Storage solutions for training future professionals
Easy WMs is an intuitive software program that is extremely useful for training apprentices
The Startévo training centre has opened a 1,300 m2 facility in the town of Leulinghem, France, to enable its apprentices to hone their skills: from taking inventory to performing storage and order prep tasks. Mecalux has equipped it with diverse storage systems (pallet, drive-in and live pallet racking as well as racks with the semi-automated Pallet Shuttle system and picking locations), in addition to the Easy WMS warehouse management system. This program is so intuitive and practical that it has become an enormously useful resource for training the apprentices.
Preparation for the future
Startévo (startevo.fr) is a training centre created by the Saint-Omer Chamber of Commerce in northern France. In its 35-plus years of operation, it has become a key stakeholder in education, training professionals in the subjects demanded by companies in the region.
Every year, around 2,500 people attend its courses related to administration, sales, logistics and occupational risk prevention, among others. Startévo also cooperates with over 500 companies to facilitate the access of recent graduates to the labour market.
In 2019, Startévo opened a new training centre in the city of Leulinghem. In this building, apprentices can acquire skills by working in a real facility. Ludovic Legrand, Head of Training, asserts, “We’re convinced that the best results don’t come from traditional vocational training, that is, with students in a classroom taking notes in a notebook. Our apprentices spend more time in the training centre than in class, so they learn how to deal with real situations that they’ll come across in their working days ahead.”
The facility covers a total surface area of 3,000 m2 and is divided into three areas:
- Classrooms. Eight rooms have been set up, with eight interactive screens on which theoretical classes are given.
- Plant. Here, different types of industrial jobs are taught, mainly how to handle a bridge crane capable of moving 5-tonne-loads.
- Warehouse. This is equipped with several Mecalux storage solutions as well as the Easy WMS warehouse management system. “Although the idea of a storage system is very simple on paper, and you can consult instructional videos on how to store goods on the racks, there’s no comparison with seeing the actual operation in a logistics centre. Therefore, with our facility, the apprentices can understand exactly what the world of logistics is all about and what their jobs will really be like,” explains Ludovic Legrand.
The training centre is surrounded by a large tract of land (12,000 m2) where, additionally, drivers of public works machinery are trained.
The student trainees — junior employees and future professionals in the logistics sector — develop their skills working in the Startévo warehouse. “Their day-to-day activities are very similar to those of a real warehouse: they work two different shifts, from 6.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. or from 1.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m., and when they arrive, they have to change in the changing rooms and put on personal protective equipment,” adds Legrand.
Startévo contacted Mecalux to outfit the facility with storage solutions used by the vast majority of businesses in the area. “This was very important for us because, if a company comes to Startévo looking to hire professionals for its warehouse, it knows that our apprentices are fully capable, being that they’ve learnt to work with the same storage systems it uses in its own facilities,” indicates Ludovic Legrand.
The facility is equipped with several storage solutions: pallet racks, live racking, drive-in racks, and racks with the Pallet Shuttle system and locations for picking. Likewise, Mecalux has implemented its Easy WMS warehouse management system with 15 licenses and radiofrequency scanners.
With these storage systems and the WMS, the student trainees carry out the usual operations performed in a facility, including goods receipt, picking, storage, and dispatch. “At the same time, they also learn fundamental concepts such as ergonomics and safety,” notes Ludovic Legrand.
As part of their daily tasks, Startévo’s apprentices use order pickers and radiofrequency scanners to store goods and prepare orders. They then go through much more specialised training. Thus, for example, the future forklift operators move along closed circuits with their machines, inserting and removing pallets from their locations. For their part, the future logistics managers inspect the condition of the racks and verify their due compliance with all safety requirements.
"In the facility, we manage goods that have been donated by businesses in the region. For example, a company devoted to wine bottling has provided us with pallets containing empty bottles, and a paper company gave us reels,” says Startévo’s Head of Training.
This is the storage system most frequently used in the majority of warehouses, since it provides direct access to the products. This offers great agility when managing the goods.
With this compact system, operators use forklifts to enter the lanes with the goods raised above the level on which they will be deposited.
Live pallet racks
These ensure optimal product turnover by applying the FIFO (first in, first out) method. Pallets are inserted into the loading aisle, slide by gravity to the other end and are ready for extraction.
Semi-automated Pallet Shuttle
This optimises storage capacity and minimises manoeuvring times because operators do not enter the aisles to handle goods; instead, it is the shuttle that carries out the movements autonomously.
Today, numerous companies employ warehouse management systems (WMSs) to monitor everything that takes place in their logistics facilities. “We explain to our apprentices that companies not only need to have storage systems that adapt to their operations but also manage their inventory optimally. We tell them that a WMS leads to the professionalisation of logistics. Hence, it’s essential that they know and master this software,” emphasises Ludovic Legrand.
For that reason, Startévo installed the Easy WMS warehouse management system from Mecalux in its facility. “It’s a fundamental tool for all our courses. To achieve the professional qualification, the trainees must demonstrate that they’re able to operate warehouse management software,” affirms Ludovic Legrand.
The training centre has decided to implement Easy WMS because this software from Mecalux is commonly found in both manual and automated warehouses, with a wide array of operations (from connecting the facility with production to preparing orders for bricks-and-mortar shops or online customers). Easy WMS is also highly intuitive, which is why Startévo opted for this WMS: it facilitates the training of future operators in the logistics sector.
Easy WMS organises everything that occurs in Startévo’s training facility. With the help of radiofrequency scanners, the apprentices consult Easy WMS to find out what tasks they have to carry out. First, they check the items received and see which location Easy WMS has assigned them based on their characteristics, size and turnover. Next, the WMS sends them precise instructions on what to do at every turn: which aisle to go to and where to find the products.
On the other hand, Easy WMS also orchestrates one of the most complex operations for any warehouse: order preparation. This WMS shows the trainees which location to go to and how many products to retrieve. On top of that, it designs routes through the facility ensuring that the operators travel the shortest distance possible. These instructions make the apprentices quicker and minimise the risk of them making mistakes.
“Easy WMS helps us share extremely valuable knowledge with our student trainees: the future logistics managers learn how to interpret warehouse statistics and how to check productivity,”, states Ludovic Legrand.
As it’s such a flexible, adaptable and scalable software program, many companies turn to Easy WMS from Mecalux. This WMS boasts various modules that add new features for effectively managing all areas of any facility, no matter how complex.
Cutting-edge logistics training
Startévo has a modern, advanced training centre where it imparts practical, useful and in-depth knowledge to all its apprentices who wish to specialise in the logistics sector.
“We’ve successfully trained over 2,500 people with Mecalux’s racks and its Easy WMS warehouse management system. We’re so pleased with the results that we’re planning on opening a second training centre in 2023. We’ll definitely seek the help of Mecalux again, as we’re very happy with this partnership,”, enthuses Ludovic Legrand.
We’re really proud of our facility with Mecalux racking because our trainees are truly impressed by it. With these storage systems, we can train them properly, teaching them how to perform the most common warehouse operations. Plus, Easy WMS is remarkably user-friendly and works really well.
Advantages for Startévo
- Intuitive software: Easy WMS is an exceptionally user-friendly system that sends precise instructions to warehouse operators on how to fulfil each task and where to put each product.
- Real facility: Mecalux has outfitted Startévo’s training warehouse with the most common storage solutions on the market. This way, the apprentices are well prepared to work with these racks when they enter the workforce.