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Kewill Warehouse Management Solution supports Van Maanen growing business

Van Maanen has grown into a well known logistics service provider since it was established more than 80 years ago. The company has more than 250 employees and offers distribution services across Europe, providing specialist transport, international logistics and warehousing.

In 2008 Van Maanen won the Transport and Logistics Entrepreneur Award, and this year the company has been awarded the European Transport Company of the Year title. Van Maanen was praised for its strong focus on managing the organisation with the help of KPI reports. The business was also commended for its innovative IT applications which manage its processes, such as the use of RF-scanning in the warehouse.

Van Maanen’s core business is transport. However, in 2008 the business expanded its warehouse capacity to 25,000 pallet places. As part of this expansion the company opened a new and modern high bay racking warehouse in Barneveld, in the Netherlands. Van Maanen is now able to direct and manage the complete logistics process, distributing goods throughout Europe.

As part of its growth plans the company required wider support for its warehouse management. Van Maanen required a sophisticated Warehouse Management System (WMS) and also wanted to use RF-scanning in the new warehouse. The company also wanted to make a distinction between food and non-food goods such as paint and high-tech products.

In 2006 Van Maanen bought Kewill’s WMS (Kewill Warehousing) so it could monitor its warehouse processes. The first phase of the WMS implementation has been completed successfully and the movement of inbound and outbound goods and invoicing are now supported by Kewill Warehousing.

One of Van Maanen’s biggest customers is a glass fibre producer, Owens. Its products are delivered in rolls for storage and used as intermediate (a semi-finished product / raw material used to create the end product) for partitions, carpet, and ceilings. Kewill Warehousing has provided Van Maanen with the flexibility to configure the system to the producer’s specific requirements.

Van Maanen has been able to attract new customers with the offer of the new warehouse, and the combination of the high bay racking in the warehouse, and the increase of customers means that Van Maanen is now able to separate the storage of food and non-food products. At the moment Van Maanen focuses on the inbound and outbound of larger packages on pallets with high volume, and for some smaller customers Van Maanen also helps with order picking.

Van Maanen has also introduced RF (radio frequency) scanners into the warehouse. When goods previously arrived into the warehouse, staff were notified by a pre-receipt message. Following the introduction of RF-scanners this process isn’t necessary anymore.

Willem van Riesen, Director of Van Maanen, said "Following the introduction of RF-scanning applications we are able to work with a wide range of inbound stock at any one time. When goods arrive at the warehouse they already have a scan label. Furthermore we use a free location system, which means that when the goods arrive, our warehouse employees can decide for themselves where to store the pallets in the warehouse."

Van Riesen continued, "RF is a highly advanced and efficient way to control and monitor processes in the warehouse. A signal is activated via an RF terminal when a truck arrives at a dock, and warehouse staff will know directly which pallets they need to prepare for departure. This also applies for the arrival of goods. The introduction of this rapid communication structure allows warehouse managers to organise staff and trucks in the most efficient way, while employees can flexibly be assigned onto a pick task."

In 2008 Van Maanen asked Kewill to provide further training on the system, as its customer base had increased so rapidly. Van Riesen said, "Transport and warehousing are two very different disciplines and this is why we decided to provide our employees with additional training. As the business experienced rapid growth we needed support from Kewill to deliver custom made services to our growing customer base. Kewill also helped us with the configuration of the software."

The implementation of RF-scanners have been hugely successful for the business. Van Riesen said, "Before we implemented the system, warehouse managers had to walk into the warehouse to divide the workload among the warehouse employees. Now, these orders are being sent via RF-terminals and it’s much easier to manage processes and prioritise orders. It’s almost impossible to make errors in the RF-system, and because of this it’s very easy to deploy temporary labour during busy periods. The RF-system guarantees 100 per cent quality and has resulted in significant cost savings for the business."

Van Maanen has also spent time focusing upon the development of management dashboards. The dashboards provides information regarding how the goods are stored and what the status is of those goods. It also advises how many pallets need to be transported and how many trucks are required to transport the pallets.

Working this way the business is able to retrieve information quickly about the number of trips and movement of goods, both in and out. The dashboards also display the revenue, costs per mile and the number of pallets that have been stored during a certain period. These dashboards allow the business to gain more control and transparency about its processes.

Van Riesen said, "We are aware that the sophisticated WMS of Kewill gives us the opportunity to grow. If we look at the WMS system and what it can offer, then we still have a lot of opportunities regarding how we can use it in the future and it has an important role to play in our future growth plans."

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