IMI Supply Chain Solutions

UpTick-Tokmanni

Tokmanni is Finland’s leading variety discount retailer, with almost 200 stores throughout the country served by over 4000 employees. It has built a strong reputation for providing value-for-money to its loyal customers allied to a firm commitment to sustainability and best employee practice.

Tokmanni

National Retailer Achieves 20% E-Commerce Efficiency Uptick with IMI WMS

Working closely on the right automation package with a trusted software partner can bring fast and substantial benefits to warehouses seeking to make their processes more efficient. Some businesses are nervous about the word ‘automation’. They imagine hundreds of robots, not a person in sight and some scary upfront costs.

The good news is that warehouse automation is about a lot more than robots. Selected carefully for your precise business needs, automated systems spearheaded by state-of-the-art Warehouse Management Software (WMS) will future-proof your business as well as enhance your productivity. Add the speed and reliability essentials required by fast-growing ecommerce businesses and the value of such WMS applications grows still further.

A good example is Finnish retail giant Tokmanni: when its warehouse switched to the newest version of IMI WMS provided by Swedish logistics specialist IMI Supply Chain Solutions, it saw picking efficiency numbers soar by 30% and overall ecommerce efficiency by 20%.

Growth Background

The logistics operation is largely carried out from a single warehouse and distribution centre (DC) at Mäntsälä, about 50km north of Helsinki. Featuring a range of 32,000 SKUs, it is set up to receive, store and dispatch accurately and efficiently to 200 stores stretching as far north as the Arctic Circle. Throw into the mix the speed and accuracy required by fast-growing numbers of ecommerce customers and the role of state-of-the-art warehouse software packages become essential, especially with 50,000 SKUs now forecast in the warehouse by 2025.

Ecommerce is a key driver of Tokmanni’s growth. By 2019, agile response to changing customer needs led Tokmanni to enjoy startling successes in the channel, with an uptick of 43.5% in that year. In 2020, the figures soared again by 124% (the pandemic was an obvious contributing factor), with a further 58.7% in 2021.

Antti Tikkakoski
No other company could match what IMI was able to do for us. We are seeing a 30% improvement in ecommerce picking efficiency with the utilization of IMI’s Pack Station WMS module. That translates to about 20% overall improvement in e-commerce."
Antti Tikkakoski
IT Product Owner, Logistic at Tokmanni

The Challenges

Growth on this scale usually highlights necessary process tweaks and opportunities for future-proofing in any business. Tokmanni managers identified a clear need to iron out some issues in their picking and packing operations.

Antti Tikkakoski, IT Product Owner, Logistics at Tokmanni, takes up the story. “We were limited to a maximum of 24 orders per pick batch regardless of the number of rows, so on orders with only one order line, we were often driving around with almost empty roll cages.

There was another challenge to address, caused by dealing with separate legacy systems. “We were also looking for consistency, and wanted to eliminate the effects of errors in integrations between systems. Such errors sometimes prevented us from packing any new orders and the situation would escalate quickly; it would cause us to limit or stop picking since we had limited space for orders waiting to be packed. That would also affect our delivery times.”

Tokmanni managers have long enjoyed a reliable partnership with WMS innovator IMI – the Swedish innovator provided its WMS package to the Finnish retailer as long ago as 2009, a great tribute to the forward-thinking prowess of both companies in the earlier age of ERP. However, having decided to explore new WMS systems, Tokmanni managers quite rightly sought bids from several companies, including IMI.

Tokmanni’s logistics and IT teams took time to explore several options, including replacing IMI’s legacy system altogether. Having assessed business cases from several providers, they realised they already had the best solution for Tokmanni, selecting a full upgrade of IMI’s WMS ahead of all other bids.

The Challenges

  • Fast ecommerce growth
  • Separate picking and packing processes on legacy systems
  • Speed, efficiency and accuracy all essential to meet fast-changing customer needs

Unmatchable Solution

Having reviewed the features we needed, IMI’s latest version had more available options than anything else, added to the fact that installing and implementing an entirely new system would have been far more expensive and time-consuming. It was an easy decision in the end.

The Tokmanni team is particularly pleased with the slickness of operations in the packing area since the new system was implemented.

The packing station had a major impact on our e-commerce picking,” confirms Antti. “With IMI’s Pack station we don’t have to worry about the actual customer order while picking, in contrast to the previous system. Now we can pick full roll cages of online customer orders and scan the product barcode in the pack station to confirm the correct customer order.”

The improved efficiency can be clearly measured. “We are seeing 30% improvement on ecommerce picking efficiency with the utilization of IMI’s Pack Station WMS module,” he says. “That translates to about 20% overall improvement in ecommerce efficiency.”

The unity of a single-source system has been another plus. “We were looking for fault tolerance by bringing the entire ecommerce website process to one system. That way, customizations to any part of the process can be carried out on a single system with a trusted partner.”

The Solution

  • Modular, configurable automation system
  • Integrates automated picking and packing in single-source system
  • IMI WMS for Enterprise

Trusted Partnership

IMI’s commitment to long-term partnerships with its clients played a major role. Antti says that the decision was helped by the trust he and his colleagues had for IMI and its representatives, including local consultant Heikki Blåfield. “Heikki had always been on hand immediately to deal with any product issues or customizations, so we knew that IMI would continue to deal with us in a very personal and professional way.” Such a close relationship is vital when the suite of products available is so varied, offering flexible options to suit precise business needs.

Flexibility – the ability to select from a range of modules in the IMI WMS suite, discarding those that were not appropriate for the business – was a key driver for Tokmanni. For instance, as a warehouse, Mäntsälä did not need IMI’s Material Handling Integration, which supports partial and fully automated facilities. The Dock Manager is also not at this moment in use but may become an attractive part of future solutions for Tokmanni, a point which helpfully highlights the modularity and configuration versatility presented by the IMI package.

The software is not confined to one physical site. Some smaller, ‘satellite’ warehouses are now being used flexibly to tie in with the main Mäntsälä facility, especially at peak times. These have now been configured with their own IDs in the IMI WMS, enabling unbroken communication and visibility between the locations. Antti Tikkakoski comments on the ease of use for IMI warehouse personnel provided by the intuitive operator interface.

Both parties look forward to an even longer, fruitful relationship as Tokmanni’s full logistics processes evolve. Antti Tikkakoski and his team are confident that, whatever the question, IMI will have the answers for them.

The Benefits

  • + 30% picking efficiency
  • + 20% ecommerce efficiency
  • Integrated picking and packing - smoother, faster, more accurate
  • Single source system - unmatched fault tolerance
  • Long-term relationship - partners grow and trust together

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