Balsharaf Group: Cutting-edge EWM solution shifts gear for Balsharaf

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mbarking on its latest wave of digital transformation, Middle East based distribution giant, Balsharaf Group, implement new extended warehouse management (EWM) solution to aid efficiency and growth for their logistics business.

Streamlining the workforce.

Companies now face ever-growing challenges of keeping track of inventory and making warehouse operations more accurate and cost effective. Balsharaf were also looking to get a step aheadby cutting down on losses due to product expiries and ensuring efficient delivery rates.
Technological innovation is at the heart of the Saudi-based firm and the company believed they had found the answer to their business challenges with SAP’s EWM platform.

Chief Information Officer (CIO) Sajid Riaz also explained how, as the cost of workers has risen in the area, the company needed to zero in on new technologies to fully understand and measure employee productivity.
“As they (employees) become more expensive to hire, there is a growing need to reduce costs and become more optimized, but how do you do it? It is not an easy task to become more efficient and productive. You need a technical solution to help you optimize and automate so that you can cut down on manual work,” he said.

Entering the next level of digitalization.

Back in 2012, Balsharaf Group implemented SAP’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool in order to automate a number of the core business functions within the group. However, the business was determined to ‘take the companies logistics operations to the next level’ with a state-of-the-art EWM solution.

One of the key outcomes for the company was to be able to prepare for incoming and outgoing shipments more effectively. With EWM, the company was excited to design and understand their warehouse with a lot more accuracy.

With EWM you can note exactly how many cartons a forklift operator transports in a period of time

Sajid Riaz, CIO Balsharaf Group

With this information, Balsharaf could calculate the cost of storage, as well as the manpower required to transport a shipment, giving them a much more scientific approach to warehouse management rather than replying on a ‘gut feeling’.

The EWM system effectively gives you an overview of the capacity you will have in the future and the work force you will need on a certain date to complete the volume of work. This is possible because the system operates on accurate delivery dates for inbound and outbound transactions for present and future tasks.

Tackling wider issues.

As well as helping to plan shipments and therefore workforce capacity, the solution is also helping the company tackle the issue of food waste in the region. In Saudi Arabia alone, the economic impact of food waste is estimated to be around $13.3bn per year.
With EWM, the movement of products is based on a First Expiry First Out (FEFO) process, where products which expire sooner are shipped out first, therefore going some way to reducing the food waste crisis.

One of the biggest issues (the consumer goods business) faces is the need to constantly move items based on what’s expiring first.

Sajid Riaz, CIO Balsharaf Group

Although this may seem obvious or simple, it can be extremely complicated in a huge warehouse and EWM has enabled the company to detect where a particular batch is located and inform users about how to arrange the warehouse for storing items based on product expiry and where to pick the products based on FEFO, cutting down on lost products due to expiration. “EWM can drastically cut these losses, which gives us a competitive advantage as a 3PL service provider,” Riaz concludes.

Why Westernacher?

Balsharaf was determined to find the right implementation partner for such a big project and, although there are many key players in the region for SAP ERP solutions, Westernacher had the key skills in EWM implementations that swung it for the company. After numerous in-depth meetings and discussions, Balsharaf chose to work with Westernacher because of their years of experience in implementing complex warehouse management solutions, as well as their end-to-end, holistic approach.
An additional selling point was the offer of a free Warehouse Health Check. Westernacher spent 3-4 days with the organization before any paperwork for the implementation was signed to really gain an in-depth understanding of how the warehouse operated at the time and get a measure of what is needed to ensure a more efficient operation.

This is a very smart move on their part because it allows you to assess their expertise and professionalism before the start of the project. It helps you to develop trust with your future implementation partner.

Sajid Riaz, CIO Balsharaf Group

Although the system was not rolled out immediately, Westernacher was careful to make sure that once the system went live it was working seamlessly and at the same time ensuring that they did not lose any service disruption to the day-to-day business during the implementation.
By meticulously checking every item for an expiry date, labelling it, putting it in a particular location and recording it, as soon as the system was live it would deliver the results immediately as promised. This meant that Balsharaf could continue to foster the trust and support of their long-standing customers.

Westernacher has been very patient with us. They understand what we are trying to achieve as a business and in each and every step they have gone the extra mile to support us.

Sajid Riaz, CIO Balsharaf Group

To ensure an even more accurate and successful roll-out, Westernacher was keen to advise a period of extended training and testing, with Riaz explaining that this ‘culture change’ was key to the success of the implementation.
After the triumph of the EWM implementation in Saudi Arabia, Balsharaf now plans to roll out EWM across more of its warehouses and we look forward to working with the company in the years to come.

About Balsharaf Group

Balsharaf has been established for over 50 years. Beginning as a small grocery store in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, in 1955, Balsharaf now has a chain of food stores in the Riyadh area, distributing to over 16,000 retail outlets across the Kingdom. Balsharaf manufactures in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and India and has a significant market share in several international, own brands and private labels.

17

branches

150

merchandisers

77

supervisors

14

regional managers

2

account managers

The company’s distribution in Saudi Arabia is managed as several category-specific divisions. These include, six regional offices, 17 branches, a sales team of 150 merchandisers, 500 sales people, 77 supervisors, 14 regional managers and two account managers. Balsharaf is one of the top five suppliers to a number of major retail chains in the Kingdom.

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