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We needed to get more efficient. Said Tony Burgess, Operations Manager of the IKEA distribution centre in Peterborough, and initialized a project that would result in an installation of Astro WMS a year later. Since the implementation of Astro WMS and the installation of TraffiCom computers IKEA Peterborough have seen an amazing improvement in both efficiency and picking quality.
IKEA distributes goods to Customers in the UK from the Customer distribution centre in Peterborough. Since there is a shortage of space in the warehouse distribution is very important. Customers get frustrated if their item is not delivered when they want it, says Tony. We therefore need to be on our toes all the time to deliver, at the same time we need to keep costs under control.
IKEA in Peterborough have been using TraffiCom computers since June 2004 and now have 30 units installed. They use different models ranging from the P-model to TraffiCom Wave, used in the latest part of the warehouse. We have seen that little things that have been annoying us have been fixed in Wave, says Ben Birch, responsible for repairs and maintenance for computers in the Peterborough plant.
Goods had to be picked twice before Astro WMS was installed at CDC. First pallets were taken from the DC and stored in a separate area. The actual customer orders were picked from these pallets. This way of doing things was not very efficient and forced people to run from one side of the warehouse to the other to find the articles they needed.
Tony explains: We had to improve our efficiency. Too much money was wasted working in that fashion. As we are already using Astro WMS and TraffiCom in our DC in Doncaster and Peterborough we were interested in using the same products for the CDC. We knew that there were a few extra functions we needed to be able to use Astro and contacted Consafe Logistics to see if they could implement these functions for us. As we got a positive reply we decided to go ahead with the project.
The Big Bang
Instead of running a pilot installation and making a switch-over to the new system off-line the decision was made to change over to the new system instantly. This was to avoid major effects on day-to-day business. So on the 13 June the Big Bang took place in the CDC in Peterborough and people from IKEA and Consafe Logistics made the chain reaction happen. The guys from Consafe did an excellent job during the installation and did not give up until everything worked fine, says Tony. And the success was complete. On Monday 21st we were up and running with picking customer orders with support from ASTRO and our new TraffiCom Wave computers.
Graham Hyde Shift Manager in the CDC adds: We had an easy task to train the people in the warehouse, as they were already familiar with both Astro and TraffiCom from the DC.
The Expanding Universe
With the new system up and running for almost a year, Tony Burgesss team is very satisfied with how smoothly the system was implemented and how it improves the efficiency. We are saving over 1.5 million per year says Tony. Not only is the direct cost reduced the reactions when you ask someone in the warehouse is also very clear; no words, just a big smile. Mr Aldecante comments: I like to work with gloves and with the TraffiCom Function Keyboard that works perfectly.
Tony adds; We saw a potential to improve picking quality by using scanners. Now all mobile workstations in the CDC are equipped with scanners and the picking quality is up to 99.5%. The IKEA quality team monitoring the picking quality do not have much to complain about.
We are very happy with how the project was carried out and the outcome. We are delivering the efficiency improvements that we said we would and have more satisfied employees too, says Tony. He continues: With the new system support we are looking forward to, managing customised items like sofas to further improve service to our customers.