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Progress means change: STIHL takes the e-commerce path


True to the motto: »Fast, efficient and reliable.« STIHL has established itself on the market as a leading manufacturer of motor-driven equipment for forestry, gardening, landscaping and the construction industry. For more than 90 years, STIHL has been offering its customers the highest degree of reliability, quality and service.

In order to ensure the company's long-term sustainability, STIHL decided early on to modernize and expand its warehouse logistics – first in Germany and then in France – and has been a long-standing customer of S&P Computersysteme GmbH ever since.

After the successful completion of the modernisation of the logistics centre of the STIHL distribution centre in Dieburg in 2011, the STIHL Group decided to implement the warehouse management system SuPCIS-L8 from S&P at the warehouse locations in France, in order to cope with and manage the continuously increasing turnover and volume growth in the best possible way. STIHL has extensive storage spaces at its French locations around Paris for its wide range of products – from chainsaws and hedge trimmers to accessories for forestry and landscape conservation and spare parts. The warehouse management system helps to increase efficiency through optimized logistical processes in Germany and France.

The project partners have focused on uniform processes in the warehouse strategies across all countries. Thus, processes and strategies that are used with the WMS SuPCIS-L8 in Germany can also be found in the two existing warehouse locations in France. The conversion to multi-order picking with mobile terminals ensures route-optimized and paperless picking in the STIHL warehouse. Mobile consolidation, packaging and loading processes were introduced and optimized regarding small and large order processing. Automatic tote warehouses are used in both countries. However, some differences can still be identified: while in Germany, for example, pick-by-light order picking is used, in France a shipping sorter sorts the packages according to shipping routes. At the same time, the multi-stage replenishment processes ensure stock availability at STIHL. A high-availability architecture also ensures that logistics operations cannot be impaired by damage to the server systems. In addition, the use of mobile printers makes it possible to label the goods and fill the packages ready for dispatch with shipping labels during order picking, thus reducing both the time invested at the packing station and the required packaging material. The result: modern warehousing with minimized travel times and maximum efficiency.

Steady growth means breaking new ground

The classic distribution channel of STIHL has previously been exclusively the specialist shops. Anyone who wanted a chainsaw had to visit a specialist dealer. However, for some years now there have also been cooperations with specialised DIY stores that are allowed to sell STIHL products – but this requires a separate STIHL area with competent and well-trained employees. In the middle of the age of digitalization, however, the trend among consumers is increasingly moving towards e-commerce. In order to meet these growing market requirements in the future, STIHL has taken a groundbreaking step in choosing online distribution as a further channel. S&P supported STIHL with new processes and optimizations in the warehouse management system especially for intralogistics in direct sales (B2C).

In addition to the introduction of new carriers and a route calculation to determine carriers, the cockpits integrated in the system were adapted to the new requirements. Furthermore, new configuration parameters depending on the distribution channel and the carriers used are available, and the consolidation process was changed. Adjustments to packing and loading processes should also be highlighted, which complete the necessary measures in SuPCIS-L8 and, overall, form an essential foundation for STIHL's online channel. In Germany, STIHL went live with the new system in March 2020. The French online shop was launched only a short time later, in November 2020, much earlier than planned. Whether tools, chainsaws or hedge trimmers – STIHL customers in Germany and France can now order online quickly and easily.

»The flexibility and customizability of SuPCIS-L8 convinces us again and again. We are always happy to place our trust in our long-standing and reliable partner S&P. With the competence and know-how of S&P at our side we look to the future with confidence.«, says Michael Kausch (Head of Sales Logistics at STIHL) and Jérôme Forstendicher (Head of Logistics at STIHL).

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