Jøtul AS is one of the world's leading manufacturers of stoves, fireplaces, and inserts. The company's production and warehouse are in Fredrikstad, Norway. Jøtul's production and warehouse are on two different addresses. Naturally, that was associated with a lot more coordination, unnecessary management, extra transport, and extra time spent.
It was Jøtul's goal to keep the production in Norway. This called for more focus on making procedures and processes more efficient. The warehouse was an area with the potential for significant improvement.
The existing warehouse was a big, manual warehouse with fixed locations and old-fashioned paper pick lists that were printed on a Lawson M3. The warehouse was manned by 38 storehouse clerks in the peak season (August-February) and 27 in the low season. The work in the warehouse was characterised by substantial search time for the right items and administrative work in the form of reporting of paper pick lists. The warehouse performance had a pick efficiency of about 50 order lines per day per person and an error rate of 0.5%.
The realisation of Jøtul's goals required changes in the warehouse situation. The first big item was to eliminate all of the extra handling that was connected to two separate sites. In the warehouse, the efficiency had to be improved significantly, which could not be accomplished by simply running faster.
Jøtul initiated a big warehouse project the goal of which was to merge the warehouse with the production on the production site and optimise all processes in the warehouse. The latter required investment in new warehouse technology in the form of a specialised warehouse management system and introduction of automation.
A large warehouse of 10,000 m2 was constructed and fitted with a stock for items in production as well as a stock for finished products and a dispatch area.
The new warehouse includes the following manual and automated stock areas:
• 10 automatic stock machines
• pallet stock with 1376 locations
• mobile shelves with 5328 locations
• block stacking stock with 356 loc.
• goods reception
• packaging and dispatch area
The whole warehouse is managed through the warehouse management system LOGIA.
One of the crucial points for Jøtul in connection with the warehouse project was that they had to have a specialised warehouse management system that could be integrated fully with their ERP system M3. They chose LOGIA, which has a standard interface to M3.
Jøtul said the following to the Norwegian magazine ’Modern Transport’:
"Jøtul has also introduced a warehouse management system, Warehouse Management System, from Logimatic. It is this software, Logia WMS, that for the most part controls the automated stock machines and the rest of the warehouse activity. - Earlier, we had a general ERP system (Lawson M3). In other words, a system that "could be used for everything but wasn't particularly well-suited for anything." We have a whole other level of control now. The integration between Logia WMS and Lawson M3 went well, after the usual "children's diseases" had been overcome. – Logimatic wasn't the cheapest software we could have picked, but they scored very well on the user average. That was crucial to us."
The warehouse management system manages the whole warehouse, from goods reception to dispatch. All locations, goods, employees, hours, orders, and much more is managed and executed through LOGIA and WMS. The system ensures that the capacity in relation to the automated stock machines and the manual stock areas are used in the best possible way – in terms of both warehouse space and the efficiency when storing and picking. Furthermore, LOGIA ensures a good flow in the entire warehouse.
Picking takes place in parallel in the different areas of the warehouse. That provides a good flow in the warehouse and the picking efficiency has increased by 30%, while the error rate has dropped to 0.1%. The efficiency increase was made possible due to Jøtul's processes having been rethought, elimination of unnecessary handling, good systematisation, and management of all warehouse processes as well as introduction of automation in the form of automated stock machines.
LOGIA manages and splits up the order into three warehouse areas (automated stock machines, pallet stock, and mobile shelves) so that the order can be picked in parallel. After the picking, LOGIA manages the consolidation of the orders before dispatch.
The pick routes are optimised so that the jobs are executed as efficiently as possible. All transactions are scanned and registered so errors are caught in the process and corrected.
All employees are online on LOGIA. Regardless of where you work in the warehouse, you are guided by LOGIA and you have access to relevant information. All employees report in LOGIA on an ongoing basis. The result is that you can see the current status of the stock and the progress of the orders of the day.
The automated vertical lifts represent the absolute high-efficiency area of the warehouse. The machines hold all small items for production and sale, in total about 6500 locations.
Earlier, several employees were occupied with picking small items all day long. Today, one man takes care of picking small items from the 10 automated vertical lifts. The picks in the automated vertical lifts are collected and executed in 1-2 pick rounds each day. Most days, pick orders in the machines can be completed in a total of 3-4 hours.
The automated vertical lifts are equipped with touch screens and 'pick-to-light' displays to streamline picking and eliminate sources of error. Furthermore, the area with automated vertical lifts have custom mobile pick carts that can hold 12 order boxes and are equipped with 'put-to-light' displays and a touchscreen. In total, a batch of up to 12 orders are picked at a time after which the items are distributed to the order boxes on the pick cart. That saves a lot of small picks and unproductive steps between the machine and the pick cart.
Jøtul manages a VMI warehouse for some of the sub-suppliers. The sub-suppliers own the items until they are picked for Jøtul's customer or production orders. Only when a VMI stock item is picked, it passes on to Jøtul's stock.
The VMI stock items are stored chaotically together with Jøtul's other items and in the picking process, there is no difference in whether an ordinary stock item or a VMI stock item is picked. The picker neither knows nor experiences any difference when VMI items are picked.
Good planning and a good general view are key to a well-run warehouse. The warehouse manager at Jøtul uses the planning module in LOGIA very actively. Orders are prioritised after time of dispatch or time of production and afterwards made available for activation.
The warehouse manager can see the status of how far the orders are and when the picking of them is expected to finish with the current staffing level and level of activity at any time. In that way, it is easy to re-allocate resources and ensure that the orders are ready for dispatch at the right time.
Jøtul needs to be able to track the delivered finished products. All finished products have a serial number and in connection with picking, the serial numbers are registered on the orders in question. This means that a product can always be tracked back to the dealer to which Jøtul delivered the product and the production batch in which the product was manufactured.
The registration takes place via scanning of the item barcode. The data is stored in LOGIA that also sends on a copy of the information to M3.
LOGIA has a visual interface that is very intuitive and easy to understand and learn. The simple communication ensures a minimum of errors. At the same time, it makes great flexibility in the warehouse possible. You can easily switch between and vary tasks. Relevant information is displayed on the screen, and all jobs and reports take place directly in LOGIA as part of the work process. It is easy and simple and it replaces paper picking lists and the subsequent reporting.
"We have introduced the warehouse management system Logia WMS into our new warehouse. Today, all warehouse operations take place online on the WMS. We have a whole other level of control now, and we make full use of our warehouse resources."