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Logistics arm for leading outsource solutions giant, Reality, installs high-volume automated Cleco systems at three key sites

Leading end-to-end business solutions provider, the Reality Group, has installed some of Europe’s most advanced automated order sortation and picking systems at their three main UK production centres.

The multi-million £ installation, supplied by Cleco Systems Limited in Market Harborough, enables Reality to supply over half a million items a day for its many clients including parent company, home delivery and retail giant GUS (The Great Universal Stores plc).

Reality, which incorporates logistics company, White Arrow Express, provides total fulfillment services for an impressive array of New Economy and traditional clients including Readers Digest, Argos, Norweb, Egg, Orange, Sky, Toyzone, Barclaycard, Book Club Associates, Direct Wines and Playtex.

Bob McShane, a Divisional Director with Reality explains the reasons behind installation of the Cleco systems: “We were looking to replace what was outdated technology with a modern system that could not only improve productivity, reduce overheads and make our warehouse processes more effective, but which also brought real customer benefits in terms of greater picking flexibility, capable of enabling same day order and despatch and greatly enhancing our customer offer”.

Following extensive time and motion studies, new systems designed, developed and installed by Cleco are now in operation at Reality’s Wigan, Worcester and Leeds production centres handling over 20,000 multi-client parcels an hour each.

Items ordered by customers are now selected, bar coded and delivered to the automatic induction lines of the CML handling technology SBIR cross-belt sorter with the help of an overhead gondola system. Induction operators place each item on the induction conveyor which automatically scans the bar codes before delivering goods to one of a number of chutes.

Mobile packing benches run along the face of the chutes and are equipped with bar code scanners and computer terminals which graphically guide operators through the packing process, reporting missing or incorrect items prior to final packaging for delivery. Once confirmed as complete, parcels are again scanned, loaded into courier bags and delivered automatically by carousel to relevant despatch bays. Parcels are then delivered to one of Reality’s 38 White Arrow Express depots country-wide before being despatched to householders and businesses. Depending upon the delivery service chosen by the customer this can be picked and despatched on the same day of order, allowing the parcel to be delivered the next day.

Andy Smith, Sales Director of Cleco Systems Limited, said that from go-ahead to full ‘go-live’, Cleco had completed the mammoth multi-site project well inside the two-year target, without disruption to existing operations.

“The new systems had to be installed at all three UK centres and share commonality regardless of location. The Reality and Cleco design teams had to ensure the best system design in order to maximize the use of existing buildings.”

“Despite the challenges, Cleco is very proud once more to have been able to deliver on time, and within the agreed budgets for another major national client which in turn, will help them achieve and maintain their service promise to each of their customers,” he said.




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LE16 7PZ

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