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“When we did it all manually, it took about a month to train a new employee. Today we have hired a new employee. He was taught up only yesterday.”

Rune Midtrud, warehouse manager, Relekta
Background

Growth targets made warehouse optimization necessary

Relekta is the market leader in goods for repair and maintenance in industry, and the Norwegian company has a goal of growing by 10-15 percent each year.

"Given our growth strategy, logistics are crucial. If it's not in perfect shape, we simply cannot handle growth, so we're fully focused on it," says Rune Midtrud, warehouse manager at Relekta.

Previously, Relekta printed picking lists from their ERP system, resulting in a lot of manual maneuvers, and over time, the complexity of the warehouse had exceeded the ERP system’s capacity.

“We have 1,700-1,800 warehouse slots and goods located externally on two other warehouses. We had increased the staffing and worked overtime, and manually we could not stretch it anymore.

We could not hire more people because we would just start to get in each other’s way,” explains Rune Midtrud about the Relekta’s background for choosing to look for a WMS solution instead.

Previously, Relekta printed picking lists from their ERP system, resulting in a lot of manual maneuvers, and over time, the complexity of the warehouse had exceeded the ERP system’s capacity.

Choosing Apport

The need for a deep understanding of logistics

For Relekta it was crucial to find a supplier who could understand the company’s special needs.

“We have a lot of things, that we specially tailor to customers if they need something that is not available in our range. We wanted a WMS supplier who understood our challenges and generally had a deep understanding of logistics. We quickly realized that this was the case with Apport. All of their people have a background in logistics, which means that you get a real sparring partner who can help look at one’s own logistics with new eyes and come up with new solutions,” says Rune Midtrud.

The fact that Apport works with a fixed-price concept, also contributed positively to the decision

“This kind of of concept is commiting, and it goes to show that you have both the power and the will to carry out the project on time. It is important that we can trust that our partner is a driving force in such a project,” says Rune Midtrud.

All of their people have a background in logistics, which means that you get a real sparring partner.”

Anchoring in the organization

Strong training of the users

The actual implementation of Apport WMS was created in an interaction between Apport, the ERP provider, an integration specialist and Relekta's own people from IT, procurement and warehouse.

"It became very complex, but when we had got a claim specification and all agreements in place, it went well. We reached our goal according to the plan, and it was efficient work from all included parties. Apport had a good follow-up during the implementation and we got the project well started with both our management team and project group, so everyone could see the value in the change," says Rune Midtrud, who also emphasizes Apport's training of the users.

“Apport was 100 percent present during the training of the super users, and when we started using the WMS for real, Apport was also here to help us with questions that arose,” says Rune Midtrud, who points to Apport WMS’ ease of use as one of the major benefits:

“When we handled it all manually, it took about a month to train an employee. Today we have hired a new employee. He was taught up only yesterday.”

The results

Increased efficiency, fewer errors

For Relekta, the switch to Apport WMS has meant an optimization of the warehouse in a number of areas.

First and foremost, the efficiency has sky-rocketed: fewer people do more work in less time.

Previously, the company had 9 permanent and 7 temporary staff, now there are 8 permanent and 5 temporary staff. At the same time, the volume of line items have increased by 8 percent and internal production increased by 18 percent. And, more importantly, overtime is no longer a problem.

Relekta has a lot of focus on eliminating picking errors, and Apport WMS has greatly contributed.

“We have some article series that are complex to pick. The products are similar and it’s easy to make mistakes, but with our new WMS, you cannot pick until the WMS has approved that it is at the right location and is the right item. That means we have more than halved our picking errors to 0.5 per mille,” says Rune Midtrud.

We have more than halved our picking errors”

Relekta fought before the introduction of Apport with a cumbersome counting process, which meant that the warehouse was shut down the first three working days each year.

This gave a lot of overtime and the days after the closure were characterized by chaotic, manual follow-ups on orders. Now Relekta works instead with rolling counting, which ensures them a continuous overview of inventory status.

On the very low-level plan, the introduction of Apport WMS has reduced the stock’s paper consumption by 70 percent, as it is no longer necessary to print picking lists and packing lists.

Overview of goods and processes

No item gets to be too old

Part of Relekta's goods - such as adhesives and sealants - have a specific shelf life and must be treated according to the first in, first out (FIFO) principle. This was difficult to control manually, which meant that during the counting, pallets appeared with goods that could no longer be sold due to the expiration date.

“A pallet of sealant costs 80-90.000 kroner, and it was such goods we either had to give away or discard. Now, instead, I can draw a list of items that are nearing expiration, and I can send it for sale so that they can run a campaign on the goods,” says Rune Midtrud.

An overview of the warehouse processes is, according to Rune Midtrud, one of the major advantages of implementing Apport WMS.

“If a customer says he is missing something in a delivery, I can run an outline of the order and see exactly what we have picked when, what we have shipped and what the customer has received. That way, we can check if we have made mistakes and we can also see when it’s actually the customer that is mistaken. It gives a completely different quality in our follow-up work,” he says.

The perpective

A future collaborator

Relekta are moving to a new warehouse in 2019, and Rune Midtrud sees Apport as an important sparring partner in that process.

“I see before me, that we can develop our processes even more and maybe also switch to voice-picking. We still have many things we can get better at, to get the full effect of the system. In this context, I expect Apport to be an important partner,” he says.

 

Rune Midtrud
Facts about Relekta
  • The Relekta group is the market-leading supplier of repair and maintenance products for workshops, industry and construction industry in Norway.
  • More than 100 employees.
  • A great focus on working environment, including being voted "Employer of the Year" for the European Business Award (EBA) in 2016. Acquired by Indutrade AB in 2015