FIC: an integrated logistics solution with automatic and manual systems
Mecalux has installed an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) for boxes in addition to pallet and cantilever racks that can adapt to any type of good.
FIC is a French company specialising in the marketing of products for construction professionals.
Since its creation in 1965, FIC has adapted to technological changes in order to maintain its high quality and ensure efficient logistics operations.
Before, all our points of sale had their own stock, which was supplied by a central warehouse. This entailed high transport costs between shops, since, when they ran out of a product, they would replenish each other. When a business reaches a certain size, it needs to have a centralised logistics centre capable of storing the stock of all the shops, thus reducing the merchandise housed in each individual one.
To tackle this problem, we had to automate: we wanted to continue being competitive in today’s market and achieve optimal throughput. Another reason was that our shops no longer has room for all the stock they needed.
In view of FIC’s need to offer fast customer service, store multiple SKUs and consolidate all its goods under one roof, Mecalux designed a personalised integrated logistics solution with automated and manual systems.
A 10-metre-tall automated storage and retrieval system for boxes with double-deep racking and two 38-metre-long aisles.
The 19 storage levels of this AS/RS have been adapted to fit boxes of two different heights.
This solution has minimised the floorspace necessary for managing the items in our logistics centre. Now, 60% of our items are managed in only 5% of the facility’s total surface area. To save logistics floorspace, we were looking to invest in automated solutions such as stacker cranes for boxes.
The AS/RS includes software that allows for smart management of operations. Easy WMS, the warehouse management system from Mecalux, manages and controls the putaway strategy. Compared to other manual warehousing systems, this software has doubled productivity in order fulfilment.
Orders are prepared at two pick stations, where the items arrive automatically in line with the goods-to-person method. Each pick station can prepare six orders at once, thanks to the instructions from Easy WMS and to the picking shelves equipped with put-to-light devices.
To accommodate bulkier goods, Mecalux has installed pallet racking. This storage system offers direct access to the products, and its lower levels can be adapted to perform order picking.
As FIC also houses long items, Mecalux has set up cantilever racking to facilitate storage tasks.
Our purchasing department at the head office orders the goods from our suppliers via the ERP system. From that moment on, we have total traceability and computerisation of the data until delivery to the customer. Once the goods arrive at the logistics centre, the digitisation of the goods receipt process begins. After verifying the quantity and quality of the products, they are stored.
We follow two procedures: bulky goods are deposited on the pallet racking — which we can see behind us — and small items are managed in the AS/RS for boxes. Order picking is done automatically based on the needs of the physical shops, and the goods are delivered within 24 hours by a fleet of lorries.
Nowadays, any logistics facility needs warehouse management software such as Easy WMS to ensure full traceability, know where all the items are, and optimise operator pick paths. The software also organises order picking by family and controls all the stock stored in an area of more than 8,000 m2. Easy WMS meets all of these fundamental requirements.
Another element controlled by Easy WMS is the AS/RS for boxes with its stacker crane. The software provides us with traceability of the AS/RS in real time. Easy WMS is fully interconnected with our ERP system, allowing us to comprehensively manage the entire flow of movements, from the purchase of the merchandise to its sale.
Mecalux isn’t just a supplier; it’s a partner that we work and grow with. Mecalux gives us the logistics tools we need, whether in terms of automation or racking. For us, it’s much more than a cooperative relationship, than a simple customer-supplier relationship.
We’re really pleased. Before jumping into this project and choosing Mecalux as a partner, we had done a preliminary study. So, we were convinced that this choice would enable us to face the future much more confidently and consider expanding into new markets, activities and countries.
FIC has effectively centralised its logistics operations, strengthening its relationship with its customers through agile, error-free order deliveries.
Mecalux, FIC’s all-in-one logistics solutions provider, has successfully designed and installed logistics solutions tailored to the company’s needs.