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.