Smarter warehouses

Jasper Verhaart, Project Manager Supply Chain at Van Leeuwen Pipe and Tube Group, has been working at Van Leeuwen’s head office in Zwijndrecht for more than four years. He manages change projects and operates as the link between head office and the various branch(es) in Europe. 'I find it extremely challenging to contribute ideas about smart, strategic solutions designed to improve the distribution network,' he says. In 2022, Jasper was involved in the renovation of the Van Leeuwen Czech Republic warehouse in Vyškov, which is scheduled for completion in June 2023. 'Back in 2014, we observed the beginning of a steadily increasing demand in the Czech region and this strong increase in demand persisted until 2018. In the meantime, demand steadily outgrew warehouse capacity,' says Jasper. 'This is when we started to develop construction plans to renovate the warehouse and in 2021, these plans were finalized. Of course, we first investigated the potential return of such an operating investment. We clearly expect a lot from this.'

Work started in January 2022 and since then warehouse capacity is being expanded in phases by 5,300 m² to a total capacity of 18,300 m². The warehouse has not only been enlarged, a honeycomb storage and order picking system also has been installed. Jasper: 'This enables us to very efficiently store the pipes and tubes. In addition, the system is partly automated. It very quickly brings customer orders from the warehouse to the operator at the picking station. This enables us to very efficiently pick the orders and to even better serve our growing customer base in the Czech Republic and in surrounding countries, such as Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Poland.'