BILTEMA powers new Distribution Centre with WMS from Consafe Logistics

The company has opened a new 50,000 sq.m. DC in south Sweden and purchased a WMS from Consafe Logistics that was installed, tested and on-line within a few days.

BILTEMA is one of the largest suppliers of automobile parts, accessories, tools and chemicals in the Nordics. The company has stores in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark that are primarily run as franchises. Since its start in 1963, BILTEMA has grown to sales of around 3.5 Billion SEK. There are more than 40 BILTEMA stores in the Nordic countries and 60-70 stores are planned by 2011. Today, BILTEMA buys around 70% of its goods from Asia and sells around 15 000 articles. The range is increasing fast and includes cycles and accessories, computer and mobile phone accessories, paint, building tools, kitchenware, suitcases, etc.

BILTEMA’s IT system was over 20 years old and the management decided it needed to completely overhaul its logistic practices to power its aggressive expansion plans. The company has amalgamated its warehousing capacity to a new 50,000 sq.m. Distribution Centre in Halmstad, south Sweden and installed a WMS from Consafe Logistics. The DC opened in January 2007 and the new logistics system gave direct increases in efficiency.

Immediate benefits from new WMS

Previously, BILTEMA’S picking routines were controlled by an older system that was not optimized for Warehouse Management. Once articles were picked they were manually registered and it was difficult to confirm exactly what had been sent and to where. Warehouse personnel had problems compiling proper picking lists as the old system did not perform this effectively. There was no adequate traceability from picking to dispatch and arrival at the final destination.

The company installed a modular WMS from Consafe Logistics that enabled them to quickly bring on-line the functions they needed. The major benefits BILTEMA experienced were greater warehouse control, full traceability, greater picking accuracy and optimal usage of storage space in their Distribution Centre.

“The changes we have implemented have made a huge difference to our logistics routines” , says Kent Frennersson, Logistics Manager for RETLOG, BILTEMA’s logistics subsidiary. “Our previous system was not coping with the increasing volume of goods we are handling. Now our picking routines are extremely secure with hardly any faults. That’s great when you consider we handle 100,000 pallet places along 9.3 kilometres of truck aisles”.

Measurable effects

Goods are now picked at the right time, in the right order and picking lists can be optimized according to volume or weight. Consafe Logistics is helping BILTEMA reach its target of increased pallet picking by up to 30%, and gain efficiencies through better replenishment and picking algorithms, real time management, picking to order and resource allocation.
“Better picking routines mean a lot less work afterwards”. Comments Kent Frennersson. “We no longer have to spend time and a considerable amount of money putting right things that should have been done right in the first place”.

Problem-free implementation

The WMS was installed, tested and brought on-line in just a few days, a process that was remarkably trouble-free. The system started on Monday and goods-in flow was increased by 10-15% per day until it reached optimal efficiency during several days of ramping-up. Everything in the warehouse is new: machines, routines, and except for a few key personnel, all the staff – which is a testimony to the work done by both Consafe Logistics and BILTEMA to ensure good design, implementation and staff training. “Implementing the WMS exceeded all my expectations”, says Kent Frennersson. “Everything went without a hitch and the end result has really been fantastic. We are very pleased with the end result”.

Radio network measured by experience

One dilemma BILTEMA faced was how to measure radio frequency and plan for requirements and equipment, and still bring the system on-line according to time scales. It was impossible to perform radio measurement in a warehouse that did not exist. The project was put in the hands of Consafe Logistics’ specialists who could draw on many years of experience for similar projects to measure and plan radio capabilities. This was fixed and tested, and radio communication worked without a hitch throughout the warehouse. BILTEMA purchased a WLAN system from Consafe Logistics.

New projects on the way

The supply solution that Consafe Logistics has provided to BILTEMA has been well received and is considered a great success. So much so that BILTEMA plans to use Consafe Logistics and its products for upcoming projects. “The cooperation we have built up over time enables our combined projects to run smoothly”, says Magnus Hallbeck, Sales Manager at Consafe Logistics. “We are happy to say that this joint understanding will lead to new projects in the future. I am very proud to be able to contribute to BILTEMA’s continued growth”.

Benefits in brief

  • Goods picked at right time in right order
  • Picking lists optimized according to volume or weight
  • Increase pallet picking by between 10-30%
  • Improved replenishment and picking algorithms, real-time management, picking to order and resource allocation
  • System installed tested and ramped-up within days
  • Radio system design and implemented in parallel with building process, saving time