Pursuing operational excellence
Codifrance is a local food retailer founded in 1945. It joined Colruyt Group (Belgium) in 1996. The company serves close to 1,500 customers covering three-quarters of France, including 1,200 independent convenience stores, plus 300 affiliate stores (trading as Coccinelle, Coccimarket and Panier Sympa). From its 25,000 sq. m central warehouse in Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, north-central France, Codifrance ships a range of 8,000 items (dry, chilled, and frozen) to local hubs, and then on to stores. Customers place orders via a PDT system (orders are scanned and submitted electronically) or using the www.codiclic.com website. All orders are delivered two days later.
In 2018, senior managers realized that the firm’s main computer systems were outdated and holding back its pursuit of operational excellence. “We couldn’t change everything at once,” explains Anthony Meiller, Director, Codifrance. “So we decided to focus on the one thing that would deliver the most value for our business. In October 2018, we decided it was time to acquire a warehouse management tool. Until that point, most of our processes had been paper-based—with all the margin for error that entailed.”
In November 2018, the company invited bids from interested vendors and, after reviewing the proposals, opted for Hardis Group’s solution in April 2019. “Reflex WMS scored 9/10 for functional criteria, support for our specific processes as standard, and scalability,” says Christophe Jacquet, Head of Logistics Operations, Codifrance. “But what really persuaded us was the human side: Hardis Group’s consultants genuinely listened to us, understood our business, and shared our corporate values.”
The project began in June 2019. As well as deploying Reflex WMS, the firm also decided to equip operators with a pick-by-voice application to make order preparation tasks simpler and more reliable. In March 2020, Codifrance switched its dry and frozen food operations over to the new system. The roll-out was finalized in October 2020 when chilled produce was also migrated to Reflex WMS. “We deployed Reflex WMS in the middle of the lockdown, just when we were seeing a spike in business,” adds Meiller. “The system allowed us to cope with the increase in demand.”
Gains all along the chain
Since deploying Reflex WMS, Codifrance has achieved gains all along the chain. “It now takes us 20 minutes less to process receipt of 33 pallets of the same product,” says Jacquet. And when it comes to pallet storage, staff now benefit from enhanced visibility and traceability.
A marked uplift in service standards will save the firm at least €150,000 each year, while major productivity gains have already been noted, and the company is aiming for a 5% improvement in 2021.
In addition, transport costs are down by 1%. “With Reflex, we can sequence order preparation tasks in real time according to the transport cut-off—which means we can optimize our delivery rounds and ensure goods leave on time,” adds Jacquet.
Last but not least, the pick-by-voice application has made life easier for pickers and boosted the company’s employee brand locally: “Now, our new employees are ready to go in just two hours because the system is so intuitive,” continues Meiller. “In the past, it took two to four days to train them up. As for our longer-serving staff, supporting them through the change was vital to promoting uptake. They’re all happy with Reflex because it’s improved the way they work.”
In the coming months, Codifrance will focus on replacing its ERP—and interfacing the new system with the WMS. Looking further ahead, the firm also plans to acquire a transport management system (TMS), which will also be linked to Reflex.
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