“It is our experience that many IT suppliers rely heavily on recycling existing solutions when they make new projects, yet charging it as new. Apport did not. They said, 'This is our product, we have done it before and we know what we can deliver.”Audun Johnsen, Logistics Manager, Wittusen & Jensen
"We wanted to free ourselves from the ERP system"
Wittusen & Jensen is Norway’s second largest supplier of office supplies and consumer goods for businesses, and one of the company’s stated goals is to ensure their customers a simpler and more efficient everyday life.
In addition, Wittusen & Jensen themselves have received a major restructuring of the warehouse and the introduction of a complete WMS solution from Apport Systems.
The road to the target started in 2010 when Wittusen & Jensen decided to assemble three decentralized warehouses for a brand new central warehouse in Skedsmo just outside Oslo.
“We actually had some modern automated warehouses, but the space was too tight, especially in the goods reception, so we could not further develop the company within the existing framework,” explains Logistics Manager Audun Johnsen from Wittusen & Jensen, continuing:
“When we decided to create a new central warehouse, we also estimated that we needed a full WMS solution instead of our extended ERP solution. We wanted to free ourselves from the ERP system, so that we, for instance, could get balance management at location level in the WMS. “
A fixed price was important
Since Wittusen & Jensen did not find a useful solution with the previous supplier, they began to explore the market for other options. Although there were more candidates in play, the company quite quickly was intrigued by Apport’s total concept, explains Audun Johnsen.
“First and foremost, we got a good presentation of the system, where it was clear that Apport has a basic understanding of storage operations and could fit our needs. In addition, we visited four different companies using Apport’s WMS, and they were really good references,” he says.
Apport Systems work with a fixed price concept, which means that the customer from the start has an overview of the cost of the entire project, and that was an important factor for Wittusen & Jensen.
It was clear that Apport has a basic understanding of warehouse operations and could fit our needs.”
“That probably accounted for 50 percent of the decision. It is our experience that a lot of IT suppliers rely heavily on recycling existing solutions when they make new projects, yet prices them as new. Apport did not. They said, ‘This is our product, we have done it before and we know what we can deliver’,” explains Audun Johnsen.
A tight control of the process
Following the agreement, the specification phase began where the project was planned in detail, and according to Audun Johnsen, the process confirmed that Wittusen & Jensen had chosen the right supplier:
“It was a very professional process with a good and tight management. It is clear that Apport has some skilled project managers, and this gave us a confidence that we would have a good solution.”
The implementation was affected by a delayed construction project on the new warehouse, but after both construction and engineering had come up and running optimally, Wittusen & Jensen has got the warehouse solution they went for.
“It works really well – just as we wanted it to. At the same time, we can see some improvement options that can make it even smarter and speed up. We can make some custom adjustments without affecting the basic structure of the system, because the foundation is built on a good system,” says Audun Johnsen.
Better and more secure distribution
"We have got a better, more efficient and more secure distribution solution," says Audun Johnsen, Logistics Manager, about the warehouse, that supplies all of Norway with everything from office chairs to headsets to first aid boxes and envelopes - from 10.000 pallet locations and 25.000 locations.
Simplification and flexibility
One of the important goals of the new warehouse was to increase the efficiency of the warehouse and it succeeded. Earlier, Wittusen & Jensen had 38 employees in the warehouse, but now 25 employees can handle the same order amount, says Managing Director Camilla Haltbakk.
“We have simplified the processes in the warehouse, so it has become more clear and efficient,” she says.
An important part of the efficiency is due to the fact that Apports WMS is so easy to learn to use.
“New people are up and running with the system, than what we’re used to, and that’s important. This means that we have greater flexibility – we can keep the number of permanent employees at a minimum, and we can also have temporary staff when there is a need for it during high season,” explains Camilla Haltbakk.
Avoiding expensive errors
According to the Operations Manager, Apport’s WMS makes it harder to make mistakes in the warehouse, and this is also reflected in the statistics. Even though Wittusen & Jensen had a high delivery security already, it has now been raised from 99 to 99.3 percent. It may not sound like much, but it is, says Audun Johnsen.
“It is very important. We work with goods that are singularly of low value but are costly to handle, so if we send an incorrect delivery to Northern Norway, and subsequently need to deliver the right one for free, it’s expensive,” he says.
According to Audun Johnsen, delivery security has become the decisive parameter for customers.
“It’s more important that it’s right the first time and is delivered at the agreed time, than it comes lightning fast. We also need to consider the fact, that many of our customers have parallel agreements with our competitors, so if we do not deliver as promised, it’s easy for them to order somewhere else next time,” he says.
When Wittusen & Jensen launched their optimization of the warehouse structure, it was important to have a warehouse that could follow any future growth, and according to the logistics manager, they have obtained just that.
“Previously, we could handle two carriers at the same time, now the number is 7-8 pieces. We have gotten more capacity and overall a future-proof warehouse, so we can handle up to 50 percent growth in order volume in the coming years,” says Audun Johnsen.