Boosting performance at car equipment supplier

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French car maintenance and equipment company Norauto decided at the beginning of 2004 to embark on a business re-engineering project to improve operational productivity, especially in the area of logistics. It also needed to comply with the tracking standards of the automotive sector and improve order accuracy in the fulfilment process to 99.9 per cent.

The initial phase of the project centred on the replacement of the proprietary system that Norauto developed around 15 years earlier. It selected Warehouse Management for Open System from Manhattan Associates. It also decided to go for voice picking using Vocollect’s voice-recognition technology.

Deployment was completed in a period of eight months and the system has enhanced Norauto’s fulfilment operation.

The Lesquin warehouse now handles 12,000 orders each day, involving around 5,000 SKUs. Most orders require a lot of picking of small quantities of parts.

The WMS combined with voice-recognition has enabled Norauto to improve the productivity of its distribution facility, allowing the operation to rapidly ramp up its fulfilment capability to 60,000 orders per week. In parallel, the solution has allowed Norauto to eliminate a significant amount of warehouse administration, optimise inventory levels, streamline inbound goods processing and rationalise the picking process for order preparation.

Laurent Houvenaghel, supply chain projects director at Norauto, says the system “has enabled us to improve productivity in our warehouses as well as the efficiency of our supply chain”.

Order preparation and tracking improved progressively over the first four months of the project.

At the end of this period, the 150 stores served by the Lesquin warehouse reported error rates to have been reduced by 75 per cent, allowing Norauto to reach an order fulfilment accuracy level of 99.9 per cent.

One year ago, 70 per cent of the stores managed the tracking of inbound orders themselves. Today, only 30 per cent of the stores are doing so, demonstrating the improved confidence they have in the distribution centre to prepare orders accurately at the first time of asking and proving that the benefits generated by the new system go beyond the four walls of the warehouse.

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