06/03/2012 | Hardis Group

GL events, a world leader in events management, deployed Hardis Group's Reflex WMS when it moved to a new logistics platform. It took less than six months to get the warehouse management solution up and running.

Services, business software publishing and facilities management company Hardis Group has announced the deployment of its Reflex WMS (warehouse management system) at GL events' new logistics platform in Gonesse (Val d'Oise). In operation since summer 2011, Reflex WMS has enabled GL events, a world leader in events management, to improve customer service and staff productivity and increase the lifespan of furniture by optimizing its storage and logistics flow processes.

Optimize logistics processes to improve service quality

GL events is a world leader in events management with nearly 3,500 staff and revenues of €727.2 million in 2010. The group operates in the three main areas of events management: organization of exhibitions, trade shows, conferences and events, venue management and provision of services to events.

With logistics flows of 200 half-trailers and 2,200 roll cages per week, its Châtillon logistics platform was struggling to cope. In 2010, the company decided to acquire a new 23,000m² site in Gonesse and use the move as an opportunity to industrialize and optimize storage and logistics flow management relating to furniture rental (counters, tables, chairs and so on). The main requirements were improved quality of service to customers and increased productivity. The existing stock management tool used at the Châtillon site was not able to streamline logistics flows, optimize storage space or provide real-time stock visibility or furniture traceability. The decision was made to acquire a total warehouse management solution (WMS).

Hardis Group's Reflex WMS: 94% of requirements are covered as standard

Although the move was not scheduled until summer 2011, the WMS deployment project started at the end of 2010. The lead times were very short: the specifications were drawn up in just a month and three weeks were required in January 2011 to compare the bids from the six shortlisted publishers.

Although cost was a key consideration for GL events, other factors were also important. One of which was meeting as many requirements listed in the specifications as possible with the standard offering. "Our deadlines were extremely tight. The native implementation of a maximum number of features reduced specific adaptation requirements," recalled Damien Rivoire, Assistant Branch Manager for the GL events furniture rental business.

Meeting 94% of the requirements, Hardis' Reflex WMS was way ahead of the rest, with the next best meeting only 83%. GL events employees were particularly impressed by Reflex WMS' user experience, returns flow management (based on the furniture rental business), picking wave management, dynamic priorities management and business management tools. "The test cases presented also convinced us that Hardis teams had understood our requirements perfectly," added Damien Rivoire.

A WMS which was up and running in less than six months

In February 2011, Reflex WMS was chosen with two specific adaptations: interface with the Sigma-Gescom solution, GL events' Furniture rental business' ERP, and the development of a new returns receipt feature on tablets (view items per exhibition, product family then sub-family/color) to make life easier for operators.

The deadlines were met. On July 19, the go-ahead was given to receive stock, and the move could start. More than 500 semi-trailers would be loaded in Châtillon and taken delivery of using the new tool at the new platform in Gonesse. Less than a month later, on August 16, the go-ahead was given for shipments: the first shipments using Reflex WMS were made in the run-up to one of the busiest times of the year.

Improved productivity was immediately seen as a result of paper-free processes, implementation of radio frequency and containerization making loading/unloading easier. The implementation of Reflex WMS also optimized storage space through dynamic allocation of spaces, which were allocated according to item in the previous warehouse. Service quality was also improved with real-time stock visibility (in the warehouse and during receipt and shipment) and the option to deliver furniture in a single wave for events. Finally, full furniture traceability is ensured and storing items in pallets or containers (and no longer item by item) provides better protection and increases their lifespan.

"Hardis fully kept its promises," said Damien Rivoire. "Its teams managed to implement a WMS in less than 6 months despite this type of project sometimes taking 18 months." And that's not all: the target of a 30% increase in productivity in the warehousing activity was achieved at the beginning of 2012, after just four months compared with the usual six."

As a result of the successful implementation of Reflex WMS in GL events' furniture rental business, other Group subsidiaries are planning to obtain a warehouse management solution in the near future.