Fiege provide world class logistics solutions including warehousing, bulk shipping, transportation and added value services to some of the worlds leading brand names including Samsung, Hoover Candy, Electrolux, Bosch Siemens, Argos, B&Q, Littlewoods and many others. The implementation of a new track and trace solution from Ryzex has made a substantial improvement to the business.
Founded in 1873, the Fiege Group employs 16,000 people in 159 operating locations in 19 countries and has an annual turnover in excess of EUR 1.5 billion. Fiege UK employs over 1,200 people at 24 locations throughout the country and has annual sales of 60 million.
Fiege UK were providing a competent integrated shared-user network for Retail and Home Delivery of domestic appliances and other bulk items, but the systems used to manage this operation were inadequate and were constantly being questioned by both the management team and FIEGEs customers. This caused major challenges for the business, as Declan Connolly, CFO, remembers; It was difficult going to see customers. In many cases they could disprove the information we produced, so we were worried about the quality of the information we were producing.
Paul Clarke, CEO Fiege UK, recalls other difficulties. We deliver 22,000 items to 16,000 homes every week, and when we were handling the business purely with paperwork it was extremely complicated there would be paper flying everywhere, and it was very difficult to control that level of complexity.
Fieges operations rely on fast turnaround and accurate stock management, with accurate information detailing the location of its products. Not having this information readily to hand caused problems, as Declan verifies. It was simply impossible to grow. We knew we had to put a solution in place, and we knew we had to do it quickly. Everyone was clamouring for change; customers wanted solutions, and they were being offered solutions by other companies. We had a good track record in home delivery but we didnt have an IT solution. We knew we were losing stock and were having more damage then we should.
Major changes were needed to improve the speed and accuracy of information, and to reduce stock loss. Paul wanted a solution that met the needs of the customers and the business, and also provided a key differentiator to its competition. It was difficult for us to convince our customers, and potential customers, that we were the right company to deal with for their home delivery solution. If you cant show 99.99% accuracy, its difficult for them to see any difference between you and the rest of the playing field.
Fiege put together a list of requirements and approached Ryzex plc, a multi-vendor reseller of pre-owned, refurbished and new barcode equipment, to see if it could help provide a mobile computer to meet its new business objectives. The initial specification included the ability to scan securely and reliably both at source and at the customer drop-off and the ability to record customer deliveries in real time and obtain an electronic Proof of Delivery (PoD). Additionally, Fiege wanted Satellite Navigation (SatNav) for the drivers and the facility for its customer services team to track and trace deliveries for the customers. Finally, the mobile computer needed to be extremely rugged and larger than the previous Symbol terminals used which were prone to theft and needed an in-cab cradle that could be moved easily from vehicle to vehicle for use in leased vehicles.
Ryzex proposed that Fiege moved to Intermec Colour 700 wireless mobile computers (pictured left), which would give the security, ruggedness and functionality needed. Running Windows CE the units could leverage TomTom satellite navigation software giving the drivers the navigation they wanted. Additionally, the units run on both GSM and GPRS so could leverage Fieges choice of the Orange mobile phone network, for making calls and to send back data in real time to the customer services team. Finally, Ryzex proposed a portable suction cup mount for the unit that is easily attached to the windscreen and would be ideal for use in the leased vehicles. It was a simple idea, but it added real value to Fiege.
Since implementing the solution Fiege is now able to manage the flow of data much easier, and control has been re-introduced to the working processes. For the customers and management team, real time reporting is providing instant decision-making capabilities. For Paul Clarke, defining the benefits is quite straightforward. We have fewer losses of product so were paying less money to our customers for products missing in the supply chain. We have lower levels of damages, better online delivery performance, and the ability to solve problems on the doorstep.
Payback has been swift, as Paul confirms. The more effective use of this number of vehicles out on the road has meant that the payback on investment has been quick Id say within 6 months. Its been a tremendous success.
Other benefits include immediate productivity gains for the depots, with the ability to track and trace all inbound and out-bound deliveries. Real time estimated time of deliveries can be provided to customers from all locations. Greater PoD accuracy has also been obtained with all depots now achieving 100% accuracy on a regular basis. SatNav has helped the drivers and the business considerably by reducing route times by 1 hours in a single day.
Ryzex has provided a comprehensive support programme to ensure that all areas of business are covered. There is a dedicated support email for returns, as well as a dedicated repair representative to fix or swap out any damaged units. Ryzex is able to provide Fiege with a 24 hour emergency exchange service, buffer stock and a repair contract managed in partnership with Intermec.
Declan is clear as to why the project has been such a success. In my mind its very simple: its about proactivity, nothing else. Ryzex had a piece of kit that was rugged and solid, but its the people that drive the solution. If they hadnt been proactive, they wouldnt have been picked.
Paul Clarke knew what he wanted in a technology partner. There is one thing that is very, very important when youre dealing with a technology company can they explain the technology, the reason for doing things simply, easily and to the point? And Ryzex can. I think as a group of people they have great integrity, theyre tremendous to work with, and they provide simple, straightforward answers. And what they say they will do, they do.
A measure of the projects success is that Fiege is now going to deploy the system into their European operations. The code was written so that it could easily adapt to different delivery regimes and new customer needs, so with a minimum of rewriting, the system will also fit Fieges sister companies.