“We expect investment payback even within a year”

When companies begin digitalizing services and solutions and bringing in new technology for processes, they often fear that the payback times for investments are long. The situation is, however, completely different for Kauppahuone Harju. The almost 40-year-old import and wholesale company expects payback form the warehouse management system renewal even within a year.

“For us, in-house logistics means that goods come in and goods go out. Our main business consists of the ‘what’ and ‘how’ happening between those two events, such as shelving, picking and shipping. Doing all of that efficiently and sensibly creates profits for us,” Kauppahuone Harju’s CEO Timo Harju states.

Kauppahuone Harju wanted to digitalize this in-house logistics chain. Timo Harju emphasizes that when the volume of moving goods is high and most of the work is done manually, the chances for mistakes are high.

“We wanted to find a system, which would steer the item flows properly. We had noticed that the ERP did not have the brains for this. Using digitalization, we wanted to reduce the amount of steps taken in the warehouse and optimally use the warehouse space available. In other words, we want to grow without investing in more warehouse space at this point.”

Smaller order sizes and more frequent deliveries as a trend

Kauppahuone Harju’s Warehouse Manager Ilkka Kannisto says that the current trend in wholesale is that customers buy smaller batches and order more often. This means more work for wholesalers.

“We have to make our warehouse management more effective in order to stay in business and keep growing in the future. The growth of e-commerce has also changed our business and we have agreed with several online merchants that some of the orders are dispatched directly from us to the end consumer,” Ilkka Kannisto says.

Kauppahuone Harju has had some good years of growth, and CEO Timo Harju describes the warehouse staff as a great team.

“Even though we were already doing great, digitalization still brought a lot of good development to our situation. The same group can now do work directly connected to the delivery of goods to the end consumer more smartly, and this also makes the work more meaningful.”

15 minutes of instruction – unbelievably easy!

At Kauppahuone Harju, the automatization of warehouse management was realized as an approx.  three month project. Timo Harju has good things to say about the cooperation with Leanware.

“The project was remarkably well led, and we received a bunch of skilled people from Leanware to work on the project. The team’s experience really brought us benefits through clarity and continuous consultation on how the project should be managed,” Harju praises.

Warehouse Manager Ilkka Kannisto concretizes the easiness of the new system.

“We take on agency workers on a seasonal basis. The onboarding of a seasonal worker with our manual system was difficult and no-one could master the use of the system even after a few weeks. The regeneration implemented by Leanware means that all things are now clearly visible to warehouse staff on their tablets and onboarding seasonal workers takes only 15 minutes,” Kannisto says.

Leanware Oy’s logistics solution Sales Manager Ekku Ristilä praises the client’s commitment to the project.

“It was important to us at Leanware that we have everything in order before Kauppahuone Harju’s spring season began in March. The project was successful because the customer understood very well the importance of the project and knew what benefits a warehouse management system produces,” Ristilä emphasizes.

Kauppahuone Harju’s Timo Harju encourages wholesale businesses to understand the complete business picture, the trends of the trade and, through that, the benefits brought by digitalization.

“Look at the situation of your warehouse, what is the stock value and turnover rate. At what stage are the product lifespans. We sought Leanware’s analysis already for this. When compared with our experiences with ERP projects, this was a much more agile and productive project. In short, very recommendable in comparison with the investment,” Harju says.

Kauppahuone Harju reacted to smaller wholesale order sizes by automating in-house logistics together with Leanware Oy

This is how Kauppahuone Harju’s WMS project progressed

Starting situation:

  • The Proteus ERP system was changed for Oscar 2016-2017
  • There was still a lot of time-consuming and mistake-prone manual work

The need is concretized:

  • Contact with Leanware begins
  • With the use of the new ERP, Kauppahuone Harju saw the benefits of LeanwareWMS more clearly
  • A visit to the nearby Fysioline Oy logistics center was convincing

Project start – ready in three months:

  • The LeanwareWMS project began towards the end of 2017
  • Optimization of the entire goods flow

Kauppahuone Harju is a family business founded in 1979 and based in Tampere. The company is a DIY supply wholesaler and importer. Their wide selection includes tools, machines and supplies for home, garden and leisure activities. The products of Kauppahuone Harju are sold in, for example, supermarkets, department stores, webshops and car and spare part sellers.