A.S. Watson’s logistics operation in Heteren processes a daily volume of some 900,000 packages with 20,000 different articles. That amounts to a daily volume of more than 4,000 pallets that enter and leave the distribution centre in one day.
The retail industry is changing rapidly. A.S. Watson is experiencing a strong growth in both its online (e-commerce) and its offline (the physical stores) sales because customers are using different channels to buy their products more and more often. In order to anticipate the multimedia user, A.S. Watson is changing into a crosschannel retailer with a focus on a single, unique customer experience. As a result, the boundaries between online and offline shopping are disappearing. In addition to a changing market, A.S. Watson´s product range is also changing; an increasing number of special offers and a large number of articles with a short life cycle, smaller quantities and shorter delivery periods. In combination with the ongoing increase in trading volume, this trend mandates more efficient and reliable processing of delivery units and continuous innovations and/or adjustments of the logistics concept. In order to realise this, A.S. Watson was faced with the challenge of integrating the old dispatch management process (LFS) into a new dispatch management module (EMM), within the current Smart
Warehouse Management System (DCS). A challenge that was taken up by the logistics team of ICT Transport & Logistics.
The ICT team is responsible for the complete design, development, implementation, commissioning and aftercare of the EMM.
The former LFS system was based on outdated technology, and A.S. Watson’s IT policy stipulated that the system had to be replaced. The LFS has been replaced by the new dispatch management module (EMM). The introduction of the EMM also results in reduced maintenance costs. Because of the mission-critical nature of the shipping dispatch process, A.S. Watson decided to implement the EMM in phases.
The EMM was developed and realised as an integrated module in the current Smart Warehouse Management System (DCS). This has resulted in the following benefits and improvements:
- One, single point of contact for both WMS and freight issues.
- All DCS information is also available for the EMM. This provides more insight into the expected number of pallets, decreases the amount of unnecessary congestion, and optimises the capacity of the dispatch processing area.
- Reduction of shipping and delivery costs thanks to an efficient, integrated dispatch management solution.
- Flexibility in terms of the options for expansion.
- A streamlined freight operation.
- Reduction of the number of delivery errors.
- ICT’s team was responsible for the entire design (including the design of the workshops), the development, implementation, deployment and after-care of the EMM.
The flexibility of the current Warehouse Management System and the new EMM module ensured that all expansions could be embedded into the operations in a smooth manner. To avoid any type of disruption of the production process and to minimise any risks during the implementation, both the old dispatch system and the new EMM system were kept operational, which is a usual requirement during a mission-critical process of this scope.
During the Spring of 2019, A.S. Watson Benelux’s logistics operation deployed the entire EMM without a single problem. Within 24 hours from the moment of the system’s deployment more than 100 trips had been processed and loaded correctly. Employees in various departments – e.g. co-drivers, operators, quality controllers, loaders and switchboard operators – are extremely happy with the system’s ease of use and its smooth deployment.
We can conclude that the dispatch management module (EMM) can adequately facilitate the future growth of A.S Watson’s logistics operation. A nice achievement for A.S Watson Benelux as well as for ICT Transport & Logistics.
About A.S. Watson
A.S. Watson is operational in 25 markets worldwide. Each week, many millions of customers visit one of the 15,200 stores . This makes A.S. Watson the world’s largest Health & Beauty retailer. In addition to Kruidvat, the A.S. Watson Group also comprises Trekpleister, ICI PARIS XL and Prijsmepper.