William C. Brown founded The William C. Brown Company in Dubuque, Iowa in 1944 when he acquired the publishing rights to 26 college workbook and lab manual titles written by Midwestern professors and used primarily by them, in their own classes. Within five years, the company’s list of titles had grown to more than 100 and it established a second division that enabled it to move more heavily into traditional publishing, from contracting with authors to concept development to shipment of bound books.
As a publisher, Kendall Hunt works with authors — some with specialized and unique requirements — as well as develops its own projects, such as a popular series called “Math Trailblazers.” A corporate staff of about 350 people provides full design, permission and copyright services, with production contracted to a dozen or more printing firms. Its technologically sophisticated distribution center is staffed by about 20 full time – and 20 part time workers.
The Distribution Center
Despite the shortcomings of its software environment, Kendall Hunt had made gigantic strides in modernizing its distribution center operations. It occupied its current facility in 2008, taking pains not only to provide effective, streamlined processes to serve its current clientele, but also to enable the 3PL operations it planned to offer.
Search and Deploy
Prior to implementation of the HighJump software, many of the problems that had developed over the years persisted, even with the new Dynamics NAV ERP software, since the existing warehouse management system simply was not built to deal with the increasing volume and complexity of Kendall Hunt’s operations.
Reconfiguration of the warehouse, often a critical element of WMS implementations, was not necessary at Kendall Hunt, according to SVA Consulting Principal Tim Hanson. That had been taken care of three years earlier, when the new distribution center was built. Each bin carried a barcode identifier that was encoded in the warehouse management software then in use, enabling the use of handheld computers to execute receiving, putaway and pick/pack. With the implementation of HighJump, this procedure remains essentially intact.
The books arrive from the contract printers in cases, often between 10 to 24 books per case. In the receiving process, production purchase orders issued to the respective printing houses download from Dynamics NAV to the HighJump software for use in identifying incoming product. The orders, usually but not always a single line, tell HighJump what product to expect and when it should arrive.
The impact of the HighJump solution is multifaceted according to Reichling and Beitzel. Efficiency and productivity have soared, and Kendall Hunt is now positioned to handle their planned growth and to expand their third-party logistics service.
Kendall Hunt tracks productivity on a weekly, monthly and annual basis, and the figures show significant improvement, according to Beitzel. “We were good before we switched,” he says. “With HighJump, we think we’ve removed our limits.”
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