RedPrairie’s Warehouse Management system has automated activities at De Post - La Poste’s central warehouse in Belgium.
The administrative process for the receipt of goods has improved, goods are stored more logically in the warehouse and picking routes have been optimised.
This greater overall efficiency has enabled De Post - La Poste to considerably increase staff productivity since the system’s implementation in June 2007. Post offices throughout the country benefit from faster and error-free product deliveries.
A need for a better overview of inventory levels
The central warehouse of De Post - La Poste stores all supplies for post offices across Belgium. It receives an average of 2,000 orders a day.
Stocks include 900 different items of apparel, more than 1,000 types of products sold at postal windows (stamps, parcel packages, etc.) and over 2,000 consumables for internal use in post offices. The items are stored in three buildings.
“Each building used to have a separate system to manage its inventory,” explains Kurt Persoons, Supply Chain Manager at De Post - La Poste.
“We had to allocate one person full time per building just to prepare the order picking tasks and define routing. Because there was no coherent system to the location of goods, our working methods were slow and resulted in frequent errors and no clear overview of inventory levels."
RedPrairie meets business requirements
To address these issues, De Post - La Poste decided to acquire a Warehouse Management system. “We chose RedPrairie based on their good track record with similar projects,” states Kurt Persoons.
“RedPrairie’s local presence in Belgium was also a decisive factor. In addition, they were able to provide us with French instructions on the user interface and hand-held devices.”
De Post - La Poste’s new Warehouse Management system handles all inbound stock, warehouse management and order picking processes.
Incoming goods are automatically allocated to their optimal position in the warehouse, based upon the frequency of their demand. High rotation items are placed so that they can be easily accessed by the picking staff.
“Even before goods arrive, their placement is known, so no time is wasted looking for an appropriate spot,’ says Kurt Persoons. “Because the exact status of all items is continuously updated, there is now complete visibility into inventory levels.”
More accurate and faster item deliveries
“RedPrairie increased warehouse productivity at the Belgian postal service by 50%,” says Kurt Persoons, Supply Chain Manager, De Post - La Poste
“With the new system, order picking routes are systematically optimised, even allowing for multiple orders to be prepared simultaneously,” says Kurt Persoons.
“Post offices now benefit from faster product deliveries. Orders received before noon are dispatched the same day.”
“Because the system used in the warehouse has resulted in fewer picking and dispatching errors, post offices are also certain to receive the goods that they ordered. As a result, their stock-outs have diminished and service to customers has improved."
Flexible staff allocation
The same system is now used in all three warehouse buildings, greatly increasing flexibility. “Staff can easily be switched from one building to another to cover peaks in demand. The work floor staffs are pleased with the system, particularly with the user-friendly hand-held device.”
“Ease of use means that new or seasonal staff can be rapidly trained. After less than a year of using Warehouse Management, we have already recorded a productivity increase of over 50%," states Kurt Persoons.
Greater working efficiency
“Paperwork has been reduced by almost 100%, with most instructions now given electronically on hand-held devices. This has virtually eliminated errors and enabled us to reallocate four full-time equivalents to more productive tasks.”
“The little paperwork that does remain primarily relates to purchase order forms, an area in which Warehouse Management also provides flexibility," adds Kurt Persoons.
“The fields contained on the purchase order forms can be easily configured to improve traceability, for instance.”
Warehouse Management also provides a clear overview of staff activity at the end of the day. It indicates such things as the number of orders processed and the time it took to process them.
“When using the system, we discovered functions that we were not aware of before the implementation, but which have turned out to be useful,” points out Kurt Persoons.
“One among these is the system’s chain function. When the warehouse receives an order for an item that consists of several sub-items, the system automatically plans the picking of all sub-items. This greatly facilitates the work of our picking staff and accelerates the picking process.”
Open and productive collaboration
De Post - La Poste also appreciates the working relationship with RedPrairie. “Throughout the implementation project, RedPrairie proved to be a reliable partner,” adds Kurt Persoons.
“As in all projects of this scope, there were some difficult moments. But RedPrairie’s experts were always present at crucial times and ensured that the project was completed according to plan.”
“Through regular status meetings and open discussions on pending issues, we were able to efficiently move forward. We have a positive feeling about both the RedPrairie team and the software," says Kurt Persoons.