We use the insight gained through the monitoring and analysis of our logistics operations to devise initiatives aimed at achieving three core goals: increasing sales, reducing costs and minimising the adverse environmental impact of our operations.
Environmentally efficient logistics operations
At Rawlplug, we believe that improving our operational efficiency goes hand in hand with reducing our impact on the natural environment. We strive to advance the electronic circulation of documents, so that we can improve and streamline the processes undertaken for the benefit of the organization and the environment.
- E-invoice – this was introduced into the settlement process with our main suppliers of transport services and enabled us to reduce the circulation of traditionally printed invoices by 35% in 2015
- Process optimization - implementation of a system solution involving data consolidation reduced the number of prints made by over 20% in 2015.During the same period of time, electronic workflow and archiving our domestic supply of documents reduced consumption of newsprint by one third.
IT solutions for improved logistics operations
Rawlplug has developed a proprietary IT solution for the management of its supply chain. Rather than handle each component of the supply chain in isolation, our IT solution seeks to integrate each stage as part of one bigger picture. It includes the following features:
- Visibility on how warehouse operations interact with customer service, logistics and end-customer activities
- Real-time communication and live updates on the status of orders
- Ability to better manage loads
- Constant availability of the information required for successful order realisation.
- Generation of and access to historical data that can be analysed to measure and further improve the efficiency of our operations
- Enhanced coordination of activities at each stage of the supply chain
- Ability to optimally manage resources and time by coordinating delivery and loading times more effectively. This reduces time waiting at loading and delivery points and helps to minimise the emissions caused by vehicles stopping and starting frequently as they move through queues
- Improved utilisation of storage space thanks to more efficient movement of goods and better visibility into activities.
The whole process is underpinned by electronic data interchange (EDI). This means fewer processes that are dependent on people and paper, which in turn reduces the potential for human error, document loss or rogue manipulation or distribution of information. The result is greater accuracy, improved productivity, enhanced transparency and reduced environmental impact.
Voice Picking System
In implementing our sustainability strategy in the supply chain, the central warehouse in Wroclaw introduced an innovative tool at the end of 2014 – the Voice Picking System. This solution is designed to help warehouse workers in the process of picking orders. Thanks to its implementation we raised the team’s level of comfort at work, while also affecting the quality of service and the execution time of orders placed by our customers. Completion efficiency was increased by 5% in the first year of using the system.
Key advantages of using the Voice Picking System:
- More accurate order fulfilment
- Improved ergonomics and productivity
- Increased safety
- Faster training of new employees
- Reduction of paper documentation
What is voice picking?
The system facilitates the collection of ordered goods and navigation around the warehouse using voice data exchanges between a WMS (Warehouse Management System) and the operator. This is achieved through the use of speech synthesizers and voice recognition technology.
Optimised transport activities
Transport operations account for a significant proportion of our supply chain’s environmental impact. At Rawlplug, we work hard to improve the efficiency of these operations. We do this by optimising processes at our distribution centres, analysing and optimising the routes taken by vehicles used, reducing the number of vehicles on the road and shortening the distances they travel.
We have worked in close collaboration with our logistics partners to improve operational efficiency at our central distribution centre. One example of this has been through the optimisation of routes taken by delivery vehicles as part of the process of loading cargo for distribution. We have found that, by enabling vehicles to bypass our load-consolidation terminal, we are able to reduce time and effort spent on cargo handling and make better use of distribution vehicles. What’s more, we have been able to reduce the per-load use of internal transport vehicles such as motorised pallet lifts and forklift trucks, the number of people involved in the preparation of each load, and dependence on time-consuming equipment such as loading ramps. All of this has also enabled us to save space in our warehouses and those of our logistics partners. As a result of this change in 2015 we reduced the amount of cargo handling by 8%.
Improved planning and loading techniques
We constantly evaluate the efficiency of our loading techniques to optimise each and every vehicle load. We use a mix of loading equipment, such as pallets, half pallets and also consolidated loads to maximise the efficiency of each load and reduce the average distance travelled by each pallet or package from the production hall to the end customer.
Since 2009, we have been constantly expanding the range of activities which allow us to grow in a sustainable way. One result of this is a much greater use of renewable raw materials. Products which we implement set standards for the effective use of available resources. We try to maintain a balance between economic, environmental and social spheres of action. Reducing the amount of types and sizes of packaging products has helped to reduce the consumption of non-renewable materials, which directly leads to a reduction in the amount of waste generated by consumers. The smaller packaging sizes also result in the optimization of transport units which translates into a decrease in the number of outgoing vehicles.
Find out more about the eco credentials of Rawlplug packaging.
Rawlplug as an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)
In December 2010, Rawlplug was granted the status of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). This status, granted in accordance with EU guidelines, officially recognises Rawlplug’s status as a reliable, financially solvent enterprise. The status is granted based on a stringent examination of our credentials in the areas of “customs compliance, appropriate record-keeping, financial solvency and, where relevant, appropriate security and safety standards”. From a logistics-specific perspective, the status demonstrates that we are a responsible and trustworthy producer of goods, and that we have appropriate measures in place for the safe and secure storage and transportation of our goods.
Status as an AEO entitles Rawlplug to privileges enabling our goods and deliveries to be processed more quickly by customs agents. This allows us to plan our logistics operations more effectively and in a way that is efficient both in terms of resources and the environment. Perhaps most importantly, though, we can deliver our goods to customers quickly and professionally, which in turn helps us to further strengthen our status as a reliable and trustworthy business partner.
In 2015, we again received permission to issue certificates of origin of goods through a simplified system, which entitles customers to take advantage of preferential tariff rates. The system optimizes the process of confirming documents without the need to always be present at the Customs Office. This meant we could reduce by half the number of monthly visits to the Customs Office. In addition, the existing paper records were replaced by an IT solution which enables the electronic exchange of data with the customs’ Huzar IT system. Thanks to this we reduced the consumption of paper devoted to printing these records by 50%.