For more than 20 years, NetOnNet has been a part of the Swedish home electronics market, and is now one of the largest retailers in this sector. Serving customers online and instore, logistics play a central role in its success, and any improvement in process or efficiency has real impact on profits. Through effective use of smart box calculation alongside smart implementation of Astro WMS®, NetOnNet continues to improve and evolve in an ever-changing landscape.
In 2019, Swedish postal service Postnord found that on average, each package shipped contains 30% unnecessary air. It’s an issue that, if tackled effectively, could have a significant, lasting impact on sustainability in logistics and shipping. According to the research, if all packaging was optimized, it could lead to 300 fewer trucks on the roads. This would have two main benefits – cost savings and improved sustainability.
NetOnNet has been working with package optimization for many years, and together with Consafe Logistics, has implemented the smart box calculation tool into its Astro WMS® system. This advanced add-on has helped NetOnNet streamline its picking and packing process, and facilitated a reduction in the amount of air shipped.
“There’s a trend towards shipping less air right now, but we have worked with this task for many years,” says Stefan Svensson, Logistics Manager for NetOnNet. “It’s an important issue that all businesses need to tackle, and if we can all do it on the right way, we can operate in a more sustainable way. The smart box calculation in Astro WMS® helps us do that.”
For NetOnNet, any reductions in air shipping can make a significant difference to the business, not only in terms of cost, but also customer experience. However, box calculation also helps to improve efficiency within the central warehouse itself.
“Smart box calculation has, of course, helped us to cut the amount of air we’re shipping every day,” explains Stefan. “This is really important as it means we’re paying the right amount for shipping each item, instead of a higher figure based on a box that is maybe 25% bigger than it needs to be. This is also better for the customer, as their goods can be packed in a neater, more presentable way, and we can keep delivery costs down.
“But this tool also makes a big difference in the warehouse. For us to get the orders out, we need to first pick them from the shelves and then pack them up. When the items are picked, they’re all stored in a trolley and then taken to a separate area to be packed and prepared for shipping. The box calculation means we can more efficiently plan each picking run and know that we are filling the trolleys in the most efficient way. This saves time and helps ensure deliveries go out when they need to.”
STREAMLINING AT SCALE
NetOnNet faces unique challenges in its main warehouse, as there are three streams of business which run through it – the ecommerce stream, the restocking of the warehouse stores, and the fulfillment of orders which are supplied by third parties. This means there are three separate sets of requirements in the same building, so efficiency is key.
“The amount we do every day varies,” adds Stefan, “and it depends so much on the season. On a normal day we send a few thousand packages on the ecommerce side, and around 250 pallets for the warehouse shops. At peak times though, which covers October, November and December, we handle much, much more than that. Smart box calculation, together with Astro WMS®, copes with this really well. It’s stable, and can handle all of our flows, regardless of peaks.”
The system works based on the data provided to it, so NetOnNet priorities getting the necessary measurements from the suppliers, and then ensuring these are accurate as soon as possible. If there are mistakes, they need to be fixed fast as otherwise it can cost valuable time.
“Maintaining accurate data is so important,” confirms Stefan. “It means we can accurately predict freight prices, and it ensures that everything will fit where it needs to in a packing run. If a member of staff is out to pick 100 items, it makes such a big difference to know with absolute certainty that they will all fit.”
As much of an impact as effective box calculation has today, it’s going to be even more important in the future. The less that excess air is shipped, the less space required for the packages. This means less journeys can be made, which cuts down on emissions and the industry’s carbon footprint. The same applies for picking within the warehouse – the more that can fit on a single trolley, the more the number of trips can be reduced.
“With Consafe Logistics and Astro WMS® we’re fully prepared for the growing trend towards sustainability and shipping less air,” concludes Stefan. “As a business we always want to be kinder to the environment, and with this solution, it helps improve our efficiency and ultimately, our bottom line as well.”
NetOnNet was founded in 1999 with the idea of selling consumer electronics online at a lower price than in regular stores. In 2001 NetOnNet opened the first Warehouse Shop, selling products directly off the warehouse shelf at the same low prices as online. NetOnNet has since become a major force in the Swedish consumer electronic retailing market, being third largest retailer in its sector.