- Printing 85 percent less paper in its shipping processes
- Faster opening and closing of order processes
- Much clearer order allocation
- Accelerated movement to storage and out the door
- Improved efficiency through introduction of FIFO capabilities, RF directed processes, and automation in receiving, picking and shipping
- Increased output with no extra staff
- EDI integration and customer portal
- Real-time capture and tracking of data
Whether aware of it or not, browsers and shoppers in retail outlets like Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sears and Wal-Mart might encounter merchandise developed and marketed by Hampton Products International Corporation around almost any corner. Founded by Dale Hampton in 1973 to distribute automotive security hardware, the company is now international in scope, manufacturing and sourcing product in Asia and distributing more than 10,000 SKUs under six brands in 11 retail categories throughout North America and in several countries abroad.
Challenges of Growth
For several years, privately owned Hampton Products has experienced double-digit growth year-over-year, expanding both organically and through acquisitions, according to Vice President and Chief Information Officer Brian Millsap. Millsap is responsible for the systems that manage the company’s financials as well as the merchandise at the company’s 300,000 square foot distribution center in Foothill Ranch, California, a few miles inland from the Orange County Coast.
The Hampton Products’ warehouse operation typically handles several thousand orders of various kinds and sizes per week, ranging from distribution center transfer facility orders; unified pallets that are sent to distribution centers for break-out to hundreds of stores; transfer facility pallets to large-chain distribution centers; full containers; LTL shipments; and parcels for delivery direct-to-stores – all tagged with various label formats, all packed to customer specifications and all shipments subject to varying electronic shipment notifications.
Historically, Hampton’s operations and information management staffs have embraced technology, from the internal development of the bolt-on applications extending the previous system’s capabilities to voluntary RFID initiatives for its Wal-Mart processes.
AccellosOne Warehouse Fulfill Edition is a scalable and flexible real-time WMS that enhances productivity, reduces costs and fulfillment times, and increases customer satisfaction by enabling faster order fulfillment, more reliable and error-free in-warehouse processes.
Millsap has high marks for the Accellos partner who implemented the system. Accellos carefully invests in the development and training of certified partners who can deliver WMS systems to Microsoft Dynamics users.
The receiving process actually begins where the containers are shipped, usually in China. Container tags are read when the ship is loaded and are transmitted to Hampton headquarters, where the shipments are confirmed on arrival. As the merchandise is removed from the containers, putaway is directed by the Accellos software, via the Symbol RF guns. Replenishment is similarly directed as product is moved from secondary bins to pick bins for order fulfillment.
Just Getting Started
The impact of the new warehouse management software was on display quickly, Millsap says. “During the days following implementation, we handled more orders than any day in company history,” he says. “We didn’t expect this but we worked through it, doing more with the same amount of staff.
“With only weeks since cutover, we are already feeling the effects of our modifications and adjustments and it it’s just the beginning,’ Millsap says. “What we know already is that our best day under our previous system is now an average day -- and it can only get better.”