Competitive through superior logistics
One of the keys to Arvid Nilsson’s success is its superior logistics practices. The company’s goals is to service all its companies and customers with appropriate warehousing and logistics solutions and by securing efficient, on-time order handling in the most efficient and cost-effective way. In this way, Arvid Nilsson can meet its goals of surpassing customer expectations for all its products and services, while making a good impact on its bottom line profit.
Everyday the company receives around 50 shipments of goods from over 400 suppliers all over the world. The goods are received, checked, warehoused and dispatched within an average of 24 hours. Arvid Nilsson ships 90 – 100 tons as well as receives 90 – 100 tons of goods, from its logistics centre on 20 trucks and operates from 08.00 am to 01.00 am.
Arvid Nilsson has been running Astro WMS for a long time and they are pleased with the system. One of the key features in Astro WMS is the way in which it optimizes picking. "Today we generate picking orders directly in Astro WMS. Astro WMS then tells the picker exactly what to pack and which boxes to pack them into. "Put this article in this box" etc. Pickers can pack up to 24 different boxes on one tour of the warehouse", says Morten Stenshøj, IT Project Manager.
However, it made sense for them to evaluate the SAP WMS solution considering their new ERP system based on SAP. "In the beginning we were very interested in using SAP WMS, as it made sense to implement one complete solution”, says Morten. Morten and his colleagues visited several other companies to see the SAP WMS in operation. "We saw lots of possibilities, especially in the ability to 'plug-n-play' the module directly into the SAP ERP system. What we found was that the system lacked what we needed in certain critical issues that were already facilitated in Astro WMS. Using SAP they would make several separate journeys, taking far more time and making picking more labour intensive”, says Morten. Morten pointed out that SAP WMS is a good solution, but it did not fit Arvid Nilsson’s specific needs.
Needed a future-proof ERP system
The company has been using an in-house system for the last 25 years that was developed by the present IT manager. "We still maintain this system, but as demands grow, we saw the need to buy a large, standard ERP system that would fit all our needs", says Morten. It was a huge task for a company of Arvid Nilsson’s size to keep a proprietary system running, being very expensive to develop upgrades for different purposes. A good example is e-commerce, where the larger standard systems already have solutions available as plug-ins, eliminating the need for proprietary programming. The benefit of buying from major ERP system suppliers is that they have ready-to-use functionality that can be purchased and simply plugged in. "Our strategy was to buy an 'Off the Shelf system' that would meet all our present and future business needs. We chose SAP after evaluating 4 different systems and suppliers", says Morten.
No retraining needed
A huge advantage for updating the current Astro WMS instead of changing to another WMS provider was that the company would not have to completely retrain all its staff. Astro WMS is a proven system that people are pleased with, and can handle easily. The only training costs would be to learn the new functions in upgrades. With SAP the staff would have to learn all over again.
Already integrated with Centiro
Another big plus for Astro WMS was that it was already integrated into the Centiro Transport Management System. Arvid Nilsson uses Centiro for transport management, shipments and order tracking, streamlining the company’s transport flows.
"Once we had made our decision to go with Consafe Logistics, we visited them and talked about the new upgrade, and discussed the implementation roadmap", says Morten. "We will complete two upgrades to Astro starting April 2008. Our first upgrade, from 5.4 to 6.6 will encompass all new features contained in Astro today, including the M2 client. Our later upgrade, 6.7, will prepare Astro WMS for connecting to SAP in our development environment. We will go live with our combined SAP/Astro solution on 29 September, 2008, in our DC in Kungälv, Sweden and at four other sites."
"The only challenge left is to connect the two systems together. Consafe Logistics will have to develop a solution that points between Astro’s xml-based interfaced and SAP’s iDocs using SAPs Process Integration-module, SAP PI, for mapping etc", says Morten Stenshøj. "However, in my experience with Consafe Logistics this will present no problem at all. We have always considered Astro WMS to be at the very edge of Logistics management, and we are now committing to that for several years to come", concludes Morten.