The Rolf Group, international supplier of schoolproducts

Company The Rolf group

The Rolf Group has an excellent reputation as a total supplier for nurseries and elementary school. They supply all practical solutions: from pens, pencils and notebooks to computers, tables and chairs. In addition to products from other suppliers, the Rolf Group also supplies its own products. They deliver their own Rolf Group products both inside and outside Europe, such as in China and Australia. The extensive range and global presence, means logistical challenges for Bram van Wichen, warehouse manager at the Rolf group, and his colleagues.

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The challenge

Eliminating peak pressure

One of the challenges is the seasonal nature of the Rolf Group. Bram van Wichen explains: “In quiet times we receive around 2,000 order lines per day. Quite a lot of orders, but still manageable for us. The challenge really comes when elementary school close for the vacations. During this period, elementary school place annual orders, with the result that the number of order lines increases tenfold.”

This peak load demands a lot from Bram and his team: “In order to process these orders properly, the process must be as efficient and error-free as possible. After all, we want to serve our customers as well and as quickly as possible. Another challenge is the available warehouse space. The large stock during this peak requires us to be smart about the limited space. After all, it is not an option to enlarge our warehouse just for this peak.”

High pickefficiency

Approximately 80% of the total Rolf Group assortment, about 17,000 items, is in racks and transported by an extensive conveyor system. This conveyor system was also supplied by Costo in the past. In peak periods, up to 20,000 order lines are processed per day. In order to properly process the large number of orders during these peak times, it is essential that the picking efficiency is high. In order to increase efficiency, a warehouse management system (WMS) from Costo was chosen in combination with the hardware.

The solution

The importance of harmony between software and hardware

To alleviate the peak, a number of intralogistics modifications have already been implemented in the Rolf Group’s warehouse. The most important efficiency gains have been made through the Arrow solution, Costo’s WMS. Bram explains: “in the old situation, an order picker had to place the box in a bin on the conveyor. Because of the modular Arrow software from Costo, we have one central set-up point for the order picker.

Cubing, voicepicking & zonepicking

The warehouse management system (WMS) determines the correct volume of the order and indicates which box (or boxes) are needed, tailored to the order. This technique is called ‘cubing’ and ensures that as little air as possible is transported. The hardware of Costo ensures that the box is offered to the correct zone at the right time. In the zone, the order picker collects the order via an order picking system. The order picker is assisted by voice-picking so that he knows which articles to pick and he has his hands free to collect goods. By using zone picking the order picker does not have to walk as far this saves time.”

Afbeelding De Rolf groep voice

The result

Seamlessly connected hardware and software

When choosing intralogistics warehouse management system and hardware, solutions from several parties were carefully compared by Bram and his team. What was the deciding factor in choosing the Costo Group?

“The combined expertise of both software and hardware was the deciding factor. The Costo Group is a ‘one-stop-shop’ where the solutions fit seamlessly into our warehouse. The warehouse management system (WMS) and warehouse control system (WCS) communicates perfectly with the hardware. Moreover, Costo’s software offers the additional advantage of already being a very complete program in the basis. In addition, the software can be easily expanded for customised solutions. What also stands out is the user-friendliness of the system for our employees. The team of Costo thinks along in finding the right solution and the contact is pleasant”.

Also towards the future, the Rolf Group sees opportunities for cooperation with Costo. “Recently, we have mainly focused on optimizing our largest order flow that is transported via the roller conveyor. In addition to this system, we have about five other picking processes for about 20% of our assortment. Here we still see some opportunities for improvement.”

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