Founded in 2009, BJS Distribution Storage & Couriers Limited is a family run, two-man home delivery and assembly service. The company warehouses and delivers large, heavy goods – including furniture and electricals – across the UK, for brands such as The Cotswold Company, Made.com and Wayfair. The business has grown from strength to strength and set itself apart from competitors early on, by being one of the first in the region to introduce next day and choice of delivery day services for customers, in line with demand.
This ability to respond and react to customer needs, coupled with high levels of customer service has seen the company increase its fleet of vans from 10 to 115 in just five years, and it now operates over 100 routes – rising to 140 at peak times – across the UK. To keep up with demand and to accommodate the holding and delivery of stock, warehouse space has also grown exponentially in just a few years to six warehouses.
But as well as the physical delivery of goods, the team at BJS Distribution Storage & Couriers Limited realised the importance of technology to help it continue to grow and provide a slick service and smooth operation.
As the business started to grow rapidly, it became clear that the manual, paper-based process which it relied on to manage the flow of stock in and out its two warehouses just wouldn’t cut it. When goods arrived at the facility, they were ticked off the lorry on a paper manifest. If not seen, a call was made to the originating company to notify them that they hadn’t arrived. The goods were then ticked into the warehouse, so the company had a log of what was in the facility.
To help speed up this process of recording goods as they come in and go out, BJS Distribution Storage & Couriers Limited took the decision to use barcode scanners and mobile applications to manage the movement. To accommodate the upgrade, five wireless access points were installed across the two warehouses.
However, after a year of use, it became evident that the infrastructure wasn’t suitable for the needs of a growing business. Investment in Chromecast devices to help the process of scanning trucks and reconciling deliveries pushed the access points to their limit. The devices didn’t work properly and impacted the WiFi network by adding a security vulnerability, which needed addressing so as not to put the network and company data at risk.
The use of multiple connected devices – simultaneously – put a strain on the WiFi network and the incumbent solution did not give the bandwidth required to manage peaks and troughs of activity. Upgrading the existing access points to cope with increased demand and security needs would be costly and not sustainable to support current and future business growth.
Solutions and benefits
To help it take the right approach, BJS Distribution Storage & Couriers Limited turned to its IT support provider Vibrant Networks, which recommended that cloud-managed access points from Zyxel could be the answer to increasing the quality, performance, security and coverage of WiFi, whilst controlling costs.
Zyxel Nebula NAP203 access points have given the company a powerful solution to allow it to future-proof its network, at a reasonable price point. The product was easy and quick to set-up, and zero-touch deployment meant that each access point auto-configured itself after installation and automatically joined the network. Comprehensive security features also deliver enterprise-class protection without the associated price tag.
To help cope with the rigours of a harsh and vast warehouse environment, the dual-optimised antenna provides optimal, long range performance. Special hard-wearing casing also physically protects the access points from getting dirty and suffering from the effects of being in a dusty warehouse.
The ability to centrally control the access points via the Nebula cloud-based system has meant that the team now have real-time visibility of each access point, making any issues easy to resolve so processed in the warehouse are not impacted.
Now when stock arrives at the warehouse it is scanned off the lorry to say it has arrived, scanned to say where it’s going and then scanned onto the appropriate lorry. Office staff know exactly what goods have and haven’t been received, where they are within the warehouse and if anything is moved within the facility.
Before being automated, this process used to take between four and five hours and office staff were having to manually check that everything had arrived and was in the right location or on its way to the right destination. The use of handheld devices has reduced this down to a few hours – by allowing the reconciliation process to happen almost instantly. With the support of a reliable network infrastructure, any issues can be resolved quickly, and stock can be delivered and accounted for in a timelier way – leading to improved customer service and loyalty.
The roll-out started with five access points across two warehouses in 2017, and quickly increased to 10 units across four warehouses. Roll-out to the other two facilities is in the pipeline and BJS Distribution Storage & Couriers Limited hopes to have 30 access points in total to help it continue to meet customer demand for a fast, efficient service.
Gurpreet Singh, ICT services manager, BJS Distribution Storage & Couriers Limited, had the following to say :
“Since the initial installation, we haven’t looked back. The solution is extremely versatile and easy to use. Being centrally controlled, we can see exactly which access points are down or need a boost, meaning we can resolve the problem quickly before it impacts productivity. We are looking forward to growing our business with the support of Zyxel.”