Cooperation with Leanware has calmed down AIRAM’s warehouse operations that were previously hectic during peak seasons. Now picking is efficient also from a cost point of view, and some of the routine tasks have been automated. The operative costs of the warehouse have decreased by about 25%.
“Our warehouse has never been this calm as it was this fall. The situation is better than it has been in years. There is no back log of orders or unpicked rows and our picking efficiency has risen tremendously. Thanks to this, we have been able to better resource work e.g. for handling arriving goods. Now we no longer have containers waiting in line in the harbor, even though our order numbers are at a record high,” describes AIRAM Production and Logistics Manager Timo Eronen.
Before implementing the LeanwareWMS, Leanware supplied AIRAM with a warehouse efficiency Prestudy. Its most important observation was that picking was very shredded: a lot of one-row picking was occurring at the warehouse. The desire was to develop shelving and picking as well as lower costs. So it was AIRAM’s main goal to make warehouse management more efficient and eliminate e.g. expensive single picking rows.
“It was an unexpected observation. Small orders require a lot of resources, which in turn means that the amount of euros used per picked row grew big,” describes Eronen. Leanware’s Sales Manager Simo Tirkkonen says that AIRAM’s case was particularly characterized by several small orders during the week, which have a great impact on work flow.
“They can’t necessarily be seen in sales profits, but significantly add to the amount of logistics required,” says Tirkkonen.
AIRAM’s previous system did not adequately support warehouse management, and the warehouse had challenges in answering e.g. business deliveries. Increased customer demands increased e.g. the demands set for documentation. The number of picking rows increased along with business growth, and logistics recognized a need for change.
“The amount of terminal picking increased as Inex transferred to it. It tied up resources, as we had to pick each store separately and the employees had to do a lot of paperwork before even beginning picking,” describes Eronen.
The new LeanwareWMS enables the guided group picking of several orders, which improves the efficiency and accurateness of business picking. The minimization of picking errors is also supported by barcode control in picking and packing.
The new LeanwareWMS has made resourcing more efficient, and now the company has the use of precise indicators for monitoring efficiency and resourcing. Thanks to the change, AIRAM has been able to automate manual tasks, such as forming dispatch advice messages needed for business picking. Previously they required an AIRAM staff member and a terminal device in the warehouse, as the messages had to be created manually. Now the system produces the messages automatically.
“We have customers from businesses to wholesalers, and their demands are increasingly challenging. Using the LeanwareWMS, we can produce e.g. the required documents, and the electronic messages are created automatically and reliably now, without additional resources,” says Eronen.
It was AIRAM’s goal to automate work as much as possible. The amount of work has already decreased significantly, starting from processing orders. At the same time, the quality of work has increased and the amount of picking and delivery errors has reduced.
“Now that the system makes sure that the orders are ready to go out, rushed staff is no longer the bottleneck of the delivery. Instead of routine tasks, resources can be used in a more versatile way,” says Eronen.
Warehouse management was also developed previously at AIRAM within the restrictions of the old systems. Cooperation with Leanware became current as the company wanted to take the next step towards more efficient warehouse management.
“AIRAM had already identified several needs for the management of different systems, and the company’s attitude was ideal. There had been active efforts to develop the old mode of operation and investments had been made in it. That’s why the operation was good within the limits, and it was easy to develop it further,” praises Tirkkonen.
AIRAM began searching for a suitable partner for developing warehouse management in 2017, and cooperation with Leanware began in 2018. Leanware was set apart from its competition by its expert knowledge of the business and excellent references.
“The Leanware staff knew a lot about our business area and our customers, they understand the needs of both well. It was also important to us that they had references from our field,” says Eronen.
The partnership that began well is still going strong, as Leanware is AIRAM’s partner in developing in-house logistics. During monthly conversations, a situational review is performed and the next possible development steps are discussed both on process and system levels.
“With regard to processes, development items and their support on a system level have been thought of. When necessary, our consultants are always ready to help, if bigger development areas are identified,” says Tirkkonen.
With continuous development and monitoring, it can be ensured that the goals of the development project are reached and there is evidence of its payback and created savings.
“We will develop the system with Leanware also in the future. They know it well, and they have a robust and systematic way of leading projects,” says Eronen praising the smoothness of the cooperation.