07/11/2019 | Hardis Group

Mauritius-based logistics service provider MFD has opted for Reflex WMS to manage the highly diverse activities of its 140-plus clients, spanning textiles, food and non-food retail, fishing, manufacturing, and more. The new system gives the firm the full range of real-time management indicators it needs to honor its service level commitments.

Hardis Group, a consulting firm, digital services company and independent software vendor, announces that Mauritius Freeport Development (MFD), a leading logistics service provider on the island of Mauritius, has deployed Reflex WMS to manage operations at its 90,000 m2 warehouse. The switchover to the new system, completed in just 12 months, leaves the firm better equipped to serve its 140-plus clients and ready to cope with rising demand as its business grows quickly, all the while tracking attainment of its delivery commitments in real time.

Logistics service provider MFD deploys Reflex WMS at its 90,000 m2 warehouse

MFD: a fast-growing 3PL provider in the south-west Indian Ocean

MFD is one of Mauritius' leading logistics providers. The firm operates out of a 90,000 m2 warehouse, which includes 20,000 m2 of space for frozen and chilled products. The facility also acts a regional deconsolidation hub, as well as serving the local market. MFD handles 40,000 different items on behalf of over 140 clients spanning a diverse range of segments, from food and non-food retail, to fishing, manufacturing, and more. In 2020, the company plans to open two new warehouses in Mauritius—a 30,000 m2 site in the north of the island and a 5,000 m2 facility at the airport—to keep pace with its growing business. It also intends to set up logistics platforms in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa.

A new WMS to manage highly diverse activities

MFD had used the same WMS to manage its warehouses since its foundation over 20 years ago. The firm had developed a series of special features to cater to its clients' specific logistics requirements, but the existence of multiple interfaces with other applications meant that the system's architecture had become too complex. "Managing our operations was becoming a real struggle", says Dimitri Lagesse, Chief Process & Information Officer at MFD. "So, in early 2017, we decided it was time for a new warehouse management system. We had to review, standardize and optimize all our processes before drafting the specifications. We devoted two years to this exercise, and we called in a consulting firm to help." By October 2018, MFD was ready to launch the tender. Around a dozen vendors submitted bids. The firm shortlisted three before ultimately opting for Hardis Group.

MFD chose Reflex WMS on account of its user-friendly web interface, its ability to handle highly diverse logistics activities, and its proven track record in similar contexts. "We were also impressed by the input we received from Hardis Group at the presentation stage," explains Lagesse. "The team advised us how to integrate the WMS into our existing system architecture. The R&D roadmap also put our minds at ease about the system's scalability, and gave us confidence that we could count on Hardis for many years to come."

Management and real-time decision-making

The project kicked off in March 2018 with support from Avenir Logistic Conseil, Hardis Group's partner integrator in Réunion. The timetable was ambitious: the aim was to deploy the new WMS for all clients and activities by September 2019 to avoid having the two systems operating in parallel for too long. The first activity was migrated in September 2018, and there were 12 switchovers in total in the space of a year. The old system was retired altogether in October 2019, just two weeks later than the original target. "Our teams were the driving force behind this project," adds Lagesse. "They were genuinely excited about using RF technology and embracing a new way of working—switching from a men-to-system to a system-to-men model."

The benefits of the new system became clear from the first switchover, with staff spending far fewer additional hours working to honor MFD's service level commitments. "The new WMS lets us manage our operations in real time", says Lagesse. "It's much easier for us to honor our commitments and delivery lead times because we can make decisions in an instant." Reflex WMS is also playing a key part in MFD's digitization strategy, with the firm exploiting the data it produces for both internal and external needs—automated invoicing and an improved client experience. A new web portal gives MFD’s clients real-time oversight of ongoing picking and receipt operations, as well as the option to place orders online.

In the coming months, MFD will deploy the e-appointment module to optimize transport planning, and will interface Reflex WMS with its ERP system. The firm also plans to use Hardis Group's WMS for its shipping container management business.