solution was brought together by the WSL team, and how the experience and talent across our Technical Design and Engineering teams meant that the needs of this customer focused operation could be prioritised and met without constraint…..

Moonpig project annoucement advert

From the beginning

Founded in the year 2000, Moonpig.com is a brand we all recognise, if not just for the signature melody featured in the company’s iconic commercials which have been aired on our television screens since 2006.

The desire for accessible customised gifting has always existed but was never easy to access until Moonpig’s formation began to close in on this unexecuted market. Owing to advances in digital print technology, Moonpig became the UK’s first online card shop and the prime mover behind the concept of choosing, personalising and sending greeting cards electronically.

In 2009 Moonpig introduced card-attached gifting and today offer an expansive gift range inclusive of food, drink, toys, novelty items and flowers with personalisation options.

As the population stayed home to stay safe during the 2020 pandemic there was no choice but to turn to the internet to buy the goods we needed and wanted, and this resulted in brisk growth for Moonpig. With established proficiency in online commerce, this was an opportunity that enabled Moonpig to push its leading market position even further. Today, Moonpig remains focused on driving growth through sound investments to help promote operational endurance and long-term proficiency.

Expanding capacity

Moonpig customers are now experiencing more personalisation than ever before, resulting in a greater frequency when it comes to repeat purchasing. Because personalisation is at the very heart of the outputs offered by Moonpig, it was decided that the logistical operation would be taken back from third party logistics, and brought in-house.

Being behind the scenes, the logistical operation is not seen by the customer, however it does have a dominant effect on customer experience. By taking control of the logistical procedure that follows the personalised experience on the platform, Moonpig ensures that attention remains on the customer and that personalisation continues to be a priority.

Ultra-personalisation through elevated logistics and fulfilment

Bringing such a vast logistical operation in-house would require a significant amount of space and so the hunt for new industrial premises began. Moonpig soon acquired a 9,200sqm warehouse in Tamworth where it sits advantageously close to the local Royal Mail Hub. With the new space confirmed along with the prospects of convenient shipping avenues, the next step for Moonpig was to explore storage solution options that would provide effective operational support and space maximisation.

Moonpig empty warehouse

An ultra-bespoke solution by WSL

Moonpig approached WSL and another two other providers; however it was our client-centric design techniques that gave prominence to the solution formulated by our Technical Designer. The plans demonstrated that every aspect of Moonpig’s requirements had been considered by our Technical Designer, and there was a positive indication that time had been taken to understand those needs. Storage capacity on the WSL plan was much higher than originally projected and this was owing to the extensive knowledge and expertise of our designer. It was instantly recognised that Moonpig could take even greater advantage of their new space. The plan also confirmed that more specific needs could be met through the skills and talent of WSL’s fabrication engineers who operate under the same roof as our designers in our UKCA accredited manufacturing hub. Close collaboration amongst our teams allows for more flexibility and innovation where even the most complex or unusual requirements can be met.

A combination of multiple systems had been carefully designed and configured to create an ultra-bespoke solution that would support every aspect of the Moonpig operation:

5760 no. VNA pallet racking locations

By implementing the VNA racking system, high capacity storage could be achieved without compromising on the space needed for production. Moonpig required adequate storage for stock in high volumes with the ability to access the stock easily, and VNA racking was the most effective way to achieve this. The racks are built to ceiling height which increases the number of levels at which pallets can be stored, and the rows sit outside a much narrower aisle width which increases row quantity. VNA racking is purposefully designed to maximise vertical space, whilst making better use of limited floor space at the same time. Without the tall racks and narrow aisles, the pallet racking locations achieved would have been far less than 5,760 and very soon, many pallets containing vital stock would have had no dedicated storage place.

Moonpig VNA Racking

232 no. Wide aisle pallet racking locations

For the Moonpig project, the wide aisle racking system quickly became known as “chocolate racking” and not because it is made from chocolate components, but because the system was being designed to store palletised chocolate products. In actual fact, wide aisle racking is made up steel beams and frames and is the simplest design with the most versatility when it comes to pallet racking types. The racks provide suitable storage for any palletised product type, and are easily adjustable to meet changing needs. The system was purposely designed to be constructed beneath the mezzanine floor where the space is at its coolest and driest which is the perfect environment for chocolate storage.

12 no. Fork lift trucks

Where there is warehouse racking there’s always a fork lift truck (FLT). The two join forces, with pallet racking facilitating secure pallet storage and the FLT aiding the movement of pallets within the warehouse including transporting, picking and loading. As a new warehouse with the implementation of new solutions, Moonpig required two new truck types that would suitably support the operation. In total, twelve trucks were provided with some dedicated to operating within the narrow aisles of the VNA racking system whilst the rest were to operate around the rest of the warehouse, including the aisles of the wide aisle racking.

2000 no. Pick bin shelving locations

Placed on the mezzanine floor level to aid production activities, this solution consists of long span shelving with integrated pick bins. Long span shelving is a simple and robust system which can also be adjusted at any time, should inventory requirements change. By incorporating pick bins, Moonpig can better manage the smaller items needed as part of the production process, keeping them secure and preventing them from being mixed up or becoming lost.

Shelving on mezzanine level

1 no. Goods lift

A goods lift was implemented to help aid the movement of goods between the ground floor and mezzanine level, whether that’s trolley, loose boxes or pallets. Whilst not suitable for passengers, operators on both floor levels work as a team to ensure effective management of goods traveling in the goods lift, in terms of loading and emptying the lift.

Solutions that were manufactured by WSL

The following solutions were manufactured in our factory in accordance to the design specifics, our UKCA certification and to the highest quality and safety standards as a manufacturer with Full SEMA Membership:

1672sqm. Mezzanine floor with associated staircases and edge protection

The mezzanine floor is a very significant element of the warehouse design, because without it, the ground floor footprint would have become overwhelmed with too many functions. The mezzanine floor which has two access stairways and a three rail edge protection system has created an entire floor of usable space and is utilised for production and storage.

Mezzanine under construction

3 no. Pallet gates

Pallet gates allow operators to place pallets onto the mezzanine floor level using the FLT from the lower ground, without interruptions to the edge protection. The up and over pallet gates designed and manufactured by WSL for the Moonpig operation will ensure that anyone in the vicinity whilst a pallet is being loaded will not be at risk of falling. Even whilst the gate is open to allow a pallet to be placed, the clever design allows protection to continue around the activity.

105 no. Workbenches

Even a workbench can be bespoke! This is why WSL produced 105 workbenches in accordance to Moonpig’s specifications. This includes the height of the benches, as well as the width, length and colour. The benches have been placed to assist the operation on both the mezzanine level close to the shelving systems, and below the mezzanine close to the “chocolate racking”

Bespoke Workbenches

Cantilevered pick and deposit stations

Pick and deposit stations (P&Ds) are an optional feature of a VNA racking system. For Moonpig, these simple yet highly effective auxiliaries will allow a much faster operation for times when speed is critical. P&Ds enable the quick pick and placement of pallets by allowing the specialist VNA slim line truck to remain between the racks where it operates most efficiently whilst the much faster counterbalance truck transport the pallets beyond the VNA racks. Whilst operating in the areas they are most efficient, both trucks work in collaboration by using the P&Ds to exchange the handling of the pallets.

Installing the vast Moonpig solution

The key to avoiding complication when installing such a vast solution consisting of multiple systems, whilst working alongside other trades, is forward thinking and careful planning. This is how the WSL Project Manager leading the Moonpig installation was able to do so successfully. The project was broken down into separate sections to allow our teams and other trades the space and time required to complete their own installations without disturbing each other. And due to the various types of installations, it was decided to focus on one build at a time to prevent the site from becoming over-run by multiple activities at the same time.

The mezzanine floor was the first solution to be constructed, with a patterned installation process which meant other trades were unaffected. The completion of the mezzanine floor installation meant that the wide aisle (or chocolate) racking could be installed next, followed by the VNA racking system. Installing one system at a time relieved pressure and also meant the installers had adequate space to lay-out and prepare components.

Are you looking for advice on an upcoming project? If so, you are certainly on the right page! Discover the real possibilities and the true capacity of your operational space! Call our team today on 0113 2045350 or email sales@wslmail.co.uk to arrange a free site survey with one of our experienced Technical Designers.

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