The Netherlands-based logistics service provider Reining offers integrated logistics solutions throughout the European market. Reining uses the Consafe Logistics’ WMS SattStore in combination with QlikView 8, a logistics dashboard developed by QlikTech. WMS SattStore manages and controls all stock and the inbound, storage, order picking and outbound activities at its warehouse in Hoogezand ("Kolham") and distribution centre in Tilburg based onthe multi-site, multi-user concept (i.e. processes are carried out for various customers at various locations but all managed from one central server). It also supplies data for the transport planning tools used by Reining’s Transport and Intermodal business units. Reining will eventually be able to offer its customers secured on-line access to their own accounts, which will provide them with up to date information on stock levels and the status of shipments. QlikView is an important management tool developed by the originally Swedish software company QlikTech and installed for Reining by Consafe Logistics. QlikView gives insight into the information that was already present in WMS and the standard data that is collected by WMS. Its primary function is to quickly give a clear and comprehensive overview of the pertinent data, often in graphic form. This involves performance figures of operational systems or employees that can be quickly interpreted, for example by Reining’s logistics staff. The QlikView logistics dashboard operates seamlessly with the WMS SattStore but can also quickly be adapted by Consafe Logistics to communicate with any WMS system or ERP so that the "secret" data already stored in these operating systems can be made more meaningful and visible for managers. Reining has been using WMS SattStore since the early nineties and recently upgraded the software to "open up more possibilities" for its customers. According to Mr. Micha Koster, Warehousing & Logistics Manager, Reining’s strategy is "to provide integrated logistics solutions to customers and buyers throughout Europe. To achieve this, the company has to provide optimal supply chain information; and with our new upgraded systems in place we are ready to meet this challenge". Reining ensures that all information about stock levels is known in real time and can be forwarded to its customers- this concerns not only the stock in Reining’s own warehouses but also the stock levels in the customers’ warehouses. This information includes recommendations to customers about optimising their supply chain activities based on the information collected by WMS SattStore and visualized by QlikView. The combination of the updated WMS and QlikView was installed, tested and implemented in the last months of 2008 and the first months of 2009. Implementation was initially expected to be a problem because of the limited time available to make the switch from "old" to "new" software, but with the help of QlikView, the process was completed without a hitch in less than an hour. The system was only down for 5 minutes!
According to Reining’s management, the results have been "better than expected". Nowadays planners can view all of the company’s activities in graphical format,separately as well as in relation to KPIs, storage capacities, inbound capacities, outbound capacities, etc. All of the physical activities in the warehouses, transport planning, advice to customers and notices to customers and end users regarding ongoing activities are based on this information.
Among the distribution centres’ responsibilities are a number of value added tasks, including compilation of end user packages, repacking of articles, and the provision of country-specific and customs documents. The new Repack module of WMS SattStore, which was developed in close collaboration between Reining and Consafe Logistics, is an important tool that helps Reining manage and direct the preparation, handling and management of all value added activities. "Using RePack really guarantees the traceability of every item, both in the warehouses and during the distribution of physical information", according to Reining’s Logistics Engineer Mr. Niels Buiter. "We always know the exact location of a specific item and we make that information available for our customers", adds Mr. Koster.
Reining is able to fulfill every order from every customer within the customer’s time limits and at a competitive price by using the combination of SattStore and QlikView, the interfaces with the transport planning software and the customer’s ERP (like SAP), as well Consafe Logistics’ KPI software. "By utilizing our own resources and people, as well as the new software, we are able to carry out multiple processes simultaneously at multiple locations for each client and thereby achieve a high level of quality", states Mr. Micha Koster.
The business case
Reining operates on a European scale as a logistics service provider with new WMS
Logistics service provider Reining (Hoogezand, Tilburg, Weener and Budapest) has adjusted its goals with the future in mind. Reining operates on a European scale to fulfill all of the tasks required by its customers, including a seamless supply of information. Regardless of whether a customer is a large firm with a dedicated contract or a smaller firm that makes use of public warehousing, Reining offers fully integrated logistics solutions. This is possible due to the new WMS SattStore and its multi-site, multi-user concept, Reining can control and manage all logistics tasks at every location from just one server, including the planning and managing of order picking, preparation of delivery documents, and informing receiving parties about shipments.
As an independent subsidiary of the Dutch Wagenborg Group, Reining has evolved from a transport company to a pan-European logistics service provider. Transport is still an important part of the company’s business and is carried out in collaboration with the Transport and Intermodal business units.
The Warehousing business unit evolved into an integrated service provider because customers want more than just storage and distribution. An example is the compilation of customer shipments based on end user purchase orders received directly by Reining.
Reining defines the integrated provision of services as "the complete management of customers’ goods". This can be the goods in a customer’s own warehouse (so that the customer needs not invest in its own WMS and planning tools) or in Reining’s warehouses.Furthermore, it involves the storage of raw materials (and delivery of these on demand) and the provision of packaging materials. A range of VAL activities includes the packing of end products in various volumes, the compilation of distribution pallets or other transport packing, provision of country-specific documentation and customs documents and replacing of electrical plugs, etc., to fit local requirements.
Of course Reining covers the complete distribution to and from the customers’ or end users’ locations. This includes orders received directly from our customer’s customers (end users) and reporting to our customers on supplied products. Reining processes returned deliveries where necessary and ensures an accurate and complete flow of the corresponding information upstream (to the customers) and downstream (to the end users).
The customers, the sources
Reining stores raw materials and end products for customers in the hygiene, paper and steel industries, among others. Producers of food products, electronics, plastics and automotive parts are also among Reining’s customers.
Thanks to the close collaboration with its parent company, Wagenborg, Reining can handle every transportation assignment. Its own Transport business unit has over 450 trucks, offices in Hoogezand and Tilburg and transportation hubs in Budapest (Hungary) and Weener (Germany). The Intermodal business unit is based in Hoogezand and provides transportation through inland waters as well as overseas in containers.
For the storage of goods, Reining has more than 100,000 square metres of capacity. Each year, a total of about 500,000 pallets are processed at the Tilburg and Hoogezand ("Kolham") sites. At both of these locations, additional activities take place such as order picking up to item level, packing and repacking, compilation of customer shipments (item and pallet level) and attachment of necessary documentation. Other VAL activities are also implemented as needed.
Throughout these processes WMS needs to know each item’s number and storage location. The latter could be at one of Reining’s warehouses, at the customer’s own warehouse, in a truck on the road or in a container loaded onto a train or ocean-going vessel. The WMS also needs to know whether additional handling is required (VAL activities) and if so, when this will be possible. Moreover, the WMS has to know where storage capacity is available and what the ‘best before’ dates are of specific products (considering transport times, interim storage periods and selling times). All this information must be forwarded to transport planners, the customers (so they can replenish supplies) and the end user (for expected delivery times). The administrative departments of Reining, its customers and any other logistical links in the supply chain must also be informed. Reining is active in dedicated warehousing as well as in public warehousing. Every assignment is completed with the same care and efficiency.
Reining chose to invest in a new version of WMS SattStore by Consafe Logistics because of the flexibility of this logistics package. To ensure that more than just a handful of employees know "everything" there is to know about this software, and to prevent this knowledge from disappearing in the event that these employees are temporarily or permanently absent, Reining also invested in its own Competence Centre. Here all knowledge and experience related to WMS and other software are brought together, documented, managed and supplemented or updated, and user instructions are produced. The Centre also compiles handbooks, organizes courses and passes on the knowledge and experience gained by more experienced employees to new employees.
Logistics Engineer Mr. Niels Buiter is responsible for the Competence Centre and for optimizing customers’ processes . Mr. Buiter explains that the Competence Centre was established directly after installment of the new WMS. He was given this opportunity based on his participation in the project team responsible for managing the upgrading of SattStore and in the working groups that prepared the groundwork for this implementation.
According to Mr. Buiter, Reining invested over 1 million euros in the new software and in the related expertise of its employees in order to fulfill the goal of being a ‘fully integrated logistics service provider’. An added advantage of the knowledge compiled by the Competence Centre is that it enables him to advise his customers on how to optimize their supply chains.
The previous version of SattStore was developed specifically for Reining and had in the meantime become outdated. New functions could not always be quickly and effectively added to the package, so the decision was made to upgrade. The new "multi-site, multi- user" version of SattStore enables Reining to manage all locations – including those of its customers – from one server. It also enables Reining to quickly enter new customers along with their specific wishes.
Micha Koster states that the new version of SattStore can be described as a "standard system which is expandable in all directions because of its modular concept". One of the most important innovations in Mr. Koster’s view is the newly developed RePack module. This module was developed by Consafe Logistics in close co-operation with Reining employees to be able to trace goods from the moment of receipt in the warehouse all the way to when they are placed on a pallet and dispatched from the premises.
"Complete traceability is necessary because we handle goods from various suppliers for various customers and in a wide range of volumes", according to Mr. Koster . The new module enables this because it records the bar codes on item packages that are scanned at the points of receipt, storage and order picking and keeps records of supplier information, time and date of receipt, storage location and period , pallet on which the goods were dispatched and the address and time of delivery.
Of course the use of QlikView is also an important upgrade for Reining because this tool gives a clear overview of all internal and external activities. Reining can now inform every customer immediately about the results of their logistics performances. The new software also gives Reining the same insight into its own performance, thereby allowing management to intervene quickly when needed.
Last but not least…
The integrated approach to logistics services is demonstrated not only by the management of goods at any location, but also by full tracking & tracing, and the distribution of all relevant information related to every task. These various aspects are summarized by Reining’s Team Leader in Marketing & Sales Mr. Michiel Kuizenga in a simple statement: "We distribute physical information". Of course Reining takes care of any physical handling of goods, but it is also responsible for the flow of associated information internally and to all chain actors. Successful fulfillment of these integrated tasks is ensured by the implementation of the new WMS and add-on software.
"The system can also register the position of any trucks and with that information for example recalculate estimated times of delivery", explains Logistics Engineer Mr. Buiter. All trucks are equipped with GPS board computers that relay in real time information about their location, speed, etc., to the home base. The transport planning software communicates calculated arrival and departure times to SattStore, which uses this information to calculate stock information, picking planning or delivery information for receiving parties or customers.
Manager of Warehousing & Logistics Mr. Micha Koster says that "an important added value of Reining is its proactive attitude to its customers and their end customers". Through this modern information system, Reining is ideally equipped to anticipate new developments and respond to expected changes.
Lastly, Mr. Kuizenga says: "We offer a dedicated solution to every customer for public conditions". This is only possible through the application of state of the art ICT tools like SattStore, QlikView, the RePack module and the various interfaces for faultless data communication with every other software package.</