John Lewis Set to Make Substantial Savings While Increasing Staff Productivity Using Warehouse Management System from RedPrairie

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The UK retailer John Lewis has announced its decision to purchase RedPrairies warehouse and workforce performance management solutions and roll them out across its distribution centres by 2008. John Lewis is the countrys largest department store group by turnover with 27,000 employees, all known as Partners, and a network of 27 shops stretching from Aberdeen to Bristol. The company will be increasing its retail space significantly with the building of an additional 10 department stores from 2007.

RedPrairie was chosen over other market-leading providers for its comprehensive functionality, out-of-the-box implementation, user-friendly interface and well-developed workforce performance management solution. RedPrairie is also able to provide a turnkey solution, from consultancy through to implementation, testing, go live and ongoing support, delivered by experts who understand the technology needed to meet John Lewis needs.

DLx Warehouse will enable John Lewis to manage operations at all its distribution centres from a single, centrally controlled system, eliminating the cost and complexity of maintaining separate systems for each location. Real-time task management is set to speed up receiving, putaway, picking, inventory management and stock control. Eliminating paper-based processes will cut errors and improve fill rates. DLx Warehouses built-in algorithms and sophisticated placement strategies will optimise use of storage space while enabling stock to be located instantly anywhere in the warehouse.

Combining the use of Radio Data Terminals (RDTs) with RedPrairies real-time voice-controlled technology for foot-based operatives picking small or valuable items will increase efficiency and productivity. Operatives wear unobtrusive headsets, follow audible instructions issued directly by the system and respond by speaking into the microphone, at which point the system issues the next instruction. RedPrairies voice-controlled order picking increases operational flexibility and improves management of the labour force within large warehouse environments, says Paul Hulley, General Manager Distribution at John Lewis.

John Lewis will improve workforce planning, task timing and productivity reporting by replacing its existing labour management tool with DLx Labour. A proven solution for increasing workforce performance, DLx Labour manages time and attendance, drives down order fulfilment costs and increases throughput by optimising utilisation of staffing resources. DLx Labour will replace the average task timings currently used by John Lewis with precise calculations that take into account where the stock is located and the exact walk times required. Workforce performance management will be based on real-time, accurate information and realistic standards, helping us to fairly review staff performance and coach best practice says Hulley. DLx Labour is set to become our strategic tool for workforce planning and is key to helping us achieve our goal of productivity increases at all our distribution centres.

DLx Warehouse underpins John Lewiss goal to achieve operational savings through best-practice management of its distribution centres as it expands its business. Mark Denyer, WMS Development Manager at John Lewis, says The RedPrairie team is helping us with value-added activities, including a benefits realisation study to ensure that we identify all the opportunities to reduce costs without sacrificing quality and that all barriers to productivity are removed. We see RedPrairie as a long-term, strategic partner whose innovative, leading-edge solutions will be key to our continued profitability and market leadership.

We are delighted that one of the UK's largest and most prestigious retailers has chosen RedPrairie's warehouse and workforce performance management solutions, comments RedPrairie EMEA Managing Director, Martin Hiscox. This contract consolidates RedPrairie's growing presence in the retail sector. We will provide John Lewis with a low risk, proven retail software solution, installed and supported by local UK teams. The culture and the good working relationship we have established with the John Lewis team is key to the success of this project. Supply chain solutions are very people intensive and hence effective change management, strong project leadership, training and support are just as important as the quality and functionality of the software solution. Buying the technology is the easy part, but its the people that make it work.

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