After achieving rapid business growth with in Ireland, Smyths Toys expanded their reach into the UK Mainland, becoming one of the UK’s largest toy distributors. They quickly identified the need for the warehouse operations management aspect of their business to develop too. The business had ambitious plans for growth, so a key requirement for implementing any new system was the capability to scale. Integration functionality was important as they also had plans to invest in a new e-commerce platform. Smyths Toys required a bespoke warehouse and back office system and Vardells developed this in-house. The system had to be user friendly and capable of making data readily available for management reporting. A system that was well-supported, during installation, throughout day-to-day operations, and out of usual business operating hours.
Prior to Vardells, Smyths Toys were using a complex order processing routine. Picking was paper based, inefficient, and prone to errors. Packing and despatch was problematic and an additional checking stage was needed to minimise errors, slowing the process down considerably. On top of this, a manual match up of packing note and courier label was also required, which caused bottlenecks at times of high volume. Products were stockpiled with inefficient use of storage, space and warehousing of new goods was troublesome. Inventory was often inaccurate, which wasn’t helped by the many disjointed back office processes that could affect stock levels and often required human intervention. Stocktakes were difficult, if not impossible, to complete and the goods in and out process was time consuming and prone to error.
After implementing Vardells ‘ comprehensive integrated Warehouse Management System Warehouse Connect orders are now able to flow directly without any manual intervention. The use of Vardells’ handheld ‘Simple Pie’ scanners mean that picking is more streamlined, with operatives being directed around the warehouse in the most efficient sequence and time. The latest outstanding innovative feature added to Smyths Toys system is our ‘zig-zag picking ‘. This has dramatically increased efficiencies by enabling one-way travel through all aisles, creating a safer, more efficient picking environment and successfully meeting their business objectives. Despatching goods has been made much easier with the packing note and courier label automatically printing in real-time. The location-based warehousing system allows Smyths Toys to store products in any location, making much better use of the space and vastly simplifying the put-away process.
With full inventory visibility stock levels are more accurate, resulting in a considerably reduced scope for manual adjustments and errors. Stock takes are easier to undertake with the ‘Simple Pie’ scanners and the goods in and out process is much quicker. Entire deliveries can be received into the warehouse and out to stores and customers in a fraction of the time, and new stock is live on the website and in store in real time. The introduction of ‘zig-zag picking’ has saved on average 2 hours per day in man hours.
“We implemented Vardells Warehouse Connect system in 2012 and have been delighted with the results. Through implementation and driving efficiencies we have experienced cost savings of around 25%. We find the workforce at Vardells both attentive and professional while we continue to work together to drive down costs and increase profits.”
– Tony Smyth , Managing Director at Smyths Toys Superstore