Case Study – D’Ieteren
D’IETEREN RELIES ON DALOSY FOR INNOVATION IN AUTO-ID.
Thanks to D’Ieteren, the dealers of the Volkswagen group can count on a fast delivery of parts. In order to maintain the excellent service level, a new back-end system was required. This switch required modern scanning equipment that seamlessly connects to the new software. “Dalosy expertly helped us to replace and expand the hardware with the right scanners and printers. This has enabled us to significantly increase operational efficiency”, explains Filip De Wit, Logistics IT support manager.
D’Ieteren is the exclusive distributor of all Volkswagen brands in Belgium. Besides Volkswagen, the company imports and distributes Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Porsche. While the administrative centre is located in the heart of Brussels, the logistics activities take place in Kortenberg. This site not only stocks new cars, but also imports and distributes all parts for the dealers.
THE LOGISTICS BEHIND THE COMPONENTS
From its 44,000 square metre parts warehouse, D’Ieteren supplies some 300 Belgian dealers. The warehouse holds about 100,000 SKUs (stock keeping units), so customers never have to wait long for the necessary parts.
Parts ordered before five o’clock in the afternoon are received by the dealer before seven o’clock in the morning. Large and strategically located dealers also receive their orders placed before 10 a.m. in the early afternoon. Smaller dealers who have placed urgent orders before that time can pick them up there. For frequently used spare parts – such as oil filters and certain bulbs – D’Ieteren manages the restocking itself.
D’Ieteren gathers all the larger pieces that leave on the same lorry together in one round. To reduce walking distances, smaller pieces are picked on the basis of zone picking. D’Ieteren collects these orders in batches in orderpacks on a pick cart. These are then transported by conveyor belt to six sorting islands. There, an operator takes the pieces, scans them and places them via a put-to-light system in a rack with 72 order bins, where each bin represents a dealer.
NEW SOFTWARE REQUIRES NEW SCANNERS
Because the underlying back-end system was very outdated, D’Ieteren decided to implement Microsoft Dynamics. However, the old scanners were not compatible with that system. “To be able to work with Microsoft, for example, we needed an app that runs on Android. Moreover, we wanted to do much more scanning. The old scanners were not equipped for that,” says Filip De Wit. “Building in more scanning moments in combination with high-performance scanners had to support the process even better.”
D’Ieteren had already purchased scanners and printers from Zebra Technologies via Dalosy. “Since we had positive experiences with the reseller, it was logical that we also asked them to make a proposal,” says Filip De Wit. “First, we conducted a thorough analysis to determine exactly what hardware was needed. On the basis of this, a ‘request for proposal’ (RFP) was sent out to ten suppliers. Six of them were allowed to come and explain their vision. We gave them all a fair chance, but in the end we felt most comfortable with Dalosy. The fact that we had already worked together was, of course, a bonus.
“Thanks to Dalosy, we now have much more control over what happens in our warehouse.”
Filip De Wit, Logistics IT support manager, bij D’Ieteren
INGENIOUS COMBINATION OF TECHNOLOGIES
Dalosy presented D’Ieteren with various scanners, depending on the application. Most of them are robust TC8000 terminals from Zebra. In addition, D’Ieteren uses Coppernic’s C-One with RFID reader to read the tags of order picking containers. Furthermore, the company has some ‘dumb’ scanners that convert barcodes into text. For the sorting islands, table scanners were developed that can read the QR codes that are now used there.
In order to guarantee the continuity of the scanning process, the number of WiFi stations in the warehouse was increased from twenty to more than eighty. Today, they provide optimal WiFi coverage. The new way of working also required many more (mobile) printers. These are portable and make it possible to print labels immediately at the right place in the process. D’Ieteren also entrusted Dalosy with the delivery, configuration and subsequent management of the new WiFi network and the supply of the best ‘on spot printers’ for the inbound and outbound process.
BETTER CONTROL OVER ACTIVITIES
When the software project was delayed, D’Ieteren and Dalosy decided to get started with the new hardware. “Our old scanners were in urgent need of replacement. So we asked Dalosy to first pair the new hardware with the old software. An extra challenge was that the new WiFi network was not yet in place. The whole transition phase was quite tough, but thanks to Dalosy’s expertise we managed to get through it”, Filip De Wit recalls.
In the meantime, the new software is live and the new way of working is starting to bear fruit. D’Ieteren now has much more control over what happens in the warehouse. All actions are immediately scanned and saved. The error rate has also been significantly reduced. Thanks to the new system, it is now also possible to cross-dock smoothly, which benefits the delivery speed.
“Throughout the entire project, we were able to count on Dalosy’s expertise to eliminate the obstacles in the area of hardware. Together with our partner, we are still fine-tuning things here and there”, Filip De Wit adds. “It is nice to know that Dalosy always helps us look for the best solution. For example, when we were looking for management software to manage scanners and printers separately, Dalosy suggested a SOTI solution. That turned out to be a very good choice. Thanks to this software, we can now easily carry out updates and checks remotely.”
In addition, D’Ieteren and Dalosy have come up with a solution to limit damage to scanners. “In the past, scanners were handled very carelessly. This resulted in high repair costs. With the new hardware, we wanted to do things differently. That is why we have now given everyone their own scanner and a key. They can fasten their scanner to the rack with a strap. Now our scanners are hardly damaged any more,” he says.
D’Ieteren Automotive is the exclusive distributor of the Volkswagen brands in Belgium. It distributes Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Škoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Porsche, as well as parts and accessories. There are around 1.2 million vehicles of the VW brands in circulation, representing a market share of more than 23%. D’Ieteren Automotive manages a strong network of independent dealers throughout the country and owns concessions along the Brussels-Mechelen-Antwerp axis. To complete its offer, the company sells used vehicles (My Way and Audi Approved+) and provides maintenance, financing and leasing services through VDFin, a joint venture with Volkswagen Financial Services. The company’s aim: “to build a smooth and sustainable mobility for all”.