Bakery Broekmans

Bakkerij Broekmans improves delivery quality with Distrib XE Put to Light


Last spring, Bakery Broekmans in North Limburg successfully installed the Distrib XE Put to Light. Thanks to this digital distribution system based on LED displays, employees no longer need any paper to supply the sixteen stores with the correct products. Director/Owner Thijs Broekmans: “This system allows us to work faster, while also creating a calmer work environment. We also end up making fewer mistakes.”

In ten years, Bakery Broekmans has grown from five to sixteen stores. The family-owned company currently counts 160 employees, who ensure that the people in North Limburg have a supply of fresh bread, Limburger pies and other pastries on a daily basis. Every morning at around half-past-seven, the vehicles depart from the central bakery in Panningen to supply the stores and other customers on time.

Paper distribution process

The quick growth meant that the existing logistics process was no longer sufficient. “Until recently, we used paper to distribute products across the stores. Delivery notes or matrix sheets stipulating which stores should receive which quantities were printed from our software system. These tables contained twelve columns and dozens of rows, so it was easy to make a mistake. Correcting those errors sometimes meant that we had to make additional deliveries to stores. That costs money,” says Thijs Broekmans, Director/Owner of Bakery Broekmans.

Broekmans was able to manage the distribution process for quite some time, purely based on knowledge and experience. “If it were possible to continue working with the same people, we could perhaps have continued with the same method for longer. But our team includes more and more part-time employees who simply don’t have the experience and skills to distribute all the products quickly and efficiently. This inexperience also causes employees to make mistakes,” explains Broekmans

Distrib XE Put to Light

Broekmans has had his eye on alternative solutions for distributing bread and pastry products for a long time already. The penny dropped after a visit to a German colleague, who used the Pcdata distribution system. The Bakery Broekmans employees who tested the system, also responded enthusiastically. Broekmans also found other positive comments about Pcdata solutions from other sources, which spurred his decision. “We also considered other solutions, but the new generation LED displays from Pcdata are better for operational purposes. This solution is also more costs effective.”

The solution that Broekmans is referring to, is the Distrib Put to Light, the paperless distribution system from Pcdata. The Broekmans employees can see which products are ready for distribution on a centrally located terminal. When they click on a product, the LED displays in the distribution street indicate the quantities that every store must receive. The only thing that employees must then still do is to place the correct quantity on the ground location below the LED display. “The system is connected to our own software system, so that orders from shops automatically end up in Distrib,” says Broekmans.

Virtually no more errors

The installation of the Distrib XE-system went extremely fast. After Broekmans made the necessary preparations himself, Pcdata only needed a part of a day to get the system up and running at the start of 2017. “A Pcdata employee then joined us for another night, but everyone had mastered the system fairly quickly. We then took over the system ourselves and implemented it in phases. At first we used it for large loaves, because that product has the biggest impact on productivity. As soon as we had figured out the pitfalls, we gradually started distributing more and more products with the system.”

Low investment

Ruud Hendrix, Sales Director at Pcdata added; “Bakery Broekmans opted for the XE-version (= eXpress Edition) of Distrib, which is based on a standardised software suite that contains all the important features to optimise distribution in a bakery warehouse. It therefore includes distribution using multiple colours on our LED displays, as well as automatic distribution of shortages based on customer priorities or route departure times. By standardising these features and software configuration, we were able to implement this system in a very short period, which ultimately resulted in a reduction in project costs. We have extensive experience with the implementation of this system and it is great to see that a company such as Bakery Broekmans can experience the advantages of the application in such a short period of time.”
High reliability
It is almost impossible to make mistakes, Broekmans noted. “The display has multiple colours. Every product has its own colour, so employees no longer end up reading the incorrect quantity. And if, for example, large loaves are finished and the distribution employees must wait for a new batch, the system keeps track of where the distribution process was stopped. Employees therefore no longer have to take notes to remind themselves that store six still needs a further four loaves. We had to think a little more about the order in which we produce and distribute our products. The quantity of products that we can distribute at the same time is limited, after all.”


Calmer workplace, more speed

Great satisfaction prevails at Bakery Broekmans a few months after the system has been fully commissioned. The workplace is much calmer, employees also make fewer mistakes and work is getting done even faster. “In the old situation, it was sometimes more convenient to distribute the products with two employees: one for reading the quantities from the paper and other to place the correct quantity in the right location. Now, one person can easily do that on his or her own. That means that we can deploy the second person for other activities for more than half of the time. Because we work faster, we can also start distributing later. That means fewer night shifts.”

Broekmans has not yet calculated what the return of investment period is for Distrib Put to Light, but it is clear to him that the system is worth much more than what it cost. “I find that, as a company, we simply needed a proper system that would enable our employees to work better. That is now possible with this solution from Pcdata. Our people trust the system,” says Thijs Broekmans, who looks back with satisfaction on the collaboration with Pcdata. “I feel good about it. Pcdata actually is much too professional for our small company. The after-sales support is also excellent.”