Friday 28th Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Peak picking is child’s play!

When TDG won the Early Learning Centre contract for UK and inbound logistics supporting 260 stores, wholesale channels, direct business and a number of concessions, it faced several challenges. The biggest of these was finding a solution to cost-effectively manage the huge increase in stock throughput in the run-up to the stores’ busiest period at Christmas.

Christmas has a major impact for all high street retailers and the Early Learning Centre is no different. On average TDG provided 125,000 picks per week resulting in 2,000 outbound pallet movements per week for the Early Learning Centre. However, in the run-up to Christmas this increased dramatically to an average of 280,000 picks and 6,000 movements.

TDG had been using a manual, paper-based system to manage the stock but decided to implement a new Manhattan warehouse management system (WMS) to reduce the huge amount of administration required. This new system used wireless data capture as a route to improving pick accuracy and automated replenishment that integrated with its WMS. However TDG was reluctant to invest in volumes of hardware that was only needed for ten peak weeks of the year and would sit on the shelf unused during the normal trading months.

The company was already using hardware supplied by data capture specialist Ryzex to support another one of its contracts and felt that it may be able to help with this one too. TDG contacted Ryzex to see if it could provide similar hardware to that already in use suitable for picking in its warehouse but on a rental basis, thereby enabling it to cover the peak periods without making a capital purchase.

As providers of new, refurbished and rental hardware Ryzex was happy to help. It recommended Symbol wearable scanning devices as they gave the picker use of both hands for picking and scanning and was compatible with the existing hardware used. These were provided as refurbished hardware for use by TDG during the run-up to Christmas.

Additionally, Ryzex recommended additional new Zebra barcode label printers to enable TDG to label products and warehouse racking, thereby improving productivity and further reducing the risk of human error. Since the initial supply of hire equipment to TDG, Ryzex has been selected as the preferred supplier of new equipment to support the introduction of an additional warehouse initiative launched by ELC and managed by TDG.

“Ryzex clearly understood our industry and very quickly understood the business requirements. Their technical competence is high and they have provided us with an excellent solution to our challenge,” says Paul Chappelle, divisional IT director for TDG.

Since teaming up with Ryzex, TDG has been able to offer its client a flexible approach to meeting peak demands without committing to permanent capital investment, allowing it to maintain the high standards of pick accuracy expected by the client throughout the peak and non-peak activities.

“We are delighted with the service provided by Ryzex. They have supplied us with a mixture of fully supported new, refurbished and rental hardware which has enabled us to make significant cost savings in the business without compromising on quality of service,” Chappelle concludes.

Tim Ames, managing director at Ryzex Europe, comments: “Ryzex is delighted to be able to support TDG with its data capture applications. The provision of leased equipment is part of Ryzex’s FullUse business model which is focused on providing our customers with flexible and cost-effective solutions to their needs. This can include trade-in and trade-up of old hardware, leasing, high quality refurbished hardware supply, repair and service contracts and of course the supply of new hardware.”

He continues: “In this example we provided leased equipment to support peaks in the business eliminating unnecessary hardware purchases but we also provided new hardware where this was deemed the best option for TDG. It was clearly a solution that worked as we have now been appointed as TDG’s preferred supplier and look forward to working with them to provide further best fit solutions to their needs in the future.”