"Command Center" and Control
But the best part of the system is the "Command Center" functionality. Before, if a customer wanted to make a change to an order that was already printed, the warehouse supervisor would have to find every picker to see who had that customer's order. "It was a nightmare with order changes," said James Walsh, the new Command Center specialist. "Now Gary, our supervisor, simply comes to me and I can tell him who is picking the order, which line of the order they are on, and we can even delete items off of the order without the picker ever knowing the deleted item was there. It is much more efficient." The Command Center also has the ability to monitor orders, review the receiving process and keep track of the daily workload to change resources, depending on the time of day and the amount of transactions to be processed.
The overall goal was to be more efficient, reduce the branch's operating costs and provide an unmatched level of service to Bardon's customers. With the implementation of the system and warehouse layout changes instituted by Total Logistics Solutions, the Barrie branch has achieved the following:
- Fewer than two errors per 450 orders shipped.
- Inventory accuracy, which is normally in the mid-80s percentage-wise with most distributors, is now in the high 90s with Bardon Supplies and still improving.
- Receiving errors have dropped by 80 percent and continue to fall as the receivers become more comfortable with the system.
- The same amount of work is being processed with two fewer people. These staff were not laid off but were transitioned into other areas of the business.
- Returns due to shipment errors have decreased by over 90 percent — a major improvement, considering most distributors have between 3 to 8 percent of their outbound orders returned.
"Most distribution organizations have forgotten how vital their warehouse operation is to their overall success or failure in good and bad times," said Rene' Jones, founder of Total Logistics Solutions and the senior project manager on the Bardon implementation. "Less than 30 percent of warehouses are efficient, 65 percent of the cost associated with distribution is directly related to labor, and inventory values range between 6 to 20 percent of the organization's annual revenue," Jones noted.
He went on to say, "Many distributors find themselves in a crunch, not because of the economy, but because they often fall short of their customers' expectations and are not able to deliver (1) what the customer wants, (2) when they want it and (3) at a competitive price."