When Rexel Belgium merged six different companies into one efficient, streamlined whole, IBS software emerged as a key management tool
Piet Maes, IT director of Rexel Belgium explains how productivity in two logistics centers has increased by over 35%.
The Belgian subsidiary, Rexel Belgium is headquartered in Brussels and offers turnkey technical solutions for its customers in construction, maintenance and renovation industries. This offering is shaped around the company's core products ranging from electrical installation equipment and conduits and cabling, to lighting equipment, climate control and security systems.
Rexel Belgium was formed with the consolidation of six Belgian companies. This disparate group faced a major uphill task in becoming one company in the practical sense. Streamlining product lines, financial procedures and inventory control were a necessity. Merging the companies would have been impossible without a completely reliable and stable IT solution.
One of the most difficult issues Rexel faced was to ensure centralised data flow to create efficiency in key areas: pricing and delivery strategy, product-range integration, financial control, client sales and service, and inventory and warehouse management.
After the merger, Rexel Belgium had some 22,000 articles in stock with a total product range of 500,000 items available to sell from 26 branches. All stock was processed through two logistics centres. To ensure synergies in customer ordering and invoicing across the country, Rexel Belgium needed an IT solution to harmonise and control its business in a multi-lingual environment.
Solution and capabilities
One of the original six Belgian companies was already using IBS' integrated business software solution, ASW, and had seen its previous 'spaghetti-like' IT system successfully transformed.
Rexel realised that one of the great things about ASW is the way it sees distribution and financials as two sides of the same coin. Transactions for the physical flow of goods within the branches or warehouses nationwide are automatically posted to accounts through a common interface, providing fast invoicing and customer service in both French and Dutch. The IBS solution ensures that all national branches carry the same pricing and product information.
ASW has been developed to enhance customers' profitability through in-creased sales, reduced costs, shortened lead-times, improved customer service, greater efficiency in internal and external processes and provision of excellent management information. Exactly what Rexel Belgium was looking for.
IBS' focus on distribution was another factor in Rexel Belgium's choice of business system software. The company’s operation relates closely to the business-savvy way in which IBS has developed ASW.
IBS literally moved in with Rexel, implementing ASW step-by-step. To start with, eight sales points and one distribution centre were implemented. Using this tried and tested methodology, additional sales points were added each month, until the whole group was live with ASW. Rexel Belgium was most impressed with the strength of the working relationship that developed between its employees and those of IBS.
The warehouse management module is ideal for companies like Rexel Belgium because the system is built with scalability in mind. It allows the company to better control its vast product range and keep track of productivity figures on a daily basis.
Rexel Belgium has fine-tuned the warehouse management module, using internal replenishment within the same warehouse. ASW automatically signals when product lines in ‘primary pick’ locations of the warehouse need replenishing from less-accessible bulk stocks. This ensures reduced lead-times, cost savings and more efficient stock replenishment. ASW NetStore, IBS' advanced e-business solution gives professional electricians all the tools they need to place orders on-line, check outstanding customer orders and accounts, query the product catalogue and make quotations for customers - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Benefits and value
Within the space of 18 months, the six disparate companies were merged. In terms of turnover and number of employees, Rexel is now number two on the Belgian market.
Thanks to ASW, customer orders are directed automatically to the appropriate distribution center depending on product availability. By improving work flow, Rexel Belgium has optimised inventory levels and increased customer satisfaction as orders are now fulfilled in a timely manner.
ASW Warehouse Management has helped Rexel Belgium increase productivity. In fact, productivity has risen by 35 and 50 percent in the two national distribution centres. Day-to-day figures are easily checked and monitored thanks to IBS software's intelligent functionality.
ASW and the professional support from IBS have allowed Rexel Belgium to reach all of its original objectives and generate daily Return on Investment.