VHA supplies mobile phones and accessories to retail businesses across the United States. They are currently operating out of four warehouse locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Diamond Bar and Houston.
VHA has been operating since 2001 and has enjoyed huge growth in the last few years. They were searching for a WMS that could bring their four warehouses in line, using the Houston warehouse as the template, and integrate to their NetSuite ERP.
Each warehouse has an area where customers can come and collect orders raised in advance. This business is referred to as Will Call inside VHA and as a middle-ground between the warehouse and a shopfront, it required the development of additional real-time interfaces in WAERlinx. Will Call makes up a small but significant proportion of the processed orders, however, most are sent out via a carrier.
This was the first project involving Waer partner and NetSuite Solution Provider, Concentrus and has provided a platform for partnership in the US, with Concentrus offering local time-zone support for US based WAERlinx users.
In addition to the standard WAERlinx solution, additional unique developments for the project included:
“It was WAERlinx’ flexibility and the productivity metrics developed for us that made VHA decide that this was the absolute best product for the project. We look forward to a long and strong relationship with Waer Systems.” Darryl Wooten, Director of Operations, VHA.
There is often a great deal of reluctance about moving from a DIY (do-it-yourself) warehouse management system (WMS) to an industry-leading model. Companies with a DIY WMS may be understandably wary of implementing a new system – as the saying goes, “if it aint broke….” but there are clear and measurable advantages to taking that leap.
The three most common barriers to making the switch
“I know my WMS requires a lot of IT time to maintain and it may not always be up-to-date, but it has grown and been adapted as our business has expanded and it works.”
A 21st century WMS is highly configurable to specific customer needs, market demands and regulatory requirements. Every company is different and a really good WMS developer will understand which elements of your business processes can’t, or needn’t be changed, and those which can – and should.
Good warehouse management software will have been built on decades of experience and hundreds of implementations in receiving, put-away/flow-through, inventory management, order processing, replenishment, picking, packing, loading and shipping.
It should be able to manage the most highly regulated and complex distribution environments world-wide and be easily configurable to meet current demands, yet flexible enough to adapt to future requirements.
Personalised workflows should be standard, enabling the WMS to meet your company’s specific needs. A good WMS developer will work with you to understand the years you’ve spent developing and tweaking your business processes to your competitive advantage.
“Our ERP System already has a WMS that can support our business needs.”
Many ERP systems have their own bolt-on WMS and while this type of system may be fine for a single warehouse with basic processes, the wheels can come off when things start to get more complex.
A best-of-breed model should easily integrate with your ERP system, sales channels and distribution networks and should have the capacity to be configured to the level of detail needed to grow with your business.
“I have a team and system built around maintaining and upgrading our WMS. It will be too costly to implement a new system and re-train everyone.”
The ease of using a leading WMS will reduce your IT staff time, including the time spent on upgrades. While a DIY WMS may require hours of additional coding when an upgrade is installed, a leading WMS will have been designed to be upgraded quickly and painlessly and with minimal disruption. Additionally, the inner workings of DIY systems are often tied up in a few, critical resources in IT, leaving many companies very vulnerable should these resources ever leave.
With a best-of-breed WMS, you get the backing of a software provider that is dedicated to making the best product in the market.
It may also be costing you more to keep an obsolete WMS that requires you to maintain older versions of related infrastructure such as databases and operating systems. With a WMS that can integrate with these other systems, the entire warehouse operation can become more efficient almost overnight.
THE BOTTOM LINE
While your DIY WMS system can serve the needs of your company today, flexibility, efficiency, scalability and adaptability are essential business requirements in our new economy and are to be overlooked at your peril.
You can keep tweaking your DIY WMS as your company grows and expands into new markets but every inefficiency will mount up and cost you in the long-run.
A highly configurable, future-proof WMS will save you money and time, and keep you ahead of the competition.
HSNF has two warehouses located in North London. Most of their sales orders are placed via web portals including Amazon, Groupon, eBay and their own site, www.justbeauty.co.uk,.
NetSuite was installed at HSNF in 2014, and a paper-based system was used in the warehouse. There was, however, a lack of accurate inventory visibility with this system, and limited functionality to record pick rates or errors.
The WAERlinx solution
A detailed proposal for integrating WAERlinx with NetSuite was submitted in the first quarter of 2016 and implemented in September. As with all WAERlinx installations, the baseline product was configured to meet the exact needs of the business:
Assembly handling was a key development in this project. Now the HSNF team can quickly pick hundreds of base kits and put them away to stock. When a sales order is received, the operator picks the base kit and then picks the variable item – such as nail colour – separately, saving a huge amount of time.
Integration to Royal Mail and Yodel using Net Despatch: this includes international and Channel Islands shipments, and the packer is able to change the shipping method at the packing stage if required.
The average number of order lines is typically 1.8 and there is a high degree of commonality in the products. When the new feature, View High-Demand SKUs is clicked, a new view is presented, which displays SKUs in order of the number of unfulfilled lines that currently have unassigned pick tasks. Each line can be selected and the user can release multiple orders of identical SKUs to the operator for picking.
SKU images: this allows for 100s of orders to be released for picking extremely quickly and substantially minimises the volumes of repeated pick visits to a single bin.
Product images are displayed throughout WAERlinx, including the handhelds, resulting in far fewer queries or mistakes. This value-added feature has become essential for visible validations of SKU selection for packing.
As orders are dropped at the packing bay by the picking operator, a packing note is downloaded as a PDF for printing, initiating the pack process. Packing instructions can then be displayed if required.
The operator scans the packing note and each SKU code as it is packed into the carton. Once all SKUs are packed and despatched, the carrier booking continues automatically and the shipper’s label is printed.
HSNF’s tailored WAERlinx solution gives pickers the choice of Single picking – sequential picking with no grouping, or Wave picking – grouping of order pick tasks where common SKUs are picked individually.
If inventory exists elsewhere in the warehouse, the operator is presented with a View Alternate Location button. This is available during putaway, picking and inventory management, and assists the operator if they cannot physically reach a location or wish to reorganise the inventory in the warehouse.
WAERlinx’ complete integration with NetSuite means that HSNF now has vastly improved visibility of the warehouse operation. Errors have been virtually eliminated and the work-rate has seen a dramatic rise.
UK Home Shopping (UKHS) Ltd is an online retailer based in Nottinghamshire, selling power and hand tools, workshop and automotive tools, generators and electrical items. http://www.ukhs.tv/
Already using NetSuite, the company wanted an integrated warehouse management system (WMS) in order to better support current and future operations.
UKHS has two warehouses, both located in Nottinghamshire.
The first is the main distribution centre, consisting of pallet racks and shelves for pick faces, with dedicated areas for receiving, packing and despatching.
The second, referred to as the service warehouse, is a physically separate warehouse located within the same site as the main warehouse. It serves several purposes:
In both warehouses, the existing paper-based system meant there were issues concerning a lack of inventory visibility and no existing pick-walk sequences, resulting in inefficient operations and limited customer return functionality.
The WAERlinx solution
A number of small adjustments were made to the baseline WAERlinx solution:
UK Home Shopping ships to Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man so these have been incorporated into the project.
Waer provided carrier integration with Royal Mail and Yodel via Net Despatch and for pallet handling, direct integration with TNT.
The transition from paper to handhelds has resulted in huge improvements to pick accuracy and time taken for picking.
A robust inventory-counting solution now allows UK Home Shopping to action regular inventory counts without disruption, rather than shutting the business down for an entire weekend in order to carry out the task.
“Since the implementation of WAERlinx our warehouse staffing levels have reduced by three full time employees.” Paul Strickland, UK Home Shopping Warehouse Manager.
Online Retailer Cox & Cox Chooses NetSuite with WAERlinx WMS to Support Their Business, Now and into the Future
Launched in 2001, Cox & Cox (www.coxandcox.co.uk) is a unique collection of practical yet beautiful homeware products, unavailable in traditional catalogues. The eclectic mix of old and new makes the site a go-to for independent-minded home owners and interior designers alike, and the company has a strong and ever-growing loyal customer base.
Having enjoyed steady growth, the company needed to start streamlining its operations and improve efficiency, with the installation of an ERP and warehouse management solution. Cox & Cox needed a system that was able to scale to its current size and have the capacity to grow as the company expands.
They quickly settled on a shortlist of two ERP systems: NetSuite and MS Dynamics. Jonathan Baldwin, Corporate Account Executive at NetSuite, introduced them to Patchworks – a NetSuite solution provider – and suggested WAERlinx as the most suitable solution for the warehouse.
Patchworks simplifies the adoption and management of the world’s most popular software, such as NetSuite, and is Europe’s leading cloud integration platform, as well as being the only Built-for-NetSuite accredited connector.
For Cox and Cox, Patchworks delivered fully automated synchronisation of all of their business critical data between NetSuite and Magento 2, enabling them to accelerate growth and increase speed to market with new products whilst providing a seamless customer experience.
WAERlinx provides NetSuite customers with all the functionality you would expect from a world-class warehouse management system, addressing all inbound, storage and outbound processes, fully and seamlessly interfaced to NetSuite.
Its storage management functionality gives customers real-time visibility of all stock, from warehouse to zone, rack and shelf at any location in the world, providing accurate stock count and perpetual inventory as standard, and on the outbound side of the supply chain, pick sequences are set up for maximum efficiency and can be driven by many factors in line with business requirements, keeping disruption to a minimum and providing customers with exactly what they need.
WAERlinx’ flexibility and scalability are its biggest assets, and it was these two elements that clinched it for Cox & Cox. Aynsley Peet, E-Commerce Manager at Cox & Cox, said:
“We really liked WAERlinx’ flexibility and scalability. The team at WAER gave us a number of demos, we talked to several existing customers and the support so far has been fantastic. We are really excited about starting this new project with NetSuite and WAERlinx.”
For more information about Patchworks contact Julie Halford at Patchworks email@example.com or 07904 664011 www.patchworks.co.uk
Mr Fothergill’s Seeds Ltd is an established UK supplier of gardening products including flower and vegetable seeds, young plants, soft fruit trees and a range of garden equipment, fertiliser, pest control etc. They have a broad mix of customers; both B2B e.g. garden centres and DIY merchants; and B2C e.g. allotment associations and consumers.
Fothergill’s has been using NetSuite for several years and they approached Waer Systems to provide better warehouse management across its three sites. WAERlinx’ renowned flexibility meant that the company’s specific requirements were easily accommodated into the package, including:
The company ships a huge number of order lines. For example, in one week they shipped over 16,900. So the potential for efficiency savings was huge.
How WAERlinx was configured to meet Fothergill’s requirements
Automatic Build of Works Orders
Once the inventory is received in WAERlinx, the purchase order is updated in NetSuite and the inventory is committed. WAERlinx users then release the items for picking by brand and/or product category.
WAERlinx adds the items to pick lists which are then given to the service provider, Rookery Farm Packing (http://www.rookeryfarmpacking.co.uk/) to manage all picking, packing and shipping of the items.
Once the items are physically picked and checked, packing lists and delivery notes are printed, and NetSuite is updated. Once packed, the shipping label is scanned and the carrier booking is made.
This new feature in WAERlinx allows the user to restrict the number of sales orders assigned to a picker, giving Fothergill’s the flexibility to choose how they set up their operation and allowing them to manage the picking and packing functions together, should they wish.
Our development team is known for their love of a challenge, and our customers choose WAERlinx because of its adaptability to their needs.
Take one of our most recent customers, Mishimoto, for example. In the process of scoping out their project, they have requested the ability to receive goods by packing list reference, thus enabling automated receipt processing for multiple items based on a supplier’s packing list or delivery note.
The second development request was to have pallet packing – the functionality to assemble shipping pallets by recording either the uniquely numbered cartons contained on the pallet and/or the loose (i.e. unpacked) items that are contained on the pallet.
Thirdly, they needed to have calculated weights of cartons and pallets. This way, there would be clear visibility of what had been placed onto each pallet, and fewer customer service issues of the ‘my product hasn’t been delivered’ type.
None of these has been requested by customers to date, but part of what makes WAERlinx unique is the fact that there is no ‘off the shelf’ version; it’s built to adapt, so these were all easily incorporated into the final solution.
For Mishimoto, the advantages are set to make a huge impact on efficiency in the warehouse:
|#||New Function Title||Description||Benefits|
|1||Receive by Packing List Reference||Automated receipt processing for multiple items based on a supplier’s packing list or delivery note.||Rapid and accurate processing of receipts for a specific supplier shipment.|
|2||Pallet Packing||Function to ‘assemble’ shipping pallets by recording either the uniquely-numbered cartons that are contained on the pallet, and/or the loose (i.e. unpacked) items that are contained on the pallet.
Calculated weights of cartons and pallets.
|Clear visibility of what has been placed onto each pallet.
Fewer customer service issues of the ‘my product hasn’t been delivered’ type.
|3||BlueGrace Integration||Provides a ‘Rate Shopping’ function in WAERlinx, using data retrieved from the BlueGrace system.
Allows bookings to be made for the selected carriers.
|Management of ‘Less Than Truckload’ (LTL) shipments.
Lower overall freight costs.
|4||Pallet Placard, Carton Labelling, Repack Carton labelling||Replacement of hand-written sheets with neat, clearly-readable labels & documents.|
WAERlinx’ – as flexible as our customers are unique.
When it comes to product development, our customers steer the way. Earlier this year, we made a great new development…
Many manufacturing, distribution and retail companies prefer to use their own fleet of vehicles for deliveries and while there are obvious advantages, there are also common pitfalls, with delivery systems often cobbled together resulting in unreliable delivery data and a lot of headaches.
WAERpod is a new Proof of Delivery app for Android phones, designed with these businesses in mind. It allows drivers to take deliveries and book them in to customer locations ensuring 100 per cent accuracy on delivered goods.
Its low-cost, high spec gives all the functionality you would expect from a well-known carrier company, all interfaced beautifully into NetSuite.
Lancing, West Sussex, UK, 30th March, 2016 – Waer Systems today announced its exhibitor sponsorship of SuiteWorld 2016, NetSuite’s annual user conference for customers, partners, media and industry analysts, being held May 16–19 in San Jose, Calif. NetSuite’s SuiteWorld 2016 is the #1 Cloud ERP conference, with more than 8,000 expected attendees coming together to get inspired, network, celebrate cloud success, gain industry knowledge and share insights and best practices.
“We are really looking forward to making new contacts and forging relationships with implementation and technology partners, as well as NetSuite users worldwide,” said Rod Scott, CEO of Waer. “We have a great warehouse management product that partners can add to their portfolio to enhance their value proposition. In addition, WAERlinx is ideal for end users of NetSuite who want to take their warehouse management to the next level.”
The WAERlinx WMS SuiteApp provides NetSuite customers with all the functionality you would expect from a world-class warehouse management system, addressing all inbound, storage and outbound processes, fully and seamlessly interfaced to NetSuite.
To learn more, please visit us at booth 111 in the SuiteWorld Expo at the San Jose Convention Center.
About SuiteWorld 2016
NetSuite’s SuiteWorld is the #1 Cloud ERP conference, being held at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, Calif. on May 16-19. SuiteWorld 2016 will bring together NetSuite solution providers, independent software vendor (ISV) partners, industry thought leaders and representatives of the approximately 30,000 companies and subsidiaries from across the globe running their business on NetSuite’s cloud-based business management suite. Attendees of SuiteWorld can fully explore the NetSuite ecosystem, network face-to-face, and help shape the next evolution of cloud computing services.
For registration and additional details, please visit www.netsuitesuiteworld.com. To join the SuiteWorld conversation on Twitter and Instagram, please use #NSW16.
NOTE: NetSuite and the NetSuite logo are service marks of NetSuite Inc. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.