Verst Group Logistics is passionate about making our customers first with their customers by streamlining the logistics of moving products to market. As a third-part logistics (3PL) company that’s synonymous with streamlining, we consistently get products to market faster, more efficiently and more cost-effectively than national, regional and in-house supply chain management (SCM) providers. Our true turnkey services shorten dock-to-stock time, reduce waste, and improve the bottom line for market leaders along America’s manufacturing corridor. Strategically headquartered in Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati, our family-owned SCM firm provides fully integrated warehouse, logistics, transportation and packaging services to a wide range of consumer goods and manufacturing companies. We operate numerous “clean and lean” 3PL facilities in several states. The Verst team is committed to delivering the triple advantage of ease, efficiency and speed-to-market. Verst Group manages over 5 Million square feet of warehousing space, as a fleet of 250 trucks and a team of 1,500 employees.
INTERVIEW WITH DEAN HOERLEIN OF VERST GROUP
Accellos: When did you first purchase Accellos Enterprise 3PL?
Dean: We purchased the AccellosOne Enterprise 3PL product in June 2009. We were on an older software platform (Infor/Provia Foresite) that could not support our increasing volume. Accellos software was a strong fit and their team could commit to a 45-day initial implementation, which was a requirement for one of our new customers.
A: How large is your Internal IT organization?
D: We have eight people in our IT organization; however, the majority of install and roll-out was completed by operations team members. Today we have two people (one from operations and one from IT) that manage the set-up and configuration of the system across all our sites and customers.
A: What other systems did you consider when you selected Accellos?
D: Infor WM 9, RedPrairie
A: Why did you choose Accellos over the other systems?
D: The largest factor was the functionality fit with our business that allowed us to implement the first site in less than 45 days. Once we had the first site up we were confident in the software to support our needs across the business. The fleet management capabilities in the solution were also able to support the transportation and brokerage sides of our business.
A: How long from the time you purchased Accellos to when you went live with your first OT?
D: It was 45 days from decision making process to the first site go-live.
A: How would you rate Accellos 3PL Warehouse Industry Knowledge on a scale of 1-10, with 10 representing Extremely Knowledgeable?
D: Nine, very high. There have not been many things we need that Accellos was not able to support with the product or its people.
A: How do you feel that Accellos staff knowledge helped or hindered the implementation?
D: It definitely helped. The training was good which left us feeling well prepared and supported. When not on-site with us, the Accellos team was also just a phone call away. I had zero issues with Accellos support. The team was on-site for the first site but we were able to roll out after that without Accellos support on-site.
A: Was the implementation close to on – time (within 30 days or original plan), if not can you please state by approximately how many days it was delayed and whether it was related to Accellos or you?
D: There was slight delay due to some internal server cutover issues. This was a part of the project that was solely the responsibility of our internal IT organization, not Accellos. Once the servers were ready for the software to be installed, things went according to plan.
A: How long did it take to migrate all of your facilities and customers to the Accellos system?
D: We have approximately 200 customers across 11 warehouses. We started roll-out (beyond the initial site) in September 2010 and finished in June 2012. We could have gone faster but on-boarded a new large customer during that same time period and it required pulling the WMS team away from the roll-outs for a while. Working through some complex EDI scenarios with customers who were reluctant to change was probably the biggest thing that slowed us down.
A: Did you have Accellos involved beyond the first site (customer), or did you migrate other customers/sites on you own?
D: Accellos was on-site for the initial site go-live and we managed all subsequent roll-outs without on-site assistance.
A: Did you retain outside professional assistance, beyond Accellos (only referring to the Accellos application, not infrastructure or network)?
D: We did not require any outside consultants beyond Accellos.
A: Is it your intention to have all of your facilities operate on Accellos, if not can you please offer some comments as to why not?
D: We have a small number of facilities in our network that are dedicated facilities and we are required to run our customer’s WMS. Other than that, all facilities run Accellos.
A: How many customers do you have running in all of your facilities and how many customers do you average per facility?
D: We have about 200 customers with an average of 15 customers per facility. We have warehouses that are dedicated (one customer) and some with up to 40.
A: Are you operating separate instances of the Accellos system or multiple instances (multiple databases or one database)?
D: One instance for all facilities.
A: Did you require customization to the core solution, If so approximately how much did you invest for customization?
D: Yes, we needed about 6 or 7. We had some unique requirements in our packaging business that required changes to the kitting functionality and few label customizations to meet customer requirements. Change orders have averaged about $1,800 with a high of $4,000. Overall cost has not been bad.
A: Beyond your annual maintenance costs from Accellos, how would you describe your annual spend with Accellos?
D: Occasionally we have a customer requested requirement that requires some work from Accellos but in general we don’t need to spend more.
A: What percent of the billing is automated and billed through Accellos?
D: Almost all of the billing is through Accellos. There are some variable square foot leasing that runs through Accellos but has some manual entry (it just takes a few minutes). Nearly 100% through Accellos.
A: Have you been able to upgrade to a newer version of Accellos, if not any reason why?
D: We upgraded after we installed the first site. Upgrade went extremely well. We did the upgrade over weekend with very little effort.