Managing and orchestrating warehouse and store stock
Mr.Bricolage operates four stores in Réunion, under a franchise arrangement, totaling 25,000 sq m of retail space. The brand sells 34,000 different items, stored at its logistics hub (two 4,000 sq m cross-dock warehouses) and in 6,000 sq m of stockroom space adjoining its stores. The island location means the retailer has to place bulk orders from 350 suppliers in Europe and Asia—enough to cater to demand between two deliveries. “Also, limited shelf capacity means we can’t always meet demand during busy periods, or put all our products out on the sales floor,” says Stéphane Lales, Logistics Director at Mr.Bricolage Réunion. “That’s why we need storage facilities close to our stores.” In 2017, the retailer began making plans to branch out into e-commerce. After realizing that its existing ERP system lacked granular stock management capability for its stores and stockrooms, the firm decided to invest in an off-the-shelf application to manage logistics and stock flows at its hub and outlets.
In 2018, Mr.Bricolage Réunion called in Avenir Logistic Conseil, Hardis Group’s partner integrator, to help it map its logistics flows and complete a feasibility study. Having finalized its decision and opted for Reflex WMS and In-Store Logistics, the retailer’s next step was to define its target logistics strategy. “In the end, we went with Hardis Group because of their impressive track record in the specialized retail sector, and because their new stock management application was designed with the specific needs of stores in mind,” adds Lales.
Towards automation and omnichannel retail
The project kicked off in 2019 with the drafting of the functional specifications by Avenir Logistic Conseil. Once the configuration and testing phases were complete, the retailer deployed Hardis Group’s applications at its logistics hub and its Saint Pierre store—the biggest on the island, at 11,000 sq m—in late June. Each year, Mr.Bricolage Réunion takes delivery of 2,465 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) of goods. Under the new system, all incoming goods are handled via cross-docking, using Reflex WMS, at its logistics hub. Individual stores then use Reflex In-Store Logistics to receive their orders, with the application managing distribution of the goods between store shelves (60-70%) and the adjoining 2,000 sq m stockroom. Each evening, checkout records are uploaded to Reflex In-Store Logistics’ back-office system, which updates store stock and triggers replenishment orders from products in the stockroom the following day. “The application also lets us quickly replenish sales floor stock if an item runs out on the shelf during the course of the day,” explains Lales.
Following this successful initial deployment, Mr.Bricolage Réunion has since set about optimizing all its process and will be rolling out the application across its other stores over the next two years. The roll-out also paves the way for a host of other changes, including the construction of a new centralized logistics hub—partially automated and measuring 5,500 sq m—to manage small items, and operational implementation of the retailer’s omnichannel sales strategy (including e-commerce and click & collect). “Reflex is the cornerstone of our new strategy, underpinning how we’ll use digital technology to stand out in a fiercely competitive market,” says Lales. “Flawless logistics execution is vital to our ability to deliver on our customer promise, especially as the number of items we sell continues to grow.”