- Compliance with legal requirements of the food industry
- Complete installation of the software in the logistics center
- Flexible for future developments, such as pending legal requirements
The franchise company Fressnapf trusts in the modularly designed warehouse management system LFS for the management of their central warehouse. With the industry-independent warehouse management system, the market leader in pet food and accessories can any time extend their warehouse without any problems. Besides that, the software meets the requirements of the alimentary industry like for instance the EU regulation 178/2002 long before it comes into effect.
In the domain of pet food and accessory, the Fressnapf Tiernahrungs GmbH is Europe’s biggest special retailer chain. Founded in 1990 as a single company, today almost 500 markets in six European countries belong to the successful franchise company, 430 of them in the Federal Republic only. All 200 attached franchise acceptors are centrally supplied from the Krefeld logistics centre. On an entire surface of 24,000 square metres, 100 employees handle about 1,500 pallets of goods every day.
On 22,000 pallet places in the high-bay warehouse and 2,500 in bulk storage, almost 80 % food and 20 % non-food items are stored. As only big volumes are handled, there is no picking of containers or roll vehicles. The items are only picked on Euro-pallets; fast-moving items are partially directly released on original pallets. The data transfer with the about 200 franchise partners is realised by a system, which means that the subsidiaries give their orders via EDI or Internet directly to the central warehouse.
While Fressnapf during the first ten years of the company’s history handled all logistic processes with the association for wholesale and purchase in the REWE-network, the market leader decided in 2000 to manage the logistics for the formerly 350 subsidiaries themselves. An important task in the construction of the logistics centre was, according to the IT-manager Alexandre Erren, the selection of a warehouse management system. “In the warehouse, there should be a comprehensible and systematic material flow. Next to being permanently up-to-date, we demanded from the system a flexible openness for future developments. The upcoming legal requirements for the alimentary industry are a part of that. With Fressnapf, we take care of the pet food with the sensibility of the alimentary business. We handle the pet food with the sensibility of the alimentary industry. We show the same respect to the animals by observing these regulations. As the necessity of batch tracing was already visible in 2002, the issue of the traceability was already important for us at that time.”
Quick project implementation
For the selection of the warehouse management system, Fressnapf preferred two German suppliers of standard software. The decision of the logistics specialist Ehrhardt + Partner were especially the high standard of LFS and the technically well engineered solution of the market-leading system. For Fressnapf, the use of radio frequency for voucherless picking was very important. This technology is, like other common picking technology, already integrated in LFS. Besides that, the software covers far more than the usual functions of the alimentary industry on the market with existing software modules. As a goal, Fressnapf wanted to use only standards in the new logistics centre. With the Krefeld warehouse there was a completely new installation. Despite that, the project team only needed two days of work for the elaboration of the system requirements documents and the creation of a new interface to the applied enterprise resource planning system SoftM. As IT-manager Erren reports, “LFS was well-rehearsed, parameterised and started within only three weeks.” A special quality of the software implementation was above all the fact that Alexandre Erren – who already knew LFS from his time as an IT-manager in the wholesale – realised the installation himself with his five employees. An attendance by Ehrhardt + Partner employees was not necessary.
The interface connection to SoftM was no problem for LFS, as the system disposes of an external module “interface” which simplifies the connection to other software systems. Project extension and new requests to LFS Due to the continuous growth of the company – in barely two years the number of Fressnapf subsidiaries grew from 325 to almost 500 – in August 2002, the project was extended: the central warehouse was extended by four new halls with an additional capacity of 9,500 pallet places in the high-bay warehouse. This extension was autonomously displayed in the software. The newly added narrow aisle fork lifts are also attached to the system via radio frequency. With these vehicles, LFS manages the replenishment from the above supply storage to the picking bins at ground level. Also the EU regulation 178/2002 passed and coming into effect on January 1st 2005 – it requires the traceability of foods and pet food in all processes of production and sales – has already been observed by LFS for years. The system supports the management and administration of best before dates and guarantees the complete tracing of batches in both directions, both to the supplier and the customer: the warehouse management system displays the origin, composition, location and also the destination of the goods at any time.
Michael Brackmann, logistics CEO of the Fressnapf Tiernahrungs GmbH, summarises the results of the software implementation as follows: “LFS is for us the platform guaranteeing a perfect process in the warehouse, independently from future requests. With this system, an expansive company development and future-orientated warehouse logistics is possible.