Thursday 27th Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Visibility all important

With more than 200,000 units per day moving through its UK distribution centre, efficient warehouse management is vital to Claire’s Stores. Essential to this efficiency is an RF solution, provided by Psion Teklogix, which ensures goods are moved quickly around the warehouse, while maintaining stock accuracy.

Claire’s Stores, an international specialty retailer offering value-priced costume jewellery, accessories and cosmetics, has 440-plus stores in the UK and Ireland and 190 in France, all of which are supplied from its UK distribution centre in Birmingham.

Rob Iles, from Claire’s IT, explains: “Products come to our warehouse mostly from the Far East and we need to get these processed and delivered to stores in the UK and France as soon as possible.”

When goods arrive at the warehouse the first step is to establish exactly what has arrived and to check this with the delivery notes. Goods are scanned with the Psion Teklogix Radio Data Terminals (RDTs) which have an on-screen display enabling the operator to confirm exactly what the product is and the number of boxes, cartons and units of each item. This information is transferred directly to the WMS which creates a file that is sent to the merchandising system to ensure the delivery ties up with the purchase order.

If this is correct, the merchandising system runs an allocation routine that determines which items need to go to which stores. On average, 60% of goods go directly to the pick face with the remainder moving to rack storage elsewhere in the warehouse.

Iles says: “The RF system is essential at this point because it is vital that we know what items are being moved into storage and where they will be located, either the foot storage area or the main racking area, so that they can be quickly retrieved for further distribution. The goods that have been picked are sent for despatch using our chosen carrier and the system updates these goods so they become part of each store’s inventory.”

David Dolphin, UK distribution manager at Claire’s Birmingham warehouse, adds: “The Psion Teklogix RF equipment is an integral part of our warehouse operation and they have worked very well for us. The operators quickly get used to using the RDTs and it is certainly much more efficient to enable communications with the WMS and merchandising systems directly rather than having to update information through a standard terminal.”

Claire’s has around 40 Psion Teklogix terminals at the Birmingham warehouse and are currently looking at the new 7535 devices.