Let’s team up to gain more control over your supply chain.
Have you ever wondered if your supply chain could be run more efficiently? Or whether there is room for improvement when packaging, sorting and moving your products? FPC would be happy to help. We are packaging experts on both a strategic and practical level and are able to help you to gain more control of all processes within the chain. To achieve this, you will need the right data and applications that are able to seamlessly work together. We combine sustainable packaging solutions with process optimisation and smart technology. And it pays off!
With our custom-design solutions you will achieve:
A cost reduction in your logistic supply chain
Efficient and damage-free dispatches
Are these the goals you would like to achieve? Please contact us!
Improve your collaboration with chain partners
A better collaboration with your chain partners is the best solution to work efficiently in the logistic supply chain. We can assist you by structuring your logistic processes. We do this by analysing and improving the packaging processes within your (international) supply chain. You will be able to work with the same IT-system as your supply chain partners, such as shippers/handlers and fulfilment centres, which makes the entire partnership more efficient.
The advantages of an efficient supply chain:
Lower material and shipping costs
A more efficient and easier deployment of personnel
A decrease in damaged shipments
In order to safely and efficiently ship your products, you will need a functional packaging as well as an excellent supply chain. Many companies, especially in e-commerce, have fast-growing logistic departments. These offer excellent opportunities for expansion because of the enormous increase in digital technology. Yet at the same time, more and more companies become involved with the supply chain, making it even more complex.
Process optimisation (Advice)
Together, we will be working to improve your control over the packaging, loading and shipping within your supply chain. We will start by analysing your current processes and map all packaging aspects within your supply chain. This analysis is then translated to easy cloud-based solutions which can be implemented on the work floor within 4 to 6 weeks.
With smart technology, we will be optimising the incorporation, quality, availability, efficiency and runtime within your supply chain. All data flow about packaging within the chain is mapped by using smart load carriers that have RFID-technology. We have also developed our own packaging software and tools. And those really make a difference.
We would like to assist you in your efforts to contribute to a better environment. Our sustainable solutions help you to create a uniform, consistent packaging range with as little different packagings and carriers as possible. And simultaneously, you will be able to limit your transport costs to a minimum because you can plan and execute the order picking, stacking and loading more efficiently. This will allow you to kill two birds with one stone.
The call for companies to start thinking about sustainability is rising. Your customers expect you to take measures that decrease your carbon footprint. But to make your processes more sustainable, you will need insight into your supply chain and materials. We will be happy to assist you with this.
The right software and tools in the packaging process will really make a difference. FPC uses the latest technologies and develops its own packaging software and tools. This allows us to serve you even better.
Efficient planning and execution
StackAssist supports you in efficiently planning and executing the order picking, stacking and loading processes when considering transport demands in its broadest sense.
A new packaging solution for KMWE
FPC works as a packaging manager at the Brainport Industries Campus. One of our clients, KMWE, has recently relocated to the campus. FPC will be the packaging manager for all packaging chains at their new location. Bart van Dijck, the project manager for this project, is happy to tell you more about this new partnership.
The partnership with KMWE
KMWE consists of five different companies, including three large ones. They are located in the Netherlands but have a branch in Malaysia as well. They were in need of a new location and a new up-to-date strategy as they had completely outgrown their old site.
New location at Brainport Industries Campus
The square metres at Brainport Industries Campies are relatively expensive, so an outstanding packaging management is of the utmost importance, especially for a supplier of large goods. KMWE develops parts which require large, high volume packagings that generally contain lots of air. One could think of parts intended for the aviation industry for instance. FPC developed an optimal plan requiring less square metres for the storage of supplies. The newly created overview allows KMWE to be more in control and brings consistency to the organization.
A better overview with RFID
The moment the plan was executed, FPC took control of KMWE’s supplies in its warehouses. Through the ERP-system, we automatically receive orders and start the dispatch process. This guarantees that our customers receive their orders ‘just in time’. A clear overview is key and this is maintained by the RFID chips in the labels which are attached to the packagings. The RFID chips provide insight in the supply and ensure that not everything needs to be scanned manually.
FPC’s role at the Brainport Industry Campus
FPC takes care of the entire internal logistic aspect at the Brainport Industry Campus. We arrange everything that involves packagings as well as the packaging management. We provide the cargo carriers which drive around the campus as well as the rotation boxes in which all packagings are indexed. This is done by means of a track and trace principle. The system displays what is inside a packaging. In addition to the aforementioned services, FPC offers a wide range of individual services such as the partnership with KMWE.
Would you like to learn more about this project? Please contact Bart van Dijck.
A closer look at decentralisation in e-fulfilling
As a packaging expert, I am closely monitoring the developments in the disruptive e-fulfilling. Recently, Intertoys made the interesting choice to stop delivering from one central distribution centre in Volendam, but to deliver customer orders straight from the stores. The stores will be getting a storage function to guarantee a quick delivery within a one or two-hour time slot. External delivery men will be delivering the parcels straight to your door. This is an interesting counter-movement in an era where centralization is the norm.
What challenges do we face?
The biggest challenge is controlling the supplies. It is important to use the expensive square metres in your store for showroom purposes and not as a warehouse. And how do you get the right number of products to satisfy both your online and offline customers? Preferably without investing too much in your stock. If your stock is too low, your delivery may be compromised as the nearest store may not have enough supplies. Or the shipping costs from different locations or priority delivery become too high.
Another challenge can be found in the last mile. This is the costliest part of the logistic process. Distribution centres ship relatively large volumes to both customers and stores. These are stacked on pallets or on roller containers for transport purposes and there is only one, or a limited number of stops per delivery route. Logistically speaking, it is more risky to deliver one parcel to just one address at a time. You have more stops, transport mixed goods and if things go wrong, it will often be during the loading and offloading. You cannot deliver on a pallet or roller container as this is not what the customer wants. Besides, the total volume is too low. So, we need alternative packaging solutions. Think about crates, boxes or bags, for instance.
Restocking is also more complex. Intertoys delivers directly from its stores but stocks these stores from a central warehouse. Consumer behaviour follows an unpredictable pattern, especially when this is analysed per store. Restocking is always about mixed goods in ever changing quantities. This is an interesting logistic challenge.
It is also prone to error. Not only when delivering (more stops, changing delivery addresses, mixed goods), but also when order picking. Is the staff ready to handle these logistic tasks? The stores do not have logistic processes, so this has to be built up from scratch. You will be needing specialised staff like order pickers and couriers.
Returns are the biggest obstacle in e-fulfilling. These particular chains are costly, especially if it needs to be addressed at a regional level. Sending returns straight to the distribution centre may be an interesting alternative, though it involves extra transport costs too as the returns need to be send back to the stores eventually.
An uncontrolled growth in packaging material is definitely something that has to be prevented. It would be highly undesirable, if each store had to handle the packaging themselves. They would be required to have a supply of packaging materials for every single possible product combination. Expensive storage room in the store is best used differently.
What opportunities do we have?
I have to be honest, this new strategy caught me by surprise. A distribution centre has its advantages. It allows you to keep an overview and it centralises your stock management. And the shipping costs for parcels are currently so low, that it is hard to best those rates. Yet, I see plenty of opportunities. This approach allows Intertoys to clearly distinguish itself from its competitors. Even major parties like Bol.com are still unable to guarantee a super-fast delivery at the moment. With 230 stores in Holland, an Intertoys is always close by. At the same time, Intertoys is able to service the offline customer as well. Other retail chains are increasingly focussing on online services. Intertoys offers the possibility to check the product in store, or to come and ask for some advice. A good supply will guarantee product availability to the customer, who does not run the risk to go home empty-handed. This is a wonderful example of both online and offline customer retention.
And although the last mile is more expensive, it offers plenty of opportunities to promote brands. You bring the product to the customer and offer services until it is delivered to their door. You are in complete control of the branding process
This strategy has the biggest chance to succeed, if Intertoys manages to create a good functioning stock management at a coordinated regional store level. This is the way to guarantee same-day-delivery, all in your own branded delivery van, or an e-bike if you like. You are always near. In my opinion, this strengthens your position against the big online players like Bol.com and Amazon.com. As the store needs to maintain a limited supply, it will mainly get a distribution function. The distribution centre continuously stocks the store, which is collecting the orders and will be delivering them to the customer within a few hours after ordering.
You need start thinking like a pizza delivery man when deciding upon the right consolidation times. Do you decide to deliver each order individually? Or would you rather wait until you are able to combine a few orders? What would be the optimum? You want to be able to deliver as many combined orders as you can, as fast as you can. This may create some tension between efficiency and reliability. The delivery numbers are usually small with a large number of stops on the route. And every single day you are dealing with different delivery addresses and new products.
My advice: start delivering without postage packaging
In this concept, I would advise to collect all orders in a sustainable crate when taking them out for delivery. This saves you the hassle of having an extensive packaging range. Online stores need to have cardboard postal boxes for every new order. But you will be able to combine orders in a sustainable crate. Boxes or bags are not sustainable, which is why I advise the use of a crate that can be used many times over. In a closed circuit, this crate always returns to the store and can be reused over and over again. A customer can bring returns back to the store or hand them in at the post office.
Make smart use of software solutions by FPC beyond packaging
In order to make this new strategy successful, insight and real-time predictability is a necessity. An intelligent ICT-solution that helps to create a sophisticated and viable logistic concept. This creates a real-time match between the order and the actual supply in store. FPC developed StackAssist, an ICT solution capable of optimising the supply chain in multiple ways.
StackAssist makes a precise calculation of the optimum timeslot to deliver all the collected orders. The program calculates the load factor based on incoming orders and helps to find the perfect balance between efficiency and reliability. You will know exactly which orders can be combined and when to start delivering. It even tells you the optimum loading capacity. This is the perfect solution for customer delivery and for stocking your stores. You maximally use your expensive loading capacity.
Finally, StackAssist can be used to calculate the remaining space when loading the crate. With this, you can offer real time custom services to your customer and give him commercially interesting offers to fill up the remaining space in the crate.
We help to gain control over your supply chain
FPC Beyond Packaging helps you to analyse and improve the packaging process in your supply chain. In addition, we offer software solutions for packaging, loading and shipping. Are you interested to hear what we can do for you organisation? My colleagues and I are happy to be of assistance.
Would you like to know more about StackAssist and our way of working? Bart van Dijck can tell you all about it.
Bart van Dijck
Project Manager FPC
50% increase in effectiveness at FittinQ
FittinQ has been working with StackAssist for a few months; specifically, to optimize their pick-and-pack method. The integration of StackAssist has been successfully completed. FittinQ is one of the largest online lighting retailers who ship and deliver directly to the customer (B2C). Because of StackAssist, they have been able to eliminate a stage within this process and the next stage is already being developed.
Pick and pack quickly outdated
"When FittinQ settled in Hapert, they started with a standard pick-and-pack method but an upgrade was required early on. Pick-in-the-box was the next step: orders are immediately put in the final shipping box so the order picker needs to know the size of the shipping box. In combination with their Warehouse Management System (WMS) that automatically collects product data, the stacking algorithm can virtually stack products in different scenarios. StackAssist chooses the most efficient scenario, based on the box series or pallet series available."
1 packer on 4 order pickers
"Previously, product packaging was the bottleneck in this process. Two packers were needed for each order picker. Now, the roles have been reversed; four pickers are currently working for every packer. Because of the pick-in-the-box method, products are packaged directly into the correct shipping box. In e-commerce, where you typically have low numbers per order, a lot of progress can be made this way. The integration of StackAssist has therefore ensured that the entire process is approximately 50% more efficient. "
Saving on transportation rates as well
FittinQ is now able to ship in a more efficient and environmentally friendly way. The shipments contain less air and are logically arranged by StackAssist. Optimization does not stop here; logistically, a huge cost reduction is achieved as less transport is required.
The next stage is to instantly register packages for transport via the TMS so transport labels can be printed directly. For FittinQ, the switch to StackAssist was easy and has led to many tangible results in a short time. " You may be interested to read the interview with director Bas Lemmers.
Would you like more information about this project? Please contact Bart van Dijck from Faes Packaging Projects.