Lighting up logistics

September 01, 2014 by Kirsty Adams
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For its new DC in Krefeld, Germany, fulfilment expert Wir Packen’s chose Pick-to-Light for its prestigious Nespresso Germany contract. Working to tight implementation schedules, Pcdata successfully installed the system within record time.

Under the adage ‘everything from one source’, German company Wir Packen’s, part of the Cleaver Group and founded in 1990, specialises in the delivery of custom-made solutions for numerous companies from amongst diverse industries. From direct marketing to arranging printed matter, but also taking care of complete logistic processes, the fulfilment specialist is a proven expert in its field.

Wir Packen’s has handled the distribution for Nespresso throughout Germany for both B2B and B2C channels, since 2008. “Before autumn 2012 this was done from our warehouse in Erkrath (Germany),” comments branch manager Theo Bruckmann.
“As a result of substantial growth, we ran out of available space. To maintain an efficient operation and enable further growth, we had to go somewhere else.”

The new location was found in Krefeld where the fulfilment specialist moved into a brand new distribution centre. With a total surface area of approximately 10,000 sq m, of which currently about 8,500 sq m is in use, the new building is more than twice the size of the original site.

The beating heart of the logistic process in the impressive DC is the Pick-to-Light system from Pcdata. “More than 90% of the orders are picked and made ready for shipping using this system,” adds Bruckmann. As an order picking technology, Pick-to-Light is not a new concept for Wir Packen’s, as it was also used in the warehouse in Erkrath. “It is a highly dependable technique.

The biggest advantage is that the quality has substantially improved since working with Pick-to-Light. Our error percentage dropped considerably. We have also noticed that products don’t get damaged as quickly and the number of claims has decreased substantially.
Furthermore, the speed of our process has improved. Our order pickers are now far more productive, which is why we can deliver faster. Any orders placed before four o’clock today will also be delivered today. From this, of course, customer satisfaction will only benefit.”

But there are more advantages. Pick-to-Light is also very simple to use – new employees will be able to master the system in no time, which is a huge benefit to Wir Packen’s. The company operates with a relatively large workforce (approximately 200 people) of varying flexitime workers.

So, it seemed a logical choice and more than enough reason to choose Pick-to-Light for fitting out the new DC. What was remarkable, however, was the choice of a different supplier. Wir Packen’s could have chosen to re-build and expand the existing Pick-to-Light system, but decided to purchase a completely new system from Pcdata.

Bruckmann confirms that it was a conscious decision, not based merely on competitive pricing: “The Nespresso products in The Netherlands have been successfully picked with a Pick-to-Light system from Pcdata since 2010. Their success story and their experience with Nespresso certainly played a part in our assessment.”

The fact that Pcdata is an innovative enterprise also played a part. Continuously developing the portfolio is of paramount importance to the supplier. “We continuously investigate how to further improve hardware as well as software. It is the only way to make the system grow with the wishes and demands of the market,” according to Bruckmann.

Partly thanks to this continuous innovation, the Pick-to-Light system from Pcdata is exceptionally flexible and quick to install. All that is needed is a lightweight aluminium profile and a feed cable (which is clicked into the profile) and the correct quantity of necessary displays. That the displays can be clicked into the cable as well makes it possible to change the configuration in a quick and simple manner at a later stage.

The installation of the system was just as quick and uncomplicated as the Pick-to-Light system itself. “We were operational within four weeks, says Bruckmann.” That’s how long it took for Wir Packen’s at its location to again fully benefit from the many advantages of Pick-to-Light, “which is a very good thing,” concludes Bruckmann, “because without Pick-to-Light we would not be able to meet the wishes and demands of the current market.”

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