Elektroskandia is one of Europe’s major electro-technical wholesalers. Its keys to success are excellent customer service, the best customer reach and the most efficient supply chain. Since 1999, the company has been part of the Hagemeyer Group, one of the largest international distributors of electrical materials.
Elektroskandia has over 100 years of experience in selling electrical materials. The company sells goods for around 2,500 MNOK and employs more than 320 employees. It has 23 outlets in Norway.
Logistics creating advantages
The company sees great benefits brought by leading-edge logistics. It needs to effectively manage 500 suppliers, 6,000 customers and over 18,000 articles in stock and offers a next-day delivery guarantee to most of Norway. Elektroskandia sees a well thought-out and well-developed logistics system from DC to the smallest or most remote customer as crucial for success.
Supply security is of prime concern for Elektroskandia, and is extremely important for planning their activities. Consafe Logistics has helped Elektroskandia by replacing its old paper-based WMS system with the automated, scalable Astro WMS.
"We needed help to become more efficient and have better control overview of our stock," says Alf Akselsen, Warehouse Manager and responsible for the warehouse upgrade project. "Before installing Astro we had a paper based system. We had large discrepancies in actual and assumed stocks. We needed to reduce picking faults and be more efficient in driving down costs".
Upgraded DC in Oslo, Norway
The heart of Elektroskandia’s logistics system is their DC in Oslo. This is where Consafe Logistics has helped by upgrading logistics routines and implementing Astro WMS, together with voice picking and truck mounted Trafficom computers.
Optimising picking rounds
Elektroskandia and Consafe Logistics have developed a system that maximises picking rounds. Previously, order flows come in but the company never knew how many goods needed to be picked so trucks have often been half full during the picking round. Today, Astro holds back picking rounds that are incomplete. When sufficient parts of an order are available to maximise the picking round, Astro releases the order to picking. This has increased efficiency and led to a 25% reduction in manpower costs within the truck pick handling area. The system has increased total warehouse efficiency by about 10%.
"Astro now gives us statistics for everything," says Alf Akselsen. We work with greater speed, fewer picking faults, and the ability to handle increased numbers/volumes per day with the same staff.
Contact since 1998
"We first evaluated Consafe Logistics in 1998 when we held a pre-qualification process for several WMS suppliers. Consafe Logistics was chosen, but work was put on hold when Hagermayer bought our company," comments Alf Akselsen. "We resumed pre-qualification talks after a few years where Consafe Logistics were forced to compete with global logistics suppliers. We again chose Consafe Logistics because they offered several advantages. They have a proven system for Automation and a fully integrated system that brought together Astro WMS, voice picking, and the Centiro transport management system. Consafe Logistics’ local presence also made communication much easier."
Unique voice control system
Elektroskandia has implemented a unique combination of paternoster machine, and automatic lifts with voice control. The system gives operators full handsfree control of all functions. This has led to much faster and more accurate picking, increased safety and much better ergonomics, as operators can concentrate of all their tasks.
Quickly achieved goals
Elektroskandia achieved its goal of at least 10% increased picking accuracy within the first year.
"The main benefit from automating our warehouse is being able to drastically reduce discrepancy between physical and theoretical stock", comments Alf Akselsen. "Wall to wall accounting is now gone as it is performed by Astro. Zero accounts saved the company half a million Norwegian kronor overnight. We also halved the number of wrong picks".
The more orders that come in, the more efficient the system becomes. Now the company has 10% more order lines yet handles these increased volumes using the same personnel.
Improved working hours
Elektroskandia places tough requirements for lead times between order cut off and when the first shipment leaves the building. All order lines are picked and dispatched on the same day. 45% of orders are received between 2.00.pm and 4.00.pm so the company uses two shifts. The afternoon shift used to finish at 11.00 pm. By improving order handling and picking routines, shifts can be overlapped, enabling more people to work at the same time.
Outstanding Project Management
"We were extremely impressed with the project group," says Alf Akselsen. "The Project Manager was outstanding. He was always very open and frank about issues and clear about what they could achieve and when they could achieve it. One demand that Elektroskandia placed on Consafe Logistics was that there should be no errors or issues when the system was handed over, and this really happened."
"All in all Consafe Logistics did a great job," says Alf. "We use a lot of Astro functions and have one of the most complex Astro setups. Yet everything works to our expectations. We are looking to expand the use of Astro even further and are in contact with Consafe Logistics about this," concludes Alf.