In 1955, Norwegian civil engineer Johan Fredrik Knudtzen decided to launch his own electrical parts import and distribution business. To make space, he converted his boys’ former bedroom, measuring six square meters, into the first headquarters of Siv.Ing J.F. Knudtzen AS.
Today, Siv.Ing J.F. Knudtzen is a dynamic and still 100 percent family-owned business. It supplies engineering products, solutions and technical support to small, medium-sized and world-class customers, with modern offices, a showroom and 2,000 square meters of warehousing all under one roof just outside Oslo.
Complete supply chain package
It is also a highly sophisticated user of IBS Enterprise software, including EDI (Electronic Data and Interchange). IBS Enterprise handles all the key operations for a logistics-intensive wholesaler such as Siv.Ing J.F. Knudtzen: distribution, financials, inventory control, warehouse management, radio frequency, CDM (Corporate Data Maintenance) and Enterprise application integration.
“We have implemented the financial, warehouse and purchasing systems and demand forecasting software, and we will also start using the production module,” says Georg Tvete, the company’s director of logistics. “The modules are very well integrated. We have advanced EDI with suppliers. We send orders, get an acknowledgment back, can make changes, get confirmation, select the shipping mode and make a packing list, all handled by EDI. This is especially relevant with our main supplier, the German company Weidmüller, where the EDI rate is almost 100 percent.”
The distribution-based warehouse system tells staff where to store items. When they receive goods from suppliers, they just push the buttons and the system tells them the best place to put them.
“When we get sales orders, five percent are done by EDI from customers,” Tvete says. “We are working to increase that level. Just a year ago we had only one percent processed through EDI. The optimization of picking up the ordered items is done by RF terminals. We have defined routes in our system and the picker does not move too much. The system automatically optimizes picking routines within zones.”
A smooth routine
The order pick-up routes are issued in waves, starting with the most critical one early in the morning and followed by high-priority routes throughout the day. Each time a batch is chosen, a paternoster lift moves into the right position, based on information about the lines to be picked from stock. When the picking task is finished, the staff is told where to put the different orders. An express order has higher priority than a normal order and is placed closer to the packaging area. The next step is a new barcode shooting of the packed order. Then delivery paper and address notes are issued, and inventory and financial stock value are updated.
As for the demand planning process, logistics personnel meet with the sales manager every second week to go through statistics on volume in order to adjust intake.
Last year, the company reviewed competing systems but decided on an upgrade with IBS. “First of all it's easier to upgrade than to change,” Tvete points out. “And we didn't find a need to change, as we had the required functionality in the new IBS Enterprise release. We are logistics-intensive and we feel that IBS has the people to support us. Especially with IBS Enterprise it was taking a big step into integration and more sophisticated functionality.”
This year, as a part of the new integrated functionality, Siv.Ing J.F. Knudtzen is launching an online service to bring in new customers. It will also provide a new around-the-clock channel for existing clients to check for available parts and to process orders.´
“We are not looking backwards in the mirror, but forward,” Tvete says. “We have potential to grow with this system. If we do not continue to grow, it will not be the system that holds us back.”