Five years ago a new consultancy launched with the aim of challenging the misconception that the warehouse is the ugly duckling of a business. MHD sits down with the team at Fuzzy LogX to find out why finding the best solution for their clients is their badge of honour.
Established in 2015, Fuzzy LogX is led by Owner and Principal Consultant Bas Schilders. With a history working for some of the largest automation vendors in the world, including Swisslog and Schaefer, Bas realised he was limiting the outcome for his customers by only being able to offer solutions from one vendor.
This limitation was the driving force behind starting a new independent consultancy, Fuzzy LogX. “We want to raise the bar in this area and for every customer we work with we want to improve their warehousing capabilities,” Bas says.
After two years, Jeff Triantafilo joined the team as Systems Consultant and is now formally a part owner of the business. Jeff is passionate about automation and logistics. “For me, what we do is a unique brand of warehouse engineering and I would love this to become an engineering discipline in the future. I want to see people come out of university and know that this is a really innovative industry to work in with great opportunity,” he says.
At its core, the team at Fuzzy LogX wants to drive a better outcome for its customers through sharing its experience and expertise. “We’re not here to sell hours, but to transfer as much knowledge as we can to our customers,” Bas says.
While some consultants are reluctant to share information unless it’s through a billable hour, Bas says Fuzzy LogX is bringing a fresh approach to the warehousing and logistics consultancy.
“The strength of what we do is in the relationships we build with our clients. We are working hard to bring a greater sense of transparency and ethical business practice to this industry through ensuring that we are driven by achieving better outcomes, not just billable hours,” he says.
The importance of independence
With so many large-scale automation projects currently taking place in Australia, there is a rise in the number of vendors and solutions in this space. This can lead to confusion for many businesses looking to benefit from automation.
“Every single solution is different, and every vendor has its own agenda. We are in the privileged position of complete independence. We can look at all of the vendors, and all of the solutions, and help design a concept that works best for the client,” Bas says.
The Fuzzy LogX team is in the unique position whereby they have worked for and with all of the large vendors, so they have an intimate knowledge of the systems on offer.
“We are not tied to any vendor or property company so we can guarantee that whatever solution we put forward is in our client’s best interests,” Jeff says.
With relationships and connections across the entire automation spectrum with both large and small vendors, Fuzzy LogX prides itself on its knowledge of the latest automated technology and innovation in best-practise warehouse operations.
“We bring clarity to our clients projects because we offer a realistic view of what is achievable from different solutions,” Jeff says.
According to Jeff, it’s about nit picking a solution and ensuring that there is no wool being pulled over customer’s eyes. A sentiment that is echoed by Bas. “One of the things we’ve found in the last five years is that there is a lot of white elephants in this space. Often automation is installed, but it doesn’t deliver the benefits that were promised,” he says.
A huge part of Fuzzy LogX role in these projects is to ensure that the benefits and throughput gains being quoted by the vendors are realistic so that the business case is accurate.
“I’m looking through vendor documents right now with a client who is spending more than $100 million on automation and it is my job to ensure that it stands up. Vendors always want to give you the big dream numbers, but this is an investment that is made maybe once every 10 to 15 years so it needs to be accurate and realistic,” Jeff says.
Becoming part of the team
From the get-go, Fuzzy LogX considers itself part of its customers team. “From the moment I enter the building I am part of the team and I am dedicated to the business,” Jeff says.
This is also evident in the feedback the consultancy gets from its customers. “Our customers tell us that they love that we get to know the business and become an extension of who they are, but for us it’s the only way we can truly learn and understand what they do,” Bas says.
In any project, the Fuzzy LogX team ensures that they spend time on the ground talking to everyone involved. “I learnt from my father that you always talk to the forklift driver and all the workers on the ground. They are the ones doing the work and they can give you the best insights,” Jeff says.
According to Jeff, if you are not listening you are losing the opportunity to learn. “I may be an expert in warehousing, but they are by far the experts in their operation,” he says.
This relationship also empowers the customer to be able to get the most out of their investment by transferring knowledge.
“At some point we leave, and we aren’t the ones who will be running the warehouse. So, we transfer our knowledge onto them as much as we can so that there is a much higher chance of success for our customer,” Bas says.
From warehouse to distribution centre
One outcome of COVID-19 is that the role of the warehouse has been elevated across businesses throughout the world, something that Jeff is very pleased to see happen.
“COVID has made the warehouse the most important asset of a business. The whole organisation is making a promise that the warehouse fulfils, that’s why it’s called fulfilment,” Jeff says.
Ultimately a business is concerned with meeting its goals and about delivering a good customer experience, and the warehouse is at the core of this.
Jeff sees this as a real opportunity for the warehouse and says he is thrilled part of the transformation of warehouses throughout Australia from dark, dingy and static sheds to world-class distribution centres of the future that are aligned with the overall business goals of the organisation.
While some of Fuzzy LogX implementation projects include multi-million-dollar automation investments, they also work with smaller organisations in search of the same outcomes.
“We will help anyone who has a challenge that they need to solve. We work with large-scale and small-scale automation, but a large part of our business involves working with world-class manual operations,” Bas concludes.