Norengros Ålesund, Ødegaard Engros AS has doubled picking efficiency at its new 7,500 sqm warehouse by introducing the Astro WMS warehouse management system, voice picking, new forklifts and shelves.
Ødegaard Engros AS, a leading supplier of consumables to industry and the public sector in central Norway, moved their warehousing facilities from Skarbøvik to Flisnes, about 15 kilometres east of Ålesund. This gave the company better economies of scale, easier expansion and greater access to freight transport to and from eastern Norway.
Quick moving operation
In early February, Ødegaard Engros moved into a brand-new 7,500 sqm warehouse and administration building in Flisnes Næringspark.
Over a weekend, 6,000 product lines were transported to the new warehouse. 20 warehouse staff and 40 temporary workers worked to get all goods in place
Logistics manager Vebjørn Aannø worked together with Consafe Logistics to define storage locations for products in advance. Hiring people with no previous experience was no problem as Astro WMS is easy to use. Aannø believes Ødegaard Engros now has one of the market’s most future-proof WMS, giving the company a complete overview of all products and their current locations.
Vebjørn Aannø has extensive previous experience with voice-controlled picking systems, good knowledge when helping select a new WMS for Ødegaard Engros.
The salary level among the warehouse workers is high, SO we need to automate as many warehouse functions as possible.
“We considered three different systems, organising reference visits and demonstrations. Our final choice was Consafe Logistics. Their Astro WMS is a standard system that is easy to customize to our exact needs. This means we are not dependent on external consultants to operate and implement internal system improvements.”
Ødegaard Engros has now achieved significant synergies by involving employees in the system selection. Thanks to extensive internal training before implementation, warehouse workers did not become sceptical of system changes, making transition a lot easier.
After testing equipment and learning the basics, full production was possible after just a couple of hours in the new warehouse. Thanks to Consafe Logistics, both during the actual moving process and during the first two days of production.
“Consultancy costs kill a lot of creativity in the organisation, but with Consafe Logistics on the team, we could try, fail and correct unforeseen events along the way. Since February we have doubled our picking productivity”, says Aannø.
“Since February we have doubled our picking productivity”
A saving of four man-years
Egil Nakken (CEO) stresses that the investment in a new warehouse management system was essential.
“If we are to survive in a competitive market, we must automate as many warehouse functions as possible. The salary level among warehouse workers is high.”
Astro WMS, and the voice-controlled picking system has been praised for ease of use. “The new WMS will enable us to save NOK 2.5 million and reduce warehouse staffing levels by four people. In the long term we may reduce staffing levels further, and it will put us in a good position to meet future challenges”, he says.
The company needed a WMS supplier who could partner them to secure project success, not someone who simply delivered a .exe file and then hand over the rest of the development work.
“We rely on a close dialogue with customers from pre-design stage, through implementation to service and maintenance,” says Ramo Tiro, from Consafe Logistics. “Our business model is not about selling as many consulting hours as possible. We deliver solutions that the customer can adapt to suit their own business needs”, continues Tiro.
The greatest benefit for Norengros Ålesund is increased quality and efficiency in warehouse performance. As Egil G. Nakken at Ødegaard Engros says, “If we are to survive in a competitive market, we must automate as many warehouse features as possible. Investing in a new warehouse management system was essential.”
“Astro WMS is a standard system that gives us the opportunity to perform some customisation. This means we are not dependent on external consultants to operate and implement internal system improvements”, says Vebjørn Aannø (right), Logistics Manager at Ødegaard Engros. Seen here with Business Relationship Manager Ramo Tiro from Consafe Logistics.
Norengros AS is a nationwide chain consisting of 13 locally owned enterprises, with 37 wholesale stores. Norengros has revenue of approximately NOK 3 billion and is Norway’s largest supplier of consumables to the private and public sector.
Ødegaard Engros AS was established in 1916 and began its cooperation with Norengros in 1989. The company has its headquarters at Flisnes in Ålesund and has branches in Molde, Kristiansund, Trondheim and Levanger. Ødegaard Engros currently has 115 employees and had sales of just over NOK 390 million last year.