Petzl Improves Warehouse Efficiency

Improvements and a new WMS streamline operations at distributor of climbing, mountaineering and safety equipment

Improvements and a new WMS streamline operations at distributor of climbing, mountaineering and safety equipment

Fort Wayne, IN — October 29, 2003 — Cornerstone Solutions, a provider of supply chain services and information security products and services, has completed an operational warehouse improvement and reorganization project at Petzl America, a leading distributor of climbing, mountaineering and safety equipment. The project included a warehouse management system (WMS) implementation, followed by several operational improvements and the development of a new pick module.

Petzl America, a French-owned company, distributes product mainly through retailers, including REI and LL Bean. Their products are used for recreational as well as industrial and rescue applications.

Petzl America said it had been operating a manual, paper environment in its North Georgia warehouse and wanted to improve inventory accuracy and better manage its retail customers' compliance requirements. This goal led to a cross-country move from Georgia to Utah, followed by the WMS implementation with Cornerstone Solutions at Petzl America's new 25,600-square-foot warehouse facility.

In addition to implementing the WMS software, Cornerstone Solutions developed modifications to meet Petzl America's business needs. The most significant, according to the provider, was an import/export modification that allows Petzl America to draw back import duty from the government. Since its products are imported from France, Petzl America must show the full life cycle of the product from receiving to shipping in order to receive duty refunds. Cornerstone Solutions set up the system so that the import entry number, lot number and receipt for each product are all integrated.

After the initial implementation, Cornerstone Solutions said it helped Petzl America analyze its current warehouse operations and develop and execute several operational changes that resulted in a complete reorganization of Petzl America's warehouse environment. This included redesigning both the physical flow and layout of the warehouse.

Cornerstone Solutions also developed a new pick module for Petzl America in order to improve their putaway and picking processes. Petzl America's products are now put away and stored in a mezzanine area, and the picking process is managed via a conveyor system.

In addition, Petzl America and Cornerstone Solutions designed stations throughout the warehouse for value-added processing such as product ticketing and pack-by-store consolidation. Petzl America also made operational changes to increase throughput, and the distributor is now able to ship orders out the same day they are received.

Finally, Cornerstone Solutions set up rules in the system to handle specific vendor compliance requirements such as custom packing list and labeling requirements. Petzl America now provides product ticketing, direct- to-store shipping, packaging by store and special labeling as a default standard of business.

"We went from a completely paper environment to a completely automated WMS, which involved warehouse configurations, physical warehouse set-up, securing and configuring RF equipment, developing a new 'brand' of user, and much more," said Peggy Powell, director of Logistics, Petzl America. "If the Cornerstone team had not been logistics savvy, in addition to software savvy, our portion of the implementation combined with the pressures of moving an entire company within a couple of months would have been unbearable."

Powell said Petzl America has seen many benefits since its warehouse reorganization, especially in the areas of labor efficiency, customer service, inventory accuracy and efficiency. "The system is incredible, it's very powerful," she said. "The DC has been able to increase throughput with fewer people, which means that other employees can focus on meeting the ever-changing demands of our customers. We now consistently meet our customers' specific requirements without impacting our throughput."