Customer Website:

Key Benefits

■ Doubled inventory item count, 4,600 SKUs
■ Minimal additional staff requirements
■ 34 percent increase in picks per hour
■ 99.5 percent order accuracy.
■ 12-13,000 lines picked per day, representing18-19,000 discrete items.
■ Seamless Integration with Infor FACTS
■ To-the-minute product currency
■ RF-directed picking/shipping
■ True FIFO picking/shipping
■ Allocation control
■ Automatic replenishment let-down
■ Seamless data flow between distribution/manufacturing units
■ Positive productivity tracking
■ Enablement of incentive program

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Two Mid-Atlantic sister companies with roots tracing to the early 1900s are among each others’ best customers, with a manufacturing unit buying in bulk from the distribution unit which, in turn, purchases most of the manufacturer’s finished grocery products for resale into its own markets. Conveniently housed together, the two companies for years have combined an Infor FACTS ERP system with AccellosOne Warehouse Management Software to manage inventory and production control, each company with its own installation.

The distributor specializes in three product categories; food service and bakery items like tube fillings, mixes and shortenings; bulk stock for repacking by retailers; and shelf-ready products – some of which are its own private label items -- which account for about 25 per cent of its volume. Its clientele includes small independent food stores, small- to mid-size chains, and specialty outlets such as the stores prominently feature bulk products.

The two companies currently occupy a 220,000 square foot facility, now with a total of nearly 5,000 SKUs in five-high racking, and manned by a warehouse staff of approximately 60.

By the mid-1980s, the company was operating 30,000 square feet of warehouse space. Employee responsibilities had become increasingly specialized and there was no assurance, for example, that the person who placed a product in storage would be the one who needed to locate it for shipping. Problems ensued: the “memory system” was no longer adequate, picking processes were inefficient, and there was no effective way that the FIFO approach – so critical to perishable food products – could be maintained.

An important consideration was that the software would interface with the company’s FACTS ERP software. A hands-on management team reviewed several options, settling on the AccellosOne Warehouse Management System (then Radio Beacon), which it found would integrate well with FACTS and would require only minimal adjustments on either end. “It was a major turning point for the company,” the executive says, “and it started at the top.”

Along with its base of long-term vendors, the distributor’s buying committee consistently shops for additional products and vendors that fit its marketing concept, managing purchasing, inventory control, vendor and product data and customer relations with the FACTS system and maintaining inventory records both in FACTS and the Accellos software.

Customer orders arrive via phone, fax and web, with customer service entering them into the FACTS software. When order entry is complete, the orders transmit to Accellos with a single keystroke. Orders are organized by routes and are filled based on indicated ship dates that can range from immediate/rush to hours, days or weeks.

The standalone manufacturing company maintains its own business management software environment, its own AccellosOne WMS implementation and a staff of 23 employees. Besides representing the primary source for some of the distribution company’s private labels, its catalog features some 300 dry products such as trail mix, baking mixes, powdered soup and dip mixes, and sweetened coconut, available in bulk packaging options of from five- to 25-pound cases.

When Distribution issues a purchase order for a quantity of product, Manufacturing in turn issues a purchase order to Distribution for the necessary ingredients – e.g. 100 cases of peanuts, 50 pounds of coconut, 20 pounds of almonds, etc. – receives them into its own inventory, and sets up a production schedule. (Correspondingly, Distribution’s records would show the quantities sold and shipped to Manufacturing.) In the reverse process, Distribution issues a sales order, fulfills it and both sides balance their books.

The enterprises’ experience with the Accellos software has been excellent, says management, effectively supporting dramatic growth from the 60,000 facility in use when the software was acquired to the 220,000 square foot building that houses operations today. Inventory count has risen from about 2,300 items to more than 4,600, The solution was upgraded only once, to take advantage of advanced reporting, information display capabilities, and faster data processing.

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