RAW supports e-commerce automation at pet wholesaler Flamingo Pet Products

RAW supports e-commerce automation at pet wholesaler Flamingo Pet Products

Processing online orders efficiently is a key factor in a world where e-commerce has assumed such a prominent position. Pet wholesaler Flamingo Pet Products was therefore looking to boost efficiency in its warehouse by simplifying and automating its order picking process. Our experts set out to accomplish this and fully integrate this process into their ERP system, RAW. 

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Flamingo, friend of all pets 

Since its establishment in 1972, Flamingo Pet Products has evolved into a leading SME in the pet sector. The Flamingo team, consisting of more than 165 employees, ensures that pets throughout Europe can enjoy their approximately 8,500 Flamingo products. The company values the quality and functionality of its products immensely. All of their products come with clear, consumer-oriented information in 8 languages. In addition to making its own products, Flamingo distributes products from several other brands. All orders are shipped from their warehouse in Geel. 

Looking for greater efficiency 

Flamingo handles the entire fulfillment chain for one of its customers. They receive the orders, organize the logistics and storage, and deliver via parcel services directly to the consumer. Until the end of 2019 this was done order by order, resulting in fairly low efficiency. Chris Moons, ERP Manager at Flamingo Pet Products, explains the challenge: "Before, our customer sent an Excel file with all the orders that we, in turn, had to prepare for shipment. To do this properly, actions had to be carried out in both our own system and that of the customer. This sometimes led to mistakes and a lot of lost time. In order to improve our service to our own customer and the end customers, we called on Inetum-Realdolmen. We were very eager to simplify, automate and fully integrate the logistics process into RAW, Inetum-Realdolmen's integrated information system that we have been using for years. This system seamlessly combines ERP and WMS with extensive functions for financial management, business intelligence, e-commerce, document management and CRM." 

Custom approach for small orders 

There were already plenty of optimized processes in place within Flamingo Pet Products for large orders and retail orders, but they were not adequate for small consumer orders. About half of these orders have only one item of a particular product. The other half has more items of the same product or different products. To cater to these customers, a custom solution was devised that is a structural part of the RAW package. Incoming orders are now first divided into picking pools. During order picking, the goods are temporarily separated from the orders. This means that if there are 10 orders that each requires one item of a particular product, the picker can pick these 10 items at the same time. The system then automatically allocates the products to the right orders. 

"The experts at Inetum-Realdolmen started by making an analysis to determine what exactly needed to be changed in our order picking process and the underlying systems to increase efficiency. Then we started working on development and implementation. First of all, a link was created between our customer's website for entering the consumer orders into RAW. This means that we can now follow up and handle everything from one system. Secondly, we now work with picking pools, which means that we consolidate small orders into one large picking order for the warehouse," says Chris Moons. "Everything is done by scanning now. In the case of an order with only one item, the item is scanned and the shipping note and shipping label are printed right away. Orders with several items are put together systematically. When the warehouse worker scans an item that is part of a particular order, the system automatically indicates this and references the place where the other items are ready and waiting. For each order, stock is now also reserved automatically so that the stock is always correct and replenished on time." 

Ordered today, delivered tomorrow 

"Orders that reach us before 1 p.m. are prepared and shipped the same day. This is also made possible by the now operational automation process and the efficient operation of our logistics system. This minimizes errors, and we can ensure properly executed and speedy deliveries. This is crucial in meeting the high consumer standards that prevail in e-commerce today," says Chris Moons. "The optimized process proved its worth during the lockdown and the subsequent surge in online orders. At that time, we also set up multiple sorting lanes in the warehouse so that several people could prepare orders simultaneously. By the way, our smart order picking process is also ready for other customers. They can basically get started quickly, so that their orders can also be dispatched even more efficiently," adds Chris Moons. 

A partnership extending over more than 20 years 

The RAW application has been running at Flamingo Pet Products for many years. In a world where change is a constant, the stability of a partnership is a good indicator. "This sort of long-term cooperation requires an open dialogue between both parties. We understand each other well, and the experts from Inetum-Realdolmen can really think proactively, always based on our needs," Chris Moons points out. "RAW has also evolved over the years. New functionalities are added on a regular basis. New releases sometimes take some getting used to, but in the end the new version is always a step forward." 

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