As a World leader in the distribution of office supplies and equipment, Staples implemented a-SIS’ LM7® WMS to optimise the preparation and dispatch of orders at its site in Tongeren, Belgium.
A multi-site organisation
Staples Inc. invented the concept of a department store selling office supplies in the United States in 1986. This principal allowed private individuals or small companies to buy their office supplies at prices which were usually reserved for large companies. Today with over 50,000 employees and over 7,000 product references (office supplies, technological products, furniture etc.), Staples is the largest retailer of office supplies in the World. The company delivers to customers in North America, Europe and Asia via its mail order catalogue, e-business or business contracts and has a turnover of 18.2 billion dollars a year.
In Europe, approximately 3 million customers call on Staples for their office supplies. Staples has 9 catalogues and various websites in 13 countries.
In Belgium and the Netherlands, Staples is known as Office Centre, a cash-and-carry shop exclusively intended for professional customers with a membership card. The company has 45 centres in the Netherlands and 3 in Belgium. Office Centre also offers the option of delivery via shops. Staples also has 137 Staples shops in the United Kingdom and 57 in Germany.
One warehouse for the Benelux countries and Germany
Staples decided to invest in the LM7®
WMS to centralise distribution for three countries: Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany at its Tongeren site. The LM7®
solution, which had been tried and tested by the main office supply companies, had already been adopted by Staples at its French (JPG), Italian (Mondoffice) and British (Neat Ideas) sites. As the Belgian site’s requirements were similar to those of the British site, a copy of the existing LM7®
application was installed.
The Tongeren site manages 10,500 product references and dispatches an average of 8,500 split case, ugly and full case type boxes daily. The dispatched products vary in size as they range from erasers to office furniture.
The fact that LM7® natively integrates the automatic control of Savoye’s mechanised conveyor was also an important element to consider when choosing this WMS. Furthermore, it is able to manage the two automatic labelling machines located at the beginning and the end of the conveyor.
One of the constraints that LM7® had to contend with was the management of dispatches for Staples and JPG with special documents printed for each company. For these « Gold Customers » the delivery notes are a special colour (printing tray management). There is also a systematic check based on weight or customer criteria (customers with whom lawsuits are underway or new customers).
Goals and benefits
LM7® should enable the Tongeren site to increase the volumes it processes by 50 % within 3 years and to manage Jiffy Bags like the Neat Ideas site. For these special logistic units which are reserved for the smallest volumes, goods are dispatched in envelopes. In this case, LM7® manages collections on the preparation conveyor.
In Europe, the American Staples is becoming a big name in the on-line sale of office supplies to companies.