Wright reports that the visibility gained using the proVision WMS ‘dashboard’ has helped the company to become proactive in terms of order management and workflow changes. “It’s the first screen we see in the morning, and provides a snapshot view of pre-selected information and activities in the warehouse so we can make better decisions without affecting order throughput.”
“The Demand Analysis report is also a great tool to plan for the next day’s activity,” Cawthra adds. With this feature, Christmas Tradition can determine the night before whether they have enough inventory in their pick face locations for the next day’s orders; and proactively move appropriate quantities from bulk (overstock) down to the pick face for those items determined to lack sufficient inventory. That eliminates the need for pickers to stop mid-order to wait for additional inventory to be moved from overstock. According to Cawthra, “The only orders released are those that we know are ready for picking. We can also look in the system to get an update on the status of an order and see at what stage it’s at and when it will be ready for packing and invoicing.”
Another great feature of the system is that it helps track performance. Cawthra highlights, “We can tell who did the picking, the total dollar value per picker, the number of items, where the items came from, and how long it took to pick the order. That’s a big plus when customers are making inquiries. All that information gives you a nice workflow and you don’t have to go through reams of reports to check for discrepancies.”
The proVision system can also prevent warehouse staff from ‘cherry picking’ the orders they want. She adds. “That’s important when you use a lot of temp workers like we do. We can identify those workers that might need retraining so they’re back up-to-speed quickly.” This improved workflow and performance tracking proved especially critical during the peak Christmas inventory delivery times since shipping windows are extremely tight.
Wright anticipates that the proVision WMS solution will also prove beneficial when annual inventory tracking begins in April. He emphasizes that “Usually two stockers would have to count up to 500 products a day. By the time our next annual inventory comes up this time, we won’t even have to count. With cycle counting, we know everything we have and where it is. I’m looking forward to getting that on a regular routine. In fact with the proVision solution, we can reduce the number of stockers throughout the year by 50%, and improve picking efficiency by 30% or better.”
He also reports that receiving time has already been cut in half. “With multiple containers arriving from Asia each week, we had space restrictions in the receiving area, so product used to be put away before its location was noted, causing all kinds of issues later. Now we can scan the barcodes on the products as they come in and then scan the barcode on the location when we put away the new inventory. In that way, the system knows where that inventory is when we need it later, saving us all kinds of searching and manual data entry. And when we move inventory, we simply scan the barcode on the ‘from’ location and then the barcode on the ‘to’ location and the system keeps track of it. That provides us with all kinds of efficiency gains without the need for manual paperwork,” elaborates Wright.