- Streamlined operations with RF and EDI processes
- Increased business with no personnel changes
- Average orders per day increased from 65 to 98
- Average lines of order increased from 130 to 508
- Ongoing average increase in pallets/cases per man-hour of 23%; as high as 33%
- Order accuracy increased to 99.999%
- Customer support costs decreased by 90%
- 25% savings in labor costs
Whether bringing dressed poultry, boxed beef, or case goods destined for Minnesota Schools food programs, when a truck backs up to one of the 27 dock doors at Newport-St. Paul Cold Storage in suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul, it is normally only a matter of minutes before it is unladed and the product has been moved to its assigned dry, refrigerated or freezer space: no staging, usually no paperwork other than a signature, just a few zaps with an RF gun.
Strong Regional Player
Newport provides an extensive array of routine and specialized warehouse services, among them:
- Dry and controlled temperature warehouse services, with blast freezing and refrigerated storage from +55 to -20 degrees F.
- RF-directed receiving, putaway, and picking
- Order assembly, from single case picking to rainbow pallet assembly of specific products for specific shipments
- Export services
- Coordination with US Department of Agriculture FSIS inspections
- Cross-docking and transloading; full pallet movement
- Stretch-wrapping, labeling and stamping, and much more.
“We needed to grow along with our customers’ growing requirements and our legacy system simply could not provide the functionality and flexibility that we needed,” Lewis says. “We looked at several 3PL solutions, among them Provia, Datex and Motech, but we selected Accellos because it had everything we were looking for in terms of functionality.”
Workflow – Inbound
Most orders are input to the Accellos software electronically via X.12 EDI, Excel spreadsheet or automated fax, only rarely in a manual process. When trucks arrive at the dock, inbound merchandise follows a near seamless, RF-directed, automated process.
Workflow – Outbound
Order selection follows the same process but in reverse, with the RF guns delivering the order selection instructions. Order selection rules determine the allocation of product and the sequence in which orders are selected. Basic interleaving tools support balancing of workloads permitting segmentation of orders so that, for example, one worker is not assigned a bulk truckload and another, a 55-line case selection order. Interleaving rules introduced into the workflow allow supervisors to make work assignment decisions from a central point, rather than have to deliver them personally to employees out on the floor.
Shipping and Reporting
Shipments are scheduled in the appointment system, with Accellos handling all of the shipping details and generating the limited amount of paper documentation needed by drivers to accept loads. Doors are scheduled within a certain timeframe and the Active Desktop Operational Board calculates the amount of labor needed. Labor standards in development will make the process even more precise, Lewis says.
eVista also plays prominently into Newport’s billing function, which is now substantially automated and self-administered, with most companies simply downloading their invoices each week. It also permits a greater range of complexity and supports additional revenue-generating opportunities. d’Amigo summarizes the data, creates the entry, and posts it to eVista; little further post-setup interaction is required.
“Most of our billing was manual before but market conditions changed and we need a billing capability that was flexible and could accommodate different levels of billing and different variations,” Lewis says. “Variations might include hundredweight accounts vs. pallet accounts; pallet accounts with pick fees associated to shipments; or splits of handling and storage charges between customer and consignee. In a manual process, it can be prohibitively difficult and so complex that people make mistakes. With Accellos we are able to set up these profiles and execute them flawlessly with no tending.”
Since acquiring the ability to do so, the company’s volume in that type of business has increased at least 10 percent, Lewis says, with a large portion of it traceable to automating these tasks.
Newport has calculated that requests handled by a CSR average three-quarters of an hour. When another team member is required (supervision, inventory control) the resource demand increases by 150%. Thus, the financial impact of customer self-service using eVista is a cost savings of $30.00 – $75.00 per query and the company has seen up to a 90% decrease in CSR workload as customers choose eVista as their first option in incident reconciliation.