Hytera DMR solutions are helping Wincanton, one of the UK’s largest logistic companies, to manage its warehouse distribution operations more effectively, and enable staff to communicate easily while adhering to social distancing measures.

The Project

Wincanton Plc is the largest British logistics firm. It provides supply chain consultancy, storage and warehousing solutions and transport and logistics services to top brands in the retail, consumer goods, construction, dairy, defence, industrial, fuels and energy sectors, among others. It employs approximately 19,100 people across more than 200 sites and has a 3,500-strong fleet of vehicles.

The key Wincanton accounts are retailer sites that specialise in trade tools, accessories, and hardware products. Wincanton manages the retail distribution centres in Stafford, Trentham and Lichfield, which service both trade counter and home delivery operations. Wincanton recently opened a new, purpose-built 128,000 sq. ft distribution centre in Stafford to support retailer's growing logistics requirements.

The Stafford site will support retail customer proposition through its peak period and enable staff to continue to stay safe at work by observing social distancing guidelines as volumes increase. The demands of the new distribution centre come on top of the additional volumes that Wincanton has taken on through its shared user network during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Challenge

The main challenge was to overhaul and upgrade the communications estate to ensure business continuity could be maintained. The new communications solution also had to be capable of expansion, so the system could continue to provide the necessary support to the sites as they grew.

Wincanton wanted the digital two-way radio systems to be implemented at the new sites to access the superior voice quality. They also chose a pseudo-trunking solution to maximise channel capacity and to support the dynamic assignment of channel resources.

A further requirement of the radio system was that it should both improve operational efficiency and also enhance the health and safety of employees. Wincanton also specified the use of reliable devices to support inter-team communications across the various warehouse areas, and to help improve team safety initiatives and operational KPIs.

The Solution

Hytera partner Radiocoms Systems Ltd recommended trialling a Hytera multi-site Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) repeater system at one of the retail sites first to see how it performed. Pleased with the result of the trial, Wincanton purchased a DMR system for each of this retailer's sites. The DMR systems run independently on each site with additional repeaters installed to support expanded coverage and to eliminate blackspots.

The Hytera PD600 Series hand portable radios have now been deployed at five Wincanton sites, including most recently at the Prologis Park Distribution Centres, where they were installed in August 2020.

A mixture of devices are used on site including PD600 non-keypad and keypad variants with individual, group and broadcast calling and text messaging for keypad terminals with display screens for smoother communications between teams. The particular type of hand portable distributed depends on the employee’s job role and function.

Hytera DMR terminals were chosen as the Wincanton staff liked the form factor of the handsets and because the radios supported the functionality they required. The radios help staff rationalise all the products across the retail accounts. The set pricing structure, familiar engineering, trust in the product and the service provision from Radiocoms also played a part in the selection process.

The Results

The new DMR two-way radio system is helping Wincanton to monitor and reduce costs. Two-way radios provide the ideal workplace social distancing tool, as employees can make individual or group calls from wherever they are working, which helps to minimise movement around the warehouses.

Wincanton now has a solution that works for retailer sites and Radiocoms has been selected to replicate this at three other sites since the original installation took place. Proof of the positive effectiveness of Hytera DMR solutions.

Wincanton now has a solution that works for this retailer's sites and Radiocoms has been selected to replicate this at three other sites since the original installation took place. Proof of the positive effectiveness of Hytera DMR solutions.

“Thanks to the consolidation of the portfolio for the retailer sites, the teams at each site can now share information proficiently across a reliable communications network. As a result, this has led to increases in efficiency, thereby decreasing downtime and improving day-to-day team safety, including the introduction of social distancing protocols across the five sites.” Paul Jenkins, Senior Business Manager, Radiocoms Systems Ltd

As part of a major expansion to one of our customer warehouses in 2014, our existing analogue radio solution was found to not have the physical capacity to provide sufficient coverage for the new site profile. Working with Radiocoms we identified and tested the Hytera DMR solution and successfully deployed it as part of the extension project. Subsequently, we then mirrored the solution out to our Stafford and Lichfield sites up to 2020, as the product is solid, cost effective and scalable to our needs.

Adam Davenhill, IT Systems Manager
Wincanton Plc
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14 January 2021