Bergans Fritid: New warehouse system to celebrate their centenary
Bergans Fritid AS, manufacturer of sports clothing, has experienced a period of impressive growth on the Norwegian market. In 2009, their turnover figure totalled over NOK 530 million, compared with NOK 215 million in 2005.
"Our investments in brand building and the introduction of modern logistics systems have played an important role in our growth," explains warehouse manager Morten Kleven at Bergans Fritid AS. He now has high expectations for the new warehouse system. "I am sure it will help us reduce our personnel costs and increase the efficiency of our distribution procedures."
"Last year, we chose the warehouse and logistics system, Effect Warehouse, from Consafe Logistics. To date, our working relationship with the system supplier has been excellent," confirms Mr. Kleven. He adds that pick errors have been reduced by around 70% thanks to the new system.
Bergans celebrated its centenary in 2009. From 1908 up to 1986, the company had its own rucksack manufacturing plant in Odalen valley in the region of Hedmark. At the start of the 1990s, Bergans decided to outsource production of sports clothing and rucksacks to China and Vietnam.
Leisure and sports clothing now account for the largest share of growth for Bergans. The Norwegian market stands for 90% of the company’s turnover. The remaining turnover is derived from the other Scandinavian countries and Germany. The entire process, from designing clothes to delivery of the finished garment to Bergans’ warehouse in Hokksund, takes several months. The designs for the autumn season 2010 were completed in November 2009. Orders are then made and production starts at the factories. "We receive the first products for the autumn season 2010 in June/July," explains Mr. Kleven.
Advanced IT systems
Using sophisticated IT systems, the company can provide their Norwegian and international customers with the best service possible. "Our turnover has now almost tripled on the Norwegian market since 2005. That is quite an achievement," confirms Mr. Kleven. "We are now also witnessing a significant increase in demand from Scandinavia and Europe. Our success is down to our talented designers who have extensive professional knowledge of the development of leisure and sports clothing for a demanding market. We have also invested considerable resources in marketing. Today, practically every person in Norway knows about the Bergans brand."
Expertise and user-friendliness
The initial discussions with Consafe Logistics and two other suppliers started in 2008. An internal requirement specification was prepared for a new warehouse system. "We started the actual process at the start of 2009, gathering in tenders. We chose Effect Warehouse from Consafe Logistics because of their expertise and the system’s user-friendliness," confirms Mr. Kleven. "With this system, we have full control of our warehouse. Our previous warehouse management systems have been pretty simple and this meant that we needed 10 full-time employees to pick goods from the warehouse."
Involvement and ownership
"If we are to achieve a successful system installation, the customer has to get involved and take ownership of the system," explains project manager, Jarle Hotvedt at Consafe Logistics. "Bergans has made an active contribution to the success of this project."
Smoother system for picking goods
"The WMS system was installed in September 2009 at our two warehouses in Hokksund. This system makes stock taking so much simpler and saves us a lot of time. In January this year, the system was also implemented in Germany. The investment in the warehouse management system has a payoff period of two years. As we have only had the system in operation for a short time, it is difficult to calculate the cost reductions achieved but we can confirm that picking goods is already much smoother," states Mr. Kleven at Bergans.
Instead of pick lists on loose sheets of paper, our warehouse operators now receive pick information either by a voice-based system or on their terminals. Once a sales or supplementary order has been approved by the order office, it is automatically sent from the ERP system to Effect Warehouse. "This is forwarded to a specific employee who accepts the job and completes it. We therefore have a full overview of how many orders are waiting and how many lines they make up," explains Mr. Kleven. "We now have superior control over our warehouse operations."
Reduced personnel costs
"What is the reduction in man-hours achieved with Effect Warehouse?"
"That’s not an easy figure to estimate but our goal is to reduce the use of overtime and limit the use of hired-in labour during seasonal peaks. We also aim to limit the need for new warehouse operators in the future," explains Mr. Kleven.
Bergans’ main administration building in Hokksund includes a warehouse covering more than 2,000 square metres. The main warehouse is right next door taking up an area of over 5,000 square metres. In total, Bergans has 11 full-time warehouse operators. In the autumn of 2008, Bergans expanded by opening a new office and warehouse in Hamburg, Germany.
From manual to electronic order processing
When asked about the potential consequences for Bergans if they had not installed a new warehouse system, Mr. Kleven replies: "The flow of information would continue to be manual. This would result in high costs and the need for more personnel to carry out the work. The transition from manual to electronic order processing has been an important investment for Bergans. The system is easy to use and requires very little training of its users." He goes on to explain that the warehouse operators can decide when to start the picking process. "Each employee is assigned an order from the administrator. The voice-based system instructs them to go to a specific location and to pick the correct product."
"Warehouse management is always characterised by seasonal highs and lows. In 2009, we processed 84,000 pick lists which make up over 500,000 pick lines. You need a good logistics system to handle that amount of work," confirms Mr. Kleven. "We have a target to increase our sales in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. We were about to pass a pain threshold with our old warehouse system which was part of the Norwegian developed ERP system, Multicase. We therefore chose Consafe Logistics, and have high expectations for the new system. In March/April, we expect to see the first results from Effect Warehouse and are already confident that it has been a good investment."
"We have maintained a close working relationship with Multicase throughout the installation process. They made an important contribution to the success of the system installation," confirms Mr. Hotvedt at Consafe Logistics.
Bergans has no plans to build their own warehouses in Scandinavia. "To date, we have been able to satisfy market demand for timely delivery from Hokksund. In Norway, we have an agreement with DB Schenker for all domestic transport. For transport to Scandinavia and Germany, we make use of DSV as our transport provider. They transport goods to Gönköping for forwarding to customers.
We have full integration with the transport company’s ITR system, allowing us to trace the products until delivery is made. Our customers receive a dispatch number and can log on to the transport company’s web site, search for the delivery and find its current status."
Om Consafe Logistics Group
Consafe Logistics är en av Europas ledande leverantörer av lösningar till kunder som ser logistik som en konkurrensfördel. Vi designar, utvecklar och implementerar lösningar inom Supply Chain för våra kunder. Vi utvecklar kontinuerligt vår produktportfölj av produkter och tjänster för att kunna bibehålla vår höga kvalitetsnivå och addera ytterligare kundvärde. Consafe Logistics erbjuder: systemlösningar inom supply chain, mobila IT-lösningar, konsulttjänster inom logistik och processförbättringar.
Consafe Logistics omsätter ca 600 M SEK och har ca 350 medarbetare. Vår verksamhet är fördelad i 3 affärsområden: Warehouse & Distribution, Mobile Solutions och Hardware Solutions. Vi hjälper kunder i fler än 30 länder över hela världen från våra kontor i Sverige, Norge, Danmark, Holland, Polen och Storbritannien. Consafe Logistics Group är ett företag i JCE Gruppen. För mer info se www.consafelogistics.com