05/06/2014 | Hardis Group

The men's ready-to-wear specialist has brought together all its logistical flows for the North of France in a new 32,000 m2 mechanized warehouse. The triple challenge of construction, mechanization and computerization was carried out in just nine months.

Hardis Group, a digital services company and business software publisher, announces that celio*, a French ready-to-wear brand for men, has opted for Reflex WMS to computerize the logistical processes of its new warehouse in Amblainville (Picardy, 25 miles North of Paris). Result: the processing capacity has been increased by 50% and the quality of service provided to the stores significantly improved.

celio*: an international family brand

Established in 1985 by Marc and Laurent Grosman, in 25 years celio* has become a well-known international brand in men's ready-to-wear, with nearly 1,200 stores spread among more than 60 countries, two brands (celio* and celio club), 35 million items sold per year and nearly 5,000 employees.

To manage all its logistical flows in France, until 2012 celio* relied on one warehouse in Salon de Provence (13) for the whole of the south of France, and three in the Greater Paris region (Villetaneuse, Chambly and Croissy-Beaubourg) for the rest of the country. But with growth of around 10% to 15% a year, the Greater Paris region warehouses are saturated and even require the use of overflow warehouses at peak times (new collections, Christmas, sales, etc.)

A new, totally mechanized warehouse

In 2011 the chain decided to bring its three Greater Paris region logistics platforms together in a completely new 32,000 m2 warehouse, extendable to 42,000 m2, in Amblainville (Picardy, 25 miles North of Paris).

Mechanization of the new logistics platform is being implemented by Knapp, together with Dürkopp and CMC. The two types of clothing, on hangers and folded, are treated differently. Hanger items are managed from a mezzanine, using an overhead conveyor system for both incoming and outgoing goods. Folded items on the other hand, which account for more than 80% of volumes, are collected daily in mass volumes of complete packages. This is achieved by means of a latest generation OSR automated storage system comprising 17,000 trays on 23 levels for reconstituting store orders.

celio* had been using Hardis' Reflex WMS to manage its warehouses since 2009. "We were very satisfied with the tool, and we had no reason to change," recalls Wilfrid Leriche, the chain's Logistics Manager. "So we naturally turned to Hardis to support us in implementing new logistical processes ".

A project carried out in just nine months

In August 2011, construction of the new warehouse started. The five units were delivered ahead of time in order to accelerate their mechanization. Throughout the project, teams from Hardis, Knapp and celio* worked hand in hand: "Everything was tackled, through to delivery of the warehouse in May 2012: its construction, mechanization and computerization," says Wilfrid Leriche. For Hardis, the biggest job was interfacing Reflex WMS with the WCS (warehouse control system) in accordance with the target processes defined in advance. "A one-month pilot phase seemed indispensable for the success of the project. It enabled us to test every possible scenario, and above all to train our teams and help them to understand the changes," he continues.

For celio*, the expected benefits are already apparent: the flows have been simplified, with a single warehouse instead of three, especially for upstream logistics. Processing capacity has been increased by some 50% thanks to mechanization, and reliability of preparations is now close to 99.8%. As a result of the implementation of the new processes, the cost of processing per item has come down and is now once again competitive. And lastly, with the possibility of adding two new 6,000 m2 units, the new site will allow celio* to cater to its growing business volumes in the long term.

From logistics to a global enterprise project

However, this project also had some human objectives "Our employees' working conditions are an essential factor in our decision making. We wanted to offer them a modern, appropriate, pleasant working environment, while also retaining all our employees from the three old warehouses," says Wilfrid Leriche.

All workstations were specially designed for celio*: sorter injection, mixed items, etc. Ergonomics were given pride of place in order to ensure employee satisfaction. As well as bright, attractive, modern site in celio* colors, the company has installed equipment designed to favor the team's wellbeing and cohesion: a cozy area, table tennis, table soccer, TV, coffee machine, a boules pitch, etc.

The employees have also been offered support measures to prevent the change of workplace acting as a constraint: shuttle buses between the old sites and the new warehouse, financing of driver's license, gasoline cards, etc.

"Simplicity, respect, listening, determination and impeccable service are part of the values forming celio*'s DNA. They supported us throughout the project, and we shared them with Hardis' and Knapp's teams, making this project a total success," Wilfrid Leriche concludes.