A comprehensive solution for Global Freaks' e-commerce warehouse
Easy WMS from Mecalux has specific features to meet the needs of this e-commerce installation
Global Freaks is an e-commerce retailer specializing in collectible action figures. Headquartered in Igualada (Barcelona, Spain), the firm is undergoing a growth phase with promising prospects for future expansion. Accordingly, it has digitalized and modernized its warehouse in order to provide improved service. Mecalux has delivered with a comprehensive solution consisting of picking shelves and the Easy WMS warehouse management system (WMS), along with three supplementary modules. These add specific features to meet the needs of this e-commerce warehouse and include the recently launched Marketplaces & Ecommerce Platforms Integration package. Thanks to all these technologies and to the growth of the business itself, Global Freaks has tripled the number of orders it can dispatch on a daily basis, from 90 to 300 on peak days.
A wide selection of collectible figurines
Global Freaks started doing business in 2017, when it began marketing imported Dragon Ball figurines. Little by little, it grew, expanding its product catalog with the aim of offering an increasingly extensive and varied range of action figures.
Nowadays, more than an online shop for collectible action figures, Global Freaks has become a meeting point for fans of manga and anime (Japanese animation) series such as One Piece, Naruto, Doraemon, Sailor Moon and Dr. Slump. Expanding its number of SKUs has led to an increase in sales and, thus, order numbers. It was of vital importance, therefore, for the firm to improve its logistics systems. Global Freaks wanted to completely revamp its installation in Igualada (just 31 miles outside of Barcelona), equipping it with new technologies that would get more out of all the operations.
From its 21,500 ft2 warehouse, the company distributes its action figures to hundreds of customers worldwide (mostly in Spain). Currently, it manages 6,000 SKUs (a number which is growing with the launch of new action figures) that can be purchased on eBay, Amazon or directly through the firm’s own website (www.global-freaks.com) via the PrestaShop e-commerce platform.
Global Freaks Manager Daniel Vizcarra explains, “Previously, we handled all management manually, without any IT tools, and we knew the location of the figurines by heart. However, when the number of SKUs and orders began to grow, we found this working method to be lacking. We realized that we needed to computerize the installation. We wanted to map it out to represent its layout graphically and monitor the locations and SKUs easily and accurately.”
With this in mind, the company sought the support of Mecalux. Vizcarra says, “It was the only warehouse management system provider that allowed us to integrate with the marketplaces where we sell our products (eBay and Amazon), as well as with the PrestaShop platform to manage our website.”
E-commerce logistics solutions
After analyzing Global Freaks’ needs and operations, Mecalux recommended fitting out the warehouse with 13-foot-high picking shelves. According to Daniel Vizcarra, “We chose this solution because it seemed like the perfect combination between domestic shelves and industrial racks. This is because their height and depth make it possible to store all the action figures. The locations can also be adapted to the various sizes and particular characteristics of the products. Plus, the direct access makes it easier to handle the goods".
Nevertheless, to improve its supply chain, what the company really needed was a warehouse management system. Global Freaks installed Easy WMS, the WMS by Mecalux, because “it can provide complete product control and traceability, from the time the goods arrive at the installation to their dispatch. This was something we didn’t have before,” highlights Daniel Vizcarra.
Mecalux also implemented three modules that add to the features of Easy WMS, enabling this e-commerce business to dispatch all the figurines ordered by customers in the shortest amount of time and without making mistakes:
- Marketplaces & Ecommerce Platforms Integration. This recently launched module connects Easy WMS with the major marketplaces in which Global Freaks sells its action figures (eBay and Amazon) and with the PrestaShop e-commerce platform. The app makes it possible to sync warehouse stock across all platforms in real time and automate picking to ensure quick deliveries.
- WMS for e-commerce. This is tasked with reducing order preparation and dispatch times. To do so, it sorts the figurines in the warehouse in a logical, orderly way to facilitate the work of the pickers. It also organizes the preparation of orders based on whether they are single- or multi-unit.
- Multi Carrier Shipping Software. This app is designed to simplify and streamline the order packaging and labeling processes in line with the standards maintained by the transportation agencies with which Global Freaks works (mainly Correos Express for shipments in Spain and Portugal).
With all of these solutions, “we’ve gained in flexibility and can process three times as many orders as before. This summer, in spite of the difficulties brought on by the pandemic, we broke sales records. This tells us that, in the future, our number of daily orders will continue to increase. With Easy WMS from Mecalux, we’ll be able to prepare and dispatch them in the shortest time possible,” notes Daniel Vizcarra.
The figures speak for themselves: on exceptional days with a higher workload, such as Black Friday, the firm used to close a maximum of 90 orders. Presently, however, it ships up to 300 orders (even more, if necessary).
The firm also experienced a change in trend. Before, Mondays were the days with the largest volume of orders. Now, most orders arrive mid-week. Easy WMS is a system that governs the entire warehouse. As such, it is prepared to organize and optimize operations, easily adjusting to changes in demand.
Easy WMS has driven Global Freaks’ supply chain as follows:
Marketplaces & Ecommerce Platforms Integration: online shops linked to the warehouse
Users can buy Global Freaks’ action figures on Amazon, eBay or directly from global-freaks.com via PrestaShop. “To adapt our logistics operations to the current scenario, Marketplaces & Ecommerce Platforms Integration from Mecalux centralizes the three platforms in a single panel, providing us with detailed information on available stock and customer orders,” says Daniel Vizcarra.
Easy WMS communicates continuously with these three platforms (potentially more in the future) with two basic objectives:
- Coordination. The stock appearing on Amazon, eBay and Global Freaks’ website is automatically updated as customers place new orders.
- Communication. Amazon, eBay and the Global Freaks website can inform customers about their orders (dispatch status and scheduled delivery).
Easy WMS communicates directly with the three e-commerce platforms without the need for an ERP. “Our entire catalog is on the Global Freaks web page; from there, we share it with eBay and Amazon via Easy WMS,” indicates the Manager.
Moreover, Marketplaces & Ecommerce Platforms Integration helps to meet the specificities and requirements of Amazon, eBay and PrestaShop. For instance, in the case of Amazon, the order error rate must be below 1%, while delivery delays cannot exceed 4%.
Integration is key for Global Freaks’ logistics systems. Amazon, eBay and PrestaShop notify Easy WMS of the orders placed by customers, and, simultaneously, the WMS updates the inventory in real time. To do this, it relies on the physical units present in the warehouse, disregarding orders (both those already paid for and those paid in instalments). This inventory also includes pre-sale items (purchased between six months and two years prior to release).
When a customer orders an action figure, Easy WMS arranges for it to be prepared immediately in the warehouse and dispatched as quickly as possible. Simultaneously, Easy WMS notifies the corresponding marketplace that preparation of this order has begun so that it can, in turn, inform the customer.
The Marketplaces & Ecommerce Platforms Integration module connects the WMS to Amazon, eBay and PrestaShop. On the one hand, the inventory on these platforms is regularly updated with the stock available in the warehouse. On the other, Easy WMS knows which orders have been placed and arranges for them to be prepared immediately.
WMS for Ecommerce: preparation of online orders
Global Freaks’ Manager points out, “We’re an online shop, so we needed a WMS module for e-commerce to consolidate our sales and dispatches with the management of our warehouse.”
This module deals with the preparation of online orders by efficiently organizing the goods receipt area. This is where products arrive from the (primarily Asian) suppliers so that Global Freaks can then market them.
Following instructions from WMS for Ecommerce, operators remove the boxes from each pallet received and read their barcodes using radiofrequency terminals. The WMS then automatically tells the workers where to store the pallets.
Easy WMS assigns them a location based on various criteria, including SKU and demand level. Daniel Vizcarra stresses, “We use chaotic storage, that is, products are not always put in the same place.”
Despite the paradoxical name, the chaotic storage system follows a very strict order in that Easy WMS knows the exact location of each action figure in real time.
This strategy also prevents certain areas from becoming overloaded and takes advantage of free space more effectively. “When management was manual, we organized everything by series (for example, one aisle for Dragon Ball, another for One Piece, etc.). Now, Easy WMS decides on the location and, even though everything seems haphazard, it’s actually well-organized and better leveraged,” adds the Manager.
Once all the products have been identified and stored, order prep begins. According to Global Freaks’ Manager, “We tend to prepare the same number of single- and multi-unit orders, although during certain peak times, such as Christmas, we usually dispatch more single-unit parcels purchased through Amazon.”
To do this, operators move around the warehouse following instructions from Easy WMS. This system tells them which locations to go to, which item to pick and in what quantity. “Before, if the workers put the wrong product in an order, no one knew until it was delivered to the customer. Now, on the other hand, this doesn’t happen,” asserts Daniel Vizcarra.
Multi-unit orders are placed in putwalls, where the various SKUs that make up an order are brought together. Once this has been completed, the WMS tells the operator to remove all the items from that location and bring them to the packaging and dispatch area.
The putwall is also used as a temporary storage zone. Certain orders, whether single- or multi-unit, are placed there awaiting dispatch (these are most often orders paid for in instalments for which payment is outstanding).
Meanwhile, in terms of single-unit orders, once they have been removed from the shelves, they are brought to the packaging and dispatch area.
The WMS for Ecommerce module from Easy WMS is vital for our online sales business. This system controls the inventory and plans order prep based on available products and pending orders. As a result, we’re much faster, and we prepare more orders without errors.
Multi Carrier Shipping Software: dispatch organisation
Order dispatch is the last operation that takes place in the Global Freaks warehouse. As such, it must be optimally organized and planned. Before loading the orders onto the delivery truck, the operators package and label them and print the necessary documentation for the carrier.
Multi Carrier Shipping Software is a module specifically designed to manage all of these processes automatically. To start with, it sends precise instructions to operators on how to package the action figures (for example, it tells them whether to place them in one or more parcels).
The next step consists of labeling the orders, whereby Multi Carrier Shipping Software prints a label for each package. The software knows in advance which agency will distribute each package and, hence, generates a personalized label for each one. This label includes, among other parameters, the tracking number, which is especially useful so that customers can monitor their orders.
Global Freaks works with the express delivery firm Correos Express to dispatch orders to customers in Spain (excluding the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla) and Portugal. When orders need to be sent elsewhere, the company contracts the services of other carriers.
“With this module, all dispatches are computerized, and labels are generated automatically. This saves us a lot of work. Now, two operators do the same work that three used to do,” enthuses the Manager of Global Freaks. The WMS comes integrated with the major transportation agencies in each country, such as UPS, DHL, TNT and Correos Express in Spain.
The module automatically creates the documentation required by the carrier (the commercial invoice, the transportation insurance and information on where to deliver the orders, among other data). Then, the packages are arranged in the dispatch area so that the carrier merely has to pick them up and quickly load them onto the truck. The carrier, likewise, has all the information it needs, such as orders to pick up, number of parcels and destination.
Multi Carrier Shipping Software has enabled us to automate dispatches, eliminating possible mistakes stemming from manual management. This software is integrated with the transportation agencies we work with, which streamlines order handling and distribution.
Work and play
Global Freaks’ warehouse is a veritable paradise for lovers of films and cartoon series. Every day, the operators strive to dispatch as many orders as possible to satisfy customers who eagerly await the arrival of action figures of their favorite characters.
Hundreds of customers in Spain and around the world connect every day to Amazon, eBay or Global Freaks’ own website in search of the collectibles they wish to purchase. “Our present situation is very good. The pandemic and the lockdown have boosted e-commerce, and we’ve benefited from this expansion: both our turnover and number of orders have risen,” affirms Daniel Vizcarra.
Mecalux’s warehouse management system has helped to increase the productivity of this e-commerce retailer’s installation. With Easy WMS and the Marketplaces & Ecommerce Platforms Integration, WMS for Ecommerce and Multi Carrier Shipping Software modules, the company can monitor its 6,000 available SKUs and its orders in real time regardless of origin.
The warehouse is organized down to the last detail. Easy WMS orchestrates and optimizes all goods movements while eliminating any possibility of error.
No. of SKUs
No. of orders prepared/day
Max. no. of Black Friday orders
Easy WMS is the ideal warehouse management system for our e-commerce company. We’ve reduced errors and done away with stockouts. Moreover, we have total traceability, from the time the items arrive at the warehouse until they are dispatched, and we can handle more orders per day. I must say that this software is highly intuitive, and its implementation has been seamless — despite the added challenges presented by the pandemic — thanks to the commitment shown by Mecalux’s operational teams. We now have a modern installation and a sophisticated logistics system to cover our current and future needs.
Advantages for Global Freaks
- Digitalization and traceability: Global Freaks has gone from manual management of its goods and orders to completely digital management. This not only eliminates errors but also streamlines picking.
- Integration with marketplaces: Easy WMS connects automatically to the marketplaces where Global Freaks sells its products (eBay and Amazon) and with the PrestaShop e-commerce platform.
- Rise in orders: the WMS for Ecommerce and Multi Carrier Shipping Software modules have tripled the number of orders that can be prepared in the warehouse.
- Dispatch control: the goods packaging, labeling and dispatch processes are all in check with the aid of Multi Carrier Shipping Software. This app communicates with Correos Express, Global Freaks’ main carrier.