The Golden Quarter

Logistex’s General Manager – Engineering Support Services discusses the challenges of preparing for peak…

The Golden quarter, also known as ‘Peak’ is for many retailers the most important and most challenging time of the year. Many spend the first 9 months of the year just building up and preparing for this period.

So why is it such a challenge?

Stock holding

The aim of the game is to sell as many items of stock as possible, but of course when you have a sudden spike for demand, you have to ensure you have the right stock with the right sizes and colours available when the demand hits, otherwise you will be letting your customers down at a critical time which they unfortunately do not forget!

What does this actually mean? Well, for example, an average retailer’s distribution centre may hold around 5 million ‘items’ of stock on any normal day. Given that they may roughly require a further 40% stock holding for the peak period alone, they have to find space and process for a further 2 million items!

Resource

Given the above, you then need to be able to increase your staff holding by a similar % in a short space of time. Imagine taking on a few hundred extra staff that all need an induction and training on process, not just for the normal operating way but for peak challenging ways!

Equipment/Automation

To be able to cope with the ever growing demand on retailers, following the expectations of us the consumers wanting their items straight away, Automation is pretty much a necessity. But, if there is ever a time that equipment failure hurts you the most, it has to be peak! Potentially thousands of customer orders, and hundreds of staff stood around waiting for the magic green button to be pushed again to get the system back running following Engineer’s resolution.

It’s so critical that all equipment is in its prime condition ready to cope with the demands put on it through this period. Servicing and repairs, although they may cause inconvenience during other times, it’s certainly the better trade off than unexpected down time during the busiest time of the year!

Engineering

All eyes on you! Imagine the occurrence of a site stood still due to an unexpected breakdown, hundreds of eyes watching and an ever growing number of managers stood over your shoulder asking how long?!

This is a time when all that experience pays off, you have to be calm, be able to communicate under pressure whilst trying to solve the issue at hand.

A lot of the time Engineering is seen as the necessary evil, but they generally can be the unsung heroes!

Operations

If the stock holding is correct, you have the right resource in place and the Automation runs as you would hope, operations still have to conduct small miracles every day throughout and leading up to this quarter to ensure the customers’ needs are met.

I’ve only given rough estimates of figures during this blog down to my own experiences, but to finalise….

We wouldn’t have it any other way! The golden quarter, although the most challenging time for retailers, let’s not forget how magical a time it is!

So my final points would be to stock up, resource up and look after your assets, then enjoy the ride and take satisfaction in knowing you have delivered millions of smiles on Christmas day!!!

Logistex User Group 2018

Users of Logistex’s warehouse management and control software recently gathered at the Kettering Park Hotel for our fifth User Group. Delegates heard about the latest product development, attended workshops on how to make the most of the software, and engaged in lively discussions with their industry peers about how to address business challenges facing them today.

A highlight of the day was guest speaker Brian McBride, Chairman of ASOS and former MD of Amazon UK, who gave our closing speech. Brian spoke about digital disruption, citing the likes of Nokia and Kodak who went from being hugely successful to falling by the wayside as they did not respond to digital advances. He also spoke about the importance of mobile and social media, giving examples from ASOS and Amazon, and ultimately arguing that retailers only have two choices – ‘Evolve or Die.’

“All the speeches, presentations & workshops were highly professional, and the content was all current & relevant to our working world”
(Network Systems Development Manager, Wincanton Logistics).

SHD Logistics Conference

The SHD Logistics Conference, ‘Transforming Logistics Through Technology’, returned this month allowing attendees to discover transformative new technology, network with senior logistics professionals, and debate and discuss the challenges faced in today’s environment.

Among the speakers were Justin Saw, Sales Director at Logistex, and Naila Dad, Head of Operations at Pharmacy2U who discussed the award winning pharmaceutical dispensing facility created by Logistex and Pharmacy2U. The pair also sat on the afternoon conference panel to take questions from the audience.

Read the Pharmacy2U case study and see a video of the facility in action here.

Visit us at eDelivery Expo – 21st-22nd March

There’s no rest for the wicked! One show down and the LWS Reflex team are busy preparing for the next one! After a busy couple of days at IntraLogisteX, Logistex are now getting ready for our next big event – eDelivery Expo, the UK’s largest retail fulfilment and final mile event.

The eDelivery expo will be taking place on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd March at the NEC in Birmingham. Logistex will be on stand F61 showcasing our innovative warehouse management software.

Not sure of your stock levels? Want to improve pick accuracy? Need to manage peaks of activity but don’t want to pay even more when you bring in temporary staff? Then pop along to the Logistex stand for a chat with Mark and James about how you can combat these issues and try a live hands on demo of our WMS. Register free here!

Ansell Lighting improves warehouse efficiency with Reflex!

Logistex has installed its innovative warehouse management system, LWS Reflex, at Ansell Lighting’s warehouse operations in Warrington and Belfast. LWS Reflex controls the receiving and putaway, replenishment, picking, packing and despatch operations. Since Go Live the operation has achieved significant efficiency gains. Check out the video of the facility in action here: https://youtu.be/6BJPlbiA4pA 

LWS Reflex logo

 

 

One month countdown to IntraLogistex..!

There’s only a month to go until the biggest ever IntraLogistex exhibition! The 2 day event, taking place on Tuesday 27th – Wednesday 28th February at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, provides a comprehensive platform for all the latest cutting edge technology available to give your business the power to stay one step ahead of the operation.

Not sure of your stock levels? Want to improve pick accuracy? Need to manage peaks of activity but don’t want to pay even more when you bring in temporary staff? Logistex will be on stand 142 to discuss how you can combat these issues, and showcasing a live demo of our innovative warehouse management software.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Derek’s Logistex Adventure

In the last of our special edition anniversary blog posts from our longest serving employees, Derek Kay, Business Development Director, tells us why he has stuck around for so long!

“It was 1991 when I joined Io Systems (Io as in Jupiter’s moon), at that time Io and Cleco were separate private companies prior to the merge and later sale to FKI and the formation of Logistex. I started out as a Software Engineer, brought in at the time to begin the transition from Fortran and VMS to C and Unix. After about 3 more years of working on Fortran and VMS, we started our first projects in C!

Some of the sites I wrote software for are still out there, DHL – Mataro and WH Smith for example, and occasionally I still get an email from the hotline asking if I remember why something was written in the way it was. (I never can).

I’ve been a Software Engineer, Software Team Leader, Project Manager, Resource Manager, Head of Systems and now Business Development Director, all with Logistex, albeit under its earlier incarnations.

I’ve had the opportunity to develop my career and change focus so I’ve never felt the need to look outside of the company and to be honest I’ve worked with such a great group of people over the years I’ve never wanted to.
I can honestly say that I’ve met some of my closest friends here at Logistex and as much as anything they’re the ones who’ve made it enjoyable.”

You can read the story of Logistex’s journey here.

Calvin Davies (Systems Architect) looks back on his time with Logistex

Back to our anniversary blog posts! Calvin Davies looks back on his time with Logistex:

“I have been with the the company for 23 years, although it was a bit different when I joined- I think I was employee number 12 in the family-run IO Systems, in two knocked-together houses in Dunstable, and Cleco was just our biggest customer. Projects were a bit different then, with weeks or months spent on site (Mars and BT stand out for me) – great for building team spirit and camaraderie, not so good for family life. We have it so easy now!

I did once try to leave, in 2001 when my wife got a 2 year job in Chicago, but my boss at the time suggested I had a go at teleworking. Many of us work from home, at least some of the time now (though rarely from 4,000 miles away), but I felt like a bit of a pioneer back then. Hats off to the Cleco IT Department for making it work.

I’ve stuck around since then because Logistex are good people to work with and for. There’s a lot more than 12 of us now, but it still feels like it’s run by people who know what’s going on.”

Read the full story behind Logistex’s growth and success here.