- Multi-client inventory management
- Hosted software environment
- Fully operational in about two weeks
- No outlay for hardware, system resources
- EDI availability as needed
- Powerful billing flexibility
- Precise inventory records
- Precise FIFO controls
- Easy cycle counts, as required
- Alerts/notification module
- Outbound shipment coordination
- Customer self-service module (eVista)
- Easy implementation of new 3PL clients
When the Chips Were Down, AccellosOne Enterprise 3PL Software Was Up
Battling a critical implementation window for its first customer, Shamrock Cold Storage
contacted Accellos and got a hosted first-tier 3PL solution in production in two weeks
Seattle-based Aqua Star scours much of the world to source a rich array of seafood products that it markets through club and warehouse outlets, grocery retailers and purveyors to the food service industry. Between the sea and the store, it relies on third party logistics providers to maintain the quality of its inventory and to assure that it gets to the right places at the right times.
Finding a Facility
Nother took the proposition to his father, a recently retired 3PL industry executive, and on January 1, 2012, Shamrock Cold Storage became the newest entry on the busy Brampton, Ontario third party logistics scene and very soon, one of several in the area that operate their businesses with AccellosOne Enterprise 3PL software. (Two other Nother sons are also in the 3PL business.)
Experience with Accellos
In establishing the new enterprise, the Nothers had no intention of remaining a single-client company, so a powerful and stable 3PL software platform was deemed necessary. In their professional affiliations, both Nothers had long-term, highly positive experience with AccellosOne Enterprise 3PL, which had been in place at logistics firms where both father and son had worked.
Meeting the Deadline
For Shamrock, the key was to have a basic but highly functional solution operational as quickly as possible. With help from Millard personnel, the space was ready for occupancy and connections with the Accellos hosting site were active as of January 30. On February 2, trucks carrying inventory from five different freezer warehouses in the Toronto and Montreal areas began to arrive, followed within days by containers of additional product arriving from the ocean ports.
According to Miles, Shamrock uses all of the core documents in the software, from picking and customer service to bills of lading, invoices and customer logo variations. The billing capabilities are especially valuable, she says: “We can use our wildest imagination and set up billing for different customers in any way that works for them -- detailed summaries, weekly, monthly and even daily. The software supports us in maintaining customer inventory records that are accurate and current, and we can conduct cycle counts quickly and easily if customers require them.”
Aqua Star-Canada’s inventory is containerized at the points of production and transported via freezer-equipped ships to Canadian ports of entry -- primarily Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax. On arrival at the ports, the containers are cleared through customs and Shamrock is notified that the product has landed. Aqua Star releases the shipment, establishes a delivery date, and selects a carrier to transport the container(s) to a Brampton terminal just a few minutes distant from Shamrock’s location. The carriers book appointments for delivery and usually are in and out of the facility in less than a half-hour, Miles says.
Most of Aqua Star’s outbound orders are destined for distribution centers. The shipping orders arrive by email, triggering the picking and shipping process and following FIFO controls set up in the Accellos software. “Given the nature of the product, this is very important,” Miles notes. “Accellos allows us to establish very specific data parameters and provides controls that assure that they are not violated.”
Results and Expectations
At start-up, Shamrock took delivery of some 100 truckloads of Aqua Star product in a matter of days, a rate that has since slowed to perhaps a dozen per day, with up to 25 expected at peak season. Besides Aqua Star, Shamrock is also managing inventory for several smaller customers including Baker Street, a Toronto bakery for which it freezes and inventories some 60 freshly baked items for delivery to distribution centers and retail and restaurant outlets.
“AccellosOne Enterprise 3PL provides us with a lot of options and we think we will end up with some creative warehousing solutions,” Miles says. “And we know that the software has all the capabilities we will ever need to create them.”