U.K. Bookseller Sees 25 Percent Picking Efficiency Improvements following WMS Deployment

Retail chain The Works bumps up accuracy, timeliness of stock allocations with RedPrairie warehouse management system

Retail chain The Works bumps up accuracy, timeliness of stock allocations with RedPrairie warehouse management system

Stokenchurch, UK  June 7, 2005  U.K. value book retail chain The Works has raised warehouse picking efficiency by 25 percent only months after rolling out a range of supply chain solutions from RedPrairie, the solution provider reported recently.

Founded in 1981, The Works is now the UK's leading retailer of value books and artist materials. The chain has more than 220 stores and concessions, and more than 1,600 employees.

The company commissioned a new warehouse management system at its state-of-the art distribution center in the Minworth industrial park in Sutton Coldfield in order to help it to maintain its position as the country's leading supplier of value books. RedPrairie completed the implementation just 12 weeks from the decision to go ahead with the project.

Chris Maddox, managing director of The Works, says that the new warehouse management system has sparked off a range of benefits across the business. "The stores are now getting more accurate and timely stock allocations than ever before, and our new approach made a significant contribution to the £100 million ($122 million) worth of business we did in the Christmas 2004 period," he said.

"Store replenishment is now more accurate and we have the information necessary to manage our warehouse operation effectively," said Diane Smith, project manager for the warehouse management system (WMS) at The Works. "As the months go by, we will be expecting even greater returns."

Smith added that the company now benefits from a range of over 100 reports. "For instance, we can look at pick rates per member of staff, enabling us to reward those that are fast and spend more time coaching those who are not," she said. "Pickers can also see their own pick rates, providing them with added incentive to be more productive."

In addition, receiving and allocation of publisher's returns can now be carried out in a single process, which saves further time.

The Works reported no issues in training staff and getting employees up and running on the new solution. Staff are directed what to do using screen menus on the radio frequency (RF) gun, allowing the company to do away with paper training materials.

The new system has not constrained how the company's employees work, according to Smith. "We have been able to combine our existing best practices with the recommendations of RedPrairie and go on from there to achieve greater efficiencies."

Additional Articles of Interest

For more information on the latest trends in the fulfillment and warehouse management space, see the article "The Analyst Corner: Fulfillment & Logistics" in the October/November 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.