The Challenge:Seasonality is just one of the factors that Candym Accent has to take into account when distributing specialty items sourced overseas into Canadian markets. A major supplier of housewares and decorative items, Candym scours the world for the best items, buying in large quantities for distribution to major Canadian retail chains. The right goods must be available in the right quantities for the appropriate retailer and retail season - a daunting challenge considering the vast quantities of goods that flow through Candym's operations.
The company's previous distribution application was inadequate for the company's massive overstock warehouse - so the company literally had to use paper to keep track of SKUs and locations for thousands of products. Employees kept inventory information on printed spreadsheets; at the end of each day, a staff member would update the sheet with new quantities and locations of products received that day or moved from one location to another.
Not surprisingly, this system was unworkable: hand tracking was inaccurate and time-consuming, a source of continual frustration for both staff and management. Inventory information was never available in real time - in fact, by the time lists were finally updated, they were already inaccurate. Reliable reports were non-existent, so management never knew precisely where they stood despite long hours counting, tracking and calculating.
The Solution:To manage the complexity of Candym's huge overstock facility, Beckard Associates introduced the warehouse management functions of the MasterWorks suite, complemented by a wireless network.
- Handheld devices - supplied by Beckard partner Symbol - provide real time access to SKUs, bin locations, and quantity information
- When new shipments arrive, employees can quickly locate free bin locations using the scanner gun. They can then drive palettes directly into storage until stock is needed in the active pick area
- The system allows for cycle counts, so when warehouse traffic is slow, staff can run cycle inventory counts from various bin ranges within the warehouse
- The company can operate a smaller active pick area, able to draw from the main warehouse for easy replenishment of active SKUs
The Results:The MasterWorks warehouse management solution has revolutionized Candym's operations:
- Rapid Inventory Replenishment. No need to search throughout the warehouse for the right items - exact locations of items can be quickly and easily identified using the handheld device. Staff can now reserve the active pick area for immediate inventory rather than cluttering it with items they are afraid will be impossible to locate when needed
- Efficient Inventory Rotation. At the end of each sales period, Candym can move inventory out of the active pick area and back into storage. This allows management to make much more efficient use of warehouse space and manage costs
- Accuracy. Both managers and warehouse staff have accurate details on product quantity and bin locations in the warehouse, as well as the age of inventory items
- Control. Not only can staff easily locate goods for replenishment but they can also easily identify outdated or excess items. They can discover in minutes which items should be marked for immediate sale, rather than continuing to store goods with limited value
- Peace of mind. Both managers and staff trust the information that they receive from MasterWorks. No more manual counting, double checking, or worrying
Peggy Hawksworth, IT,