Implementing automation for a direct-selling company

Blog Post
In this interview with Magdalena Najmanowicz, Head of Onboarding & Projects at Radial, we delve into the successful implementation of the KNAPP automated solution. Radial, a leading provider of logistics services, has partnered with doTERRA, a fast-growing direct-selling company, to optimize their fulfillment processes. Join us as we explore the key insights and achievements of this transformative project.

Magdalena Najmanowicz, Head of Onboarding & Projects, talks about the implementation of KNAPP automated solution in one of Radial’s warehouses. The project, implemented for doTERRA, a fast-growing direct selling company, successfully optimised the order fulfilment process for this customer.

Reasons for automation

Magdalena, you were the project manager leading the implementation of KNAPP automation in Radial’s warehouse in Poland. What was the primary reason for implementing this automated solution?

We implemented the solution for our client doTERRA, a fast-growing cosmetics company operating within a direct-selling business model. We provide them with a comprehensive range of logistics services, covering everything from receiving goods, warehousing, picking and packing to value-added services (VAS) and transportation. Together with doTERRA, we shared the belief that automating the order fulfilment process would bring about the most significant improvements in efficiency and take our collaboration to the next level.

You have coordinated the project from the very beginning. What was it like?

It has been a fantastic journey. Launching a completely new solution, which included automation, expanding the warehouse, and implementing the latest WMS version, was a complex project. We designed and implemented a solution fully aligned with the requirements of our customer’s needs arising from operating in the direct-selling business. After a year of successful operation, I am proud to affirm that the system’s performance has consistently met our expectations.

Customer visit and presentation of the automated solution. Magdalena Najmanowicz (Radial), Mark Wilkinson (doTERRA), Tomasz Okowiak (Radial).

Efficiencies, components and technologies

What efficiencies were gained through automation in the warehouse operations?

Implementing the automated solution has enabled us to optimize warehouse space utilization compared to manual processes and has significantly improved the sorting of shipping parcels. We strongly focused on the pick-and-pack area to increase daily volumes and continue to ensure the quality of service.

Could you describe what the material flow for doTERRA looks like?

The material flow in our solution for doTERRA is focused on the automated part. To facilitate smooth operations, we installed flow racks near the A-FRAME to efficiently feed the tube channels and prevent replenishment delays. Additionally, the PTL solution is strategically located near our storage area to minimize time loss due to distance. The conveyors play a crucial role, connecting all our logistics areas from picking to packing, and finally to a parcel sorter at the last stage.

Which components and technologies of the solution do you consider the most important, impressive, or advantageous?

In my opinion, the most impressive are the A-FRAME and the tote stacker/de-stacker, which, in addition to other solutions, saved a lot of storage space. The Autopicker system revolutionized our process flow, making picking easier and significantly increasing efficiency while reducing the need for FTEs. However, the most important ones were the auto labellers installed as part of our sorting solution, which were also fully supplied by KNAPP. They optimized packing processes, enhancing overall efficiency.

What measures have been implemented to ensure smooth and trouble-free operation?

Training our team directly by the KNAPP team assigned to this project was a key factor. We provided training for automation technicians, technical service, and warehouse staff to ensure their comfort with the solution upon implementation. Our goal was to minimize any issues arising from daily use. KNAPP carefully planned the training, resulting in our employees’ smooth daily operation of the systems.

A-FRAME system by KNAPP

Effective software

How does the software support the daily challenges of fulfillment services?

We use KNAPP software, supplemented by the KiSoft CMMS module, to manage the machines effectively. This comprehensive package enables us to handle correct and rejected orders for troubleshooting purposes. Additionally, the KiSoft CMMS module plays a crucial role in managing our parts inventory, including maintaining control over quantities, prices, and consumption. Furthermore, it assists us in planning and registering technical inspections and repairs for individual modules of the entire system.

What positive developments can you see in doTERRA’s business area as a result of using the right software?

Employing suitable software is vital for facilitating smooth daily operations, particularly in scenarios requiring ongoing process supervision. KiSoft has notably enhanced our PTL solution, providing invaluable support to our operations team, especially for products that are incompatible with the A-FRAME.

Packing area

Successful collaboration

How would you describe the communication between you and the KNAPP team?

KNAPP has been an excellent partner throughout our project, providing dedicated resources and clear communication during the commercial stage and onboarding. Their team understood our needs, and together, we crafted a detailed project plan with milestones for a successful launch. We reached an agreement on an availability test for system handover. We have maintained regular contact with the KNAPP customer service team, who have supported our team, responded to queries, and resolved issues quickly. KNAPP’s commitment to delivering solutions has made them a valuable partner for our company.

What benefits did the implementation of this project bring to Radial?

This project highlighted our capabilities and demonstrated Radial Poland’s proficiency in meeting and exceeding customer expectations, including customers operating in the direct-selling business. Additionally, it underscores our readiness to adapt to changes that foster growth for both our customers and ourselves. This experience has strengthened our commitment to excellence and our ability to tackle even the most challenging projects with readiness and determination.

Key numbers of the automation

  • 6,5k sqm – capacity of the automated solution
  • 4k to 14k – number of order deliveries/day depending on peak moment
  • 5k to 8k – items/hour
  • 30 – shipping destinations
  • 1 M to 3 M – number of doTERRA items in the warehouse depending on peak moments
  • 60 to 100 – workers FTEs on 2 shifts

Magdalena Najmanowicz, Head of Onboarding & Projects

Magdalena is an efficient project manager skilled in logistics planning, risk management, and execution. With a background in logistics since 2008, specializing in e-commerce and healthcare, transitioning from account manager to project manager roles. Joined Radial in 2021 to facilitate seamless client implementations, concentrating on operations, automation, WMS, and transportation. Currently overseeing Radial Europe’s Project Managers team since 2023.