Gebrder Cox GmbH was established in 1988. It's a medium-sized wholesaler for pot plants and flowers, with 65 employees serving 3.000 customers in 7 European countries and a focus on Germany, The Netherlands, France and Italy. Cox has subsidiaries in Lllingen and Trier and is said to be the largest private warehouse in Germany. Cox sells its products to florists, garden centers and through various other dealers. In Geldern-Lllungen, Cox offers 98.000 different products on 6.000 square meters and has a daily turnover of 10.000 articles. Since September 2008 the company has a second site in Trier with 2.000 square meters. The sales is organized with auctions, mobile sales via trucks directly and the usual sales in Trier and Lllingen.
Customer specific need
Large scale dealing in flowers and plants is subject to seasonal fluctuations. To perform business at best, Cox is dependent on an efficient and faultless run of sales. The old system where sales people still worked with paper forms caused a lot of overhead, both in the field and in the back office departments.
Also, the process was very prone to error since each sale had to be documented into central PCs. Besides the sales part, Cox also faced issues in their stock receiving process. Delivery notes had to be processed into the central ERP system and then a label had to be printed, which was then used to store the good and prepare it for sales. This rather time consuming process also hindered staff to control the quality of the delivered goods fast enough, although this is of utmost importance, as the quality is certified according to the ISO-standard. A consistent and exact assessment of the supplier is essential. Considering all these requirements the sales and stock processes of Cox had to be significantly altered. To do so, Cox joined forces with AISCI Ident GmbH and Unitech.
In order to reduce the customers' time of waiting and to achieve higher figures in sales Cox opted for a new concept of mobile data transfer. AISCI Ident GmbH advised Cox and provided the necessary hardware. Important prerequisites of a suitable hardware solution were the ability to read barcodes, a WLAN and WWAN radio on board for immediate data transfer and a big screen to capture customer signatures. Unitech's PA600 perfectly applied to these requirements. Thomas Behr, project manager at AISCI Ident GmbH explains: "The Unitech PA600 uses different kinds of wireless gadgets to connect to Cox' ERP system. The direct data exchange guarantees a permanent and accurate position of the host system". To improve the stock receiving, AISCI developed an individual mobile receiving terminal for Cox. In Lllingen they now use two scales which use barcode scanners, robust touch screen terminals for industry and two powerful label printers. The core element of the new system is a delivery note with a barcode, which the driver hands over together with the goods.
This barcode contains all the necessary information, right from the start of ordering. When receiving the goods, the barcode is scanned so the staff member can easily control the quantity and quality of the goods. The system recognizes and registers any discrepancies with the original order. The mobile sales staff of both subsidiaries of Cox is now able to connect to the central ERP system via WLAN in buildings. Also, due to the integrated WWAN module (GPRS/EDGE), mobile staff is able to make connections outside the four walls as well. The immediate data processing of each sale makes a subsequent handling error at the PC redundant. The length of order processes is shortened as well, since customers acknowledge deals immediately with a digital signature on the display, thus simplifying the whole process. Borg has been completely satisfied with this solution proposed by AISCI, making use of Unitech hardware. This good relationship runs for years now, making that Cox didn't even consider other suppliers for this project.