Beefing up DC Efficiencies with New WMS at Kunzler

Meat producer improves lot tracking, reduces outside storage costs at distribution centers after deploying warehouse management system from Catalyst

Meat producer improves lot tracking, reduces outside storage costs at distribution centers after deploying warehouse management system from Catalyst

Milwaukee, WI — October 18, 2004 — Meat producer Kunzler & Company has deployed a warehouse management system (WMS) from supply chain execution (SCE) specialist Catalyst International as part of an initiative to improve efficiencies at two distribution centers.

Founded in 1901, Kunzler offers more than 500 different meat products. The company, based in Lancaster, Pa., has deployed CatalystCommand WMS 9.0 at its two DCs in Lancaster and Tyrone, Pa.

Catalyst said its solution includes a warehouse design, logistics and reconfiguration strategy that enabled Kunzler to increase storage capacity at its Lancaster facility by 35 percent. With the enhanced visibility provided by the Catalyst WMS, Kunzler also has improved lot tracking, labor efficiency, space utilization and inventory rotation for its date-sensitive products, according to the solution provider.

"Before CatalystCommand, we had significant labor inefficiencies while trying to 'make space' once we hit 85 percent space utilization," said Ron Fink, the operations manager for Kunzler. "In addition, we were not effectively rotating stock because we could not find the correct dates, or the product was inaccessible."

Fink said that three months after going live with Catalyst the company was working at 95 percent space utilization without any space-related rotation problems. "We not only gained approximately 500 pallets of added capacity with our warehouse reconfiguration, but, with our WMS, we don't have to use outside storage facilities prematurely," Fink said. "These efficiencies have saved us significant dollars in outside storage costs."

As part of its solution, Catalyst designed a new facility layout, developed detailed standard operating procedures and recommended and supervised construction of a new racking system. Catalyst consultants also trained employees in new best practice-based warehouse procedures, as well as in how to use the new software.

The CatalystCommand WMS interfaces with Kunzler's enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to give company executives a real-time view of inventory, capacity and key operational performance metrics.

According to Catalyst, in just a few months, Kunzler has been able to achieve "traceability" of all product lots, a critical capability in the meat industry, helping to protect Kunzler and its customers in the event of a recall. In addition, the new system has eliminated the need for weekly physical inventories that was necessary in the past due to the lack of lot separation.

Elsewhere, Kunzler's quality department has gained greater control over the "hold system" to facilitate its micro-testing of all products prior to shipment, and the company has improved first-in, first-out (FIFO) product rotation, especially important given the relatively brief shelf-life of some meat products.

The Catalyst system also has enabled Kunzler to be more proactive in its project and logistics planning. The WMS' wave planning function, for example, has resulted in higher fill rates on customer shipments, which in turn has resulted in better customer service. Kunzler also can more accurately track shipments between its warehouses in Lancaster and Tyrone, Pa., since it now prints advanced shipping notices (ASNs) for internal orders.

"We selected Catalyst after a lengthy due diligence process because its standard WMS already had much of the functionality we needed, including the ability to handle lots in 'catch weights' and to manage our 'holds' process," said Fink. "The Catalyst WMS has been all that we hoped for, and we've only just begun to leverage the full potential of its many reporting functions as well as other capabilities."