Because Reflex gives us that all-important structure, it’s delivering improvements across all our picking and shipping processes. We’ve recently achieved even more productivity gains by linking Reflex with Balea so we can pick multiple orders simultaneously and weigh them in real time.
Pilot, Europe’s leading writing implement manufacturer, has deployed Reflex WMS to streamline and automate logistics processes at its European distribution warehouse (4,500 sq m, 2,500 separate products, 4,500 pallets on 8-meter-high racks). The deployment has delivered productivity gains of over 60% among Pilot’s logistics teams, and picking errors have fallen by close to 70%.
Context and objectives
Pilot was founded in Japan in 1918 and is now the world’s second-biggest writing implement manufacturer. The firm has a global presence, selling pens in more than 100 countries worldwide. At its European headquarters in Allonzier-la-Caille, France, it manufactures more than 40 million pens and distributes 100 million units each year to 30 countries across the EMEA region.
In 2011, when it was expanding its warehouse, the company decided to deploy a warehouse management system (WMS) so it could better manage its logistics processes, which it had previously done solely through its ERP system.
In spring 2012, Pilot launched a call for tenders. Reflex WMS was selected as the winning solution on the strength of its ability to manage both B2C flows (to retail outlets) and B2B flows (to in-country distributors within the region). In 2013, following five months of testing and configuration, Reflex WMS went live at the new warehouse.
Since then, Pilot has introduced three major changes in a drive to improve its logistics processes. The firm has deployed touch-screen RF devices for operators picking distributors’ orders, and introduced a new mass collection system (picking three to six orders simultaneously) for retail sales, coupled with a post-picking weight control system to shorten the distance operators have to travel in the warehouse and to reduce the number of errors. The company has also deployed an algorithm that calculates the number of pallets or packages for each order in advance, to help it choose the right carriers in its transport management system (TMS).
- Productivity gains of close to 60%
- An almost 70% reduction in picking errors (and complaints)
- Fewer inventory anomalies and a new cycle counting system
- Real-time warehouse management and order status tracking