With over 125 years' experience in designing high quality, innovative and market-leading bicycles, Raleigh is a globally-recognised name in cycle manufacture. As the only bicycle brand appearing in the UK's Superbrands list, Raleigh distributes in excess of several million pounds' worth of bikes and accessories every year from its warehousing facility in Nottingham.
Raleigh also owns several other bike and accessory brands, including Diamondback and RSP. And thanks to ongoing innovation, creativity and an impressive product portfolio which includes road, fitness, leisure and mountain bikes and accessories for children, adults and professional racers alike, the company is experiencing consistent growth in both size and turnover year-on-year.
Having previously used a paper-based system to record goods in, put-away, stock movement and stock counting, Raleigh was experiencing an increasing number of errors, particularly with regard to stock keeping and stock placement. A lot of time was being wasted by workers searching for a product on their pick list within a particular location, only to find that the product wasn't there. This lack of efficiency was causing unnecessary delays and was a costly and inefficient use of workers' valuable time.
Raleigh realised that it needed to speed up and improve upon the accuracy of its product picking and product placement processes, as it had reached the end of the line with what could realistically be achieved with a paper-based system which could no longer support Raleigh's ongoing needs and requirements.
After spending a lot of time researching a number of companies specialising in data capture and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Raleigh eventually chose a WMS solution from BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd, in order to fully automate the product picking and stock movement functionality within their warehouse.
Based in Blackburn, Lancashire, BEC is a specialist provider of future-proof and innovative automated data capture solutions designed to integrate seamlessly into any host ERP system to fulfil business and commercial needs. With a specific focus on the supply chain and manufacturing industries, BEC's level of expertise spans the complete spectrum of AIDC technologies.
Steve Wigley, Distribution Manager at Raleigh, comments "BEC really stood out from the other companies we considered. They are very experienced and have a highly specialist knowledge of all things data capture. They gave us every confidence that they would be able to supply a WMS solution that would meet and surpass all of our prerequisites and criteria."
The first thing BEC did was to carry out a thorough data capture survey of Raleigh's Nottingham warehousing facility. It then came up with a solution that would work for Raleigh's specific needs and requirements.
Tony Hampson, Managing Director at BEC, comments "After our site survey at Raleigh's warehousing facility, the solution which we implemented was based on our eSmart Warehouse software product. Flexible and fully customisable, our eSmart products are designed to seamlessly integrate into a variety of host ERP systems to deliver improved accuracy and efficiency. Our eSmart Warehouse software solution was particularly suitable for Raleigh, as it allows for the automation of all warehouse operations whilst providing real-time validation of all transaction data. This provides improved visibility of stock numbers and location, both of which were proving problematic for Raleigh under their previous paper-based system."
The software was loaded onto a number of rugged Honeywell CK3 mobile computers, while cordless 3820 imagers also formed part of the new solution, which has been initially implemented on the Parts and Accessories side of the business.
Steve Wigley comments "This is the part of the business where we have the most SKUs, products and pick lists, so it was important for us to implement the new solution within this area first. We will be rolling the solution out to include the bicycle portion of the business next month."
The new solution now enables Raleigh to capture and record data for mission-critical applications such as goods receiving, stock movement, stock replenishment and stock audit, helping to reduce inventory inaccuracies, improve upon efficiency, maximise throughput and streamline overall business processes.
Steve Wigley comments "The new solution has quite simply transformed our warehouse applications. We now feel fully in control of our product placement, stock control and picking procedures; procedures which we felt we were losing control of with our previous paper-based system. We are already experiencing extremely positive results and we are expecting our accuracy levels to improve quickly. The new solution has even enabled us to find missing and misplaced stock which we had previously written off. We have also received positive feedback from the users of the new system as they have found it easy and intuitive to use, and can definitely recognise the benefits of implementing an automated solution."
"As far as BEC is concerned, we could not have asked for more. There are plenty of companies which Raleigh does business with, and BEC has always come across as very personable. Most importantly, they get the job done. And in the event of the occasional issue arising, as is expected when implementing a new IT system of any kind, they are quick to respond and resolve problems in an efficient and professional manner. They have done exactly what we asked for – and more."
Tony Hampson, Managing Director at BEC, concludes, "We are really excited to have been working with such a well-known and respected company as Raleigh over the past few months. The project is going really well so far, and we are looking forward to extending the project later in the year to further enhance the overall operability and functionality of Raleigh's warehousing and manufacturing facility."