Paragon Simulation client Wedgwood



Paragon used the model to confirm and demonstrate the cause and extent of the problems envisaged on overall centre operation of their new multi-million pound automated storage and retrieval system.

Wedgwood is famous throughout the world for its fine china products and excellent customer service. The founder, Josiah Wedgwood was born in Burslem, Staffordshire, in the heart of the English potteries. He served his apprenticeship as a potter before setting up his own business in 1759.

As part of its supply chain improvement programme, Wedgwood was planning a major investment at its 135,000 sq. ft. global distribution centre in Staffordshire. This facility handles up to 100,000 items a day from a diverse range including tableware, glassware, jewellery and other gift items. The aim was to improve customer service, increase efficiency and to cut manpower requirements by more than 50%.

Wedgwood had commissioned a new multi-million pound automated storage and retrieval system that was already designed and part-constructed. An external systems integrator had been engaged and Wedgwood had outsourced the operational management of the new system but, during the build, Wedgwood began to entertain serious doubts that the new system, when finally commissioned, would work properly in conjunction with the existing material handling system.

Wedgwood decided to act to head off the possibility of a major operational problem.


Wedgwood’s Business Improvement Team called in Paragon to analyse the problem before it was too late. Paragon was asked both to model the system and to operate the model for Wedgwood to help them analyse and solve the problem.

Paragon constructed a model of the existing storage and conveyor system and of the system control logic of the new automated storage system in order to simulate material movement and the behaviour of each system and the interaction between them accurately. The model was animated to allow Wedgwood to pin-point bottlenecks in the system that would delay compiling orders and create congestion.


Paragon used the model to confirm and demonstrate the extent of the problem on overall centre operation and, importantly, to diagnose the causes of the problem.

Working closely with Wedgwood, Paragon then evaluated a range of Wedgwood’s ideas – including changing process routes, extending conveyors, and changing control logic – to rectify the design issues. The process animation helped Paragon to locate problems quickly and to identify the causes for Wedgwood.

To test the changes, Paragon then bombarded the model with different movement volumes (hundreds of large orders per day) and product mixes (thousands of different SKU {stock keeping units}) representing critical points in the business year, to ensure robust design. The results provided by Paragon were then used as a basis for Wedgwood to negotiate for changes with the systems integrator before final commissioning started.

The major operational problem that Wedgwood had feared had been averted.

Find out how Paragon Simulation can maximise your productivity through virtual scenario modelling