Together with the Dortmund-based intralogistics system house proLogistik, the internationally operating Falk & Ross Group has successfully modernized the existing logistics center in Celrà, Spain. The central challenge within the scope of this complex project was the migration to a current version of the warehouse management system pL-Store®, with minimal impact on the daily business. This standard software enables the company to supply its numerous customers on the domestic and neighboring markets with goods of the desired quality quickly and reliably, even in the long term.
With more than 30,000 B2B customers and a range of around 60,000 articles, the Falk & Ross Group is one of the leading wholesalers of promotional textiles such as T-shirts, jackets, bags, caps, scarves and gloves as well as workwear and sportswear. In addition to an attractive product and pricing policy, the company, which was founded in 1981, convinces with a combination of international strength and an understanding of the requirements of local markets. The availability of goods and short delivery times are ensured by state-of-the-art logistics infrastructures in Germany, Spain, Great Britain and Poland.
Through its logistics center in Celrà, Catalonia, which it has been using since 2015, Falk & Ross primarily supplies B2B customers based in Spain, France and Italy. The building complex includes several halls in addition to the incoming goods department and the outgoing goods department. Three are equipped with shelving and two others are designed as high-bay warehouses with a total of ~70,000 spaces.
In the high-bay warehouses, the so-called “sky area”, order picking is carried out with the support of narrow-aisle stackers. The plant is completed by so-called reserve halls, in which palletized goods are kept in stock.
With the aim of aligning order processing more efficiently across the board and also being able to take account of new market requirements, the company there upgraded the CTL-based warehouse management solution pL-Store, which was no longer up to date, to a new version of the software in August 2018. “This jointly mastered migration project is practically another milestone in our long-standing partnership with Falk & Ross,” reports Jörg Sänger, Managing Director of the Dortmund-based intralogistics system house proLogistik. “The warehouse management system has proven itself, but with the increased demands of mail order logistics, an update to a new Java-based version of pL-Store was necessary.”
Software as a core element of a cross-site strategy
The changeover was also part of an internal Group strategy to roll out the current application, which was first introduced at the subsidiary BTC Activewear Limited at the Wednesbury site in 2015, to the other sites in Europe. “Software for warehouse management and material flow control that is standardized across the board prevents system breaks, creates transparency and enables a reliable flow of information,” explains Tobias Brügmann, Head of Logistic-Systems at Falk & Ross Group. “However, the particular advantage of pL-Store® is also that a large number of relevant functions for mail order logistics are already included in the software as standard.” This also saves valuable time, because only the necessary, company-specific WMS modules need to be integrated.
Mapping complex processes and mastering them operationally
Following the award of the contract at the beginning of 2018, the proLogistik development team adapted the standard software accordingly in close project coordination with Falk & Ross within just under five months. Special consideration was also given to “fast movers” and returns management. In addition, proLogistik has designed the WMS for multilingualism.
Another milestone within the framework of long-standing cooperation
“Replacing the legacy system, which has been constantly expanded over the years and is therefore complex, offers a wide range of advantages at both the operational and strategic levels,” Tobias Brügmann emphasizes. “Order processing has been accelerated once again and further improved in terms of delivery quality, so that the goods reach the recipient even faster, as requested. This enables us to meet the demands of increasingly demanding customers in the B2B sector as well. In addition, the company is now future-proof in the areas of development and service, and maintenance and servicing of the system are now much easier. A further rollout of the pL-Store®-LVS from proLogistik is planned for 2019/2020 at the headquarters of Falk & Ross in Sembach, Rhineland-Palatinate.
Mobile hardware for real-time data acquisition
The hardware already in use did not require any further modifications, but their number was increased. Capturing at the point of action increases flexibility and subsequent inventory reconciliation is not required. These are on-board computers that have been designed for use in harsh everyday industrial and logistics environments.