01 July 2020

Retail outlet logistics management: Insights from Avenir Logistic Conseil

Avenir Logistic Conseil has served as a partner integrator for Hardis Group’s Reflex suite since 2008, covering the Indian Ocean, West Indies and East Africa region. The firm was among the first to deploy Reflex In-Store Logistics, our logistics management system for retail outlets, for Decathlon, Mr.Bricolage and KDI Davum in Réunion. Sébastien Leon, founder of Avenir Logistic Conseil, shares his insights.

Our island location means that deliveries take several weeks to arrive and retail outlets in Réunion have large stockrooms. Retailers need computerized stockroom and store management systems that deliver efficiency gains across all logistics processes—from receipt and storage, to order preparation, sales and delivery.

Comprehensive, real-time stock overviews

The three retailers—Decathlon, Mr.Bricolage and KDI Davum—were keen to avoid stock-outs, gain better control of stock levels and improve cash flow. To achieve these aims, they wanted a solution that would give them a comprehensive overview of stock both in store (sales floor and stockroom) and, where relevant, at their central warehouse. Prior to the release of Reflex In-Store Logistics, we used to repurpose Reflex WMS so it could handle the specific demands of store logistics management. Oftentimes, we had to develop custom features, which had obvious drawbacks in terms of speed of deployment and maintenance costs. Now, we’re able to offer our customers a separate application for each configuration: WMS for warehouses, and In-Store Logistics for stores.

Getting sales staff back out on the sales floor

Sales staff are not logistics specialists, yet they can spend up to half of their time performing logistics-related tasks. And this trend is on the rise as omnichannel services like home delivery, click & collect and online ordering grow in popularity. With Reflex In-Store Logistics, Hardis Group has brought to market an application that meets the specific logistics management needs of retail outlets, helping to get sales staff back out on the sales floor. The system gives teams a real-time overview of stock and locations (sales floor, stockroom and warehouse). Before Reflex was deployed at Decathlon, Mr.Bricolage and KDI Davum, sales staff spent a significant amount of time searching for products to sell in-store and preparing orders. Now, staff know the exact location of each and every product, thereby saving the time that they previously wasted. Reflex In-Store Logistics also lets sales staff trigger restocks (from the stockroom or warehouse), and suggest substitute products if a particular item is out of stock. What’s more, the system optimizes preparation paths for sales floor restock and online orders.

Just five days to deploy per store

As stated previously, sales staff are not logistics specialists. They need a system that’s easy to configure and quick to deploy, and that comes with a short learning curve. Reflex In-Store Logistics meets all of these requirements. On average, once the core model is set in stone, it can be up and running in store in just five days. For instance, during the COVID-19 lockdown, it took us five days to deploy a new drive-through collection process for KDI Davum, Réunion’s largest retailer of metal products, construction materials and industrial supplies.

Powering retail with logistics

Retailers who deploy Reflex In-Store Logistics will need to rethink their outlet processes and restructure their teams. In most cases, this will involve little more than setting up dedicated logistics teams to support retail operations. Once deployed, the system delivers tangible benefits. The three retailers now have a comprehensive overview of stock in the stockroom and retail outlet. The application automatically triggers shelf restocks to avoid sales floor stock-outs. Alternatively, it can be configured to issue alerts when shelves need to be restocked. In both cases, the feature avoids both slow-moving stock (which can sometimes account for up to 20% of revenue) and stock-outs, ensures stock levels are in tune with customer demand, and boosts sales and cash flow. And at Mr.Bricolage, kitchen order preparation times have been cut by half.

Last but not least, Reflex In-Store bridges the gap between retail and logistics, giving retailers an objective picture of the cause of problems—especially when it comes to shelf stock-outs.