Jan K. Overweel Limited opened its doors in 1947 as an importer of Holland Herring ﬁsh products, soon broadening its offerings with specialty cocoa, grocery items and cheeses. The company now markets many of its products internationally under the EMMA brand and when its corporate slogan proclaims “We Shop the World,” they’re not kidding.
Overweel maintains ﬁve facilities, two of them manufacturing units in the Toronto metro area (Casa Italia in Brampton; Milano in Concord) and warehouse/distribution centers in Toronto, at 200,000 square feet; Montreal at 40,000 square feet; and Vancouver at 30,000 square feet. Stafﬁng is heaviest in the Toronto location, which employs some 32 people in two warehouse shifts. Montreal and Vancouver operate with fewer than ten people on single shifts that can be extended if need be.
Overweel’s forward-looking management deployed Microsoft Dynamics GP to streamline corporate operations several years ago but the software’s positive impact on ofﬁce operations did not transfer effectively to the warehouse. The Microsoft Dynamics GP system’s Inventory Management module, which the owners had hoped would establish a productive and error-resistant environment for the company’s three warehouses often proved unequal to their steadily increasing and often changing requirements.
HighJump WMS Spells Relief
Relief arrived in 2010 when, after enduring the growing situation for several years, management charged Joe with the task of identifying and deploying a comprehensive warehouse management software solution that would eliminate the delays and inefﬁciencies that plagued the paper-based environment. After an extensive search, Joe narrowed his options to three ﬁnalists, with the HighJump Warehouse Management System (WMS) emerging as the system that would best satisfy the company’s logistics needs.
As noted, the hands-on implementation of the HighJump software at Overweel was performed by an HighJump team, with Joe’s active participation. And while the software was being readied, Joe and the warehouse staff reorganized the warehouse location system, manually relabeling each physical product location to conform to its representation in the new location maps deﬁned by the software.
Merchandise normally arrives from overseas by containers and the pallet labels are generated by the HighJump system. Inbound merchandise can replenish bins directly or can be placed in overﬂow until a speciﬁed stock level is reached in its respective bin, causing a drawdown order to be issued automatically by the software. The WMS system tracks inventory both in the bins and in overﬂow, dropping product to depleted bins from the most convenient overﬂow location and automatically maintaining FIFO currency through the software’s automatically enforced-cycle rules.
While reluctant to connect the discernible improvements in warehouse management directly to the steadily increasing prosperity of the company, Joe concedes that the software helps cope with such factors as decreasing overall margins.
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