Best Supply Chain

— November 01, 2007

>WINNER
J&J's Tri-State Delivery Service
A HANDHELD SYSTEM IMPROVES WAREHOUSE ORDER TURNAROUND AND CUSTOMER SERVICE.
J&J's Tri-State Delivery Service only served Northern New Jersey when it was incorporated in 1987. Twenty years later, it has grown to cover New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. The company is a major deliverer of high-end home products,including kitchen cabinets, windows and doors, appliances and furniture.

"The success of the company is based on quick turnaround time in the warehouse," reports John Knapp, president of CDA-Computer Resources, a New Jersey-based company that operates as the contract I.T. department for J&J. "The company has 400,000 square feet of warehouse space, and we want to move product out within two days. We needed excellent trackability."

Until recently, trackability was handled manually. As trucks were offloaded, workers called out individual boxes and described them verbally. Checkers would check each item on paper. Obviously, the process was time-consuming and prone to error.

A number of customers began requesting quicker turnaround times, and J&J sawthe benefits of doing so as away to improve customer satisfaction, efficiency, quality and accuracy. The company set a number of goals. It wanted to expedite its current billing cycle; better track the receiving, checking and delivery of shipments; shorten the receiving and delivery process; eliminate the need for additional office staff to key in paper-based data; improve the accuracy of data being collected by drivers; and track driver efficiency.

J&J and CDA created a selection and implementation team, which conducted an extensive search of resources and vendors. The team selected Symbol MC 70 and Symbol MC 9094 hardware, with CDA's Inventory Management Warehouse System as its back-end system. It also selected as its mobile platform AccessPoint MIMS (Mobile Information Management System) from Global Bay, a provider of configurable mobile applications. The upgrade replaces manual business processes with automated, real-time mobile technology. The solution allows customers to increase their workforce's productivity by eliminating inconsistencies in the business process and providing real-time information flow.

SOLUTION: Symbol MC 70 and MC 9094 devices; Global Bay Access Point mobile platform; CDA Inventory Warehouse Management System

"The key to the successful implementation at J&J was selecting the right suppliers and having the right people on the team that could pull off the installation in a relatively quick time," says Knapp.

Warehouse workers now scan items as they are unloaded from incoming trucks and "pull down" the entire order detail by integrating with the legacy system. Once an order is complete, the handheld provides a status report of received versus expected items, makingit easier to track and report shortages or other errors.

When the order is ready for delivery, the driver scans all the items on the truck, delivers them to the customer, and receives an electronic signature. The system then wirelessly alerts J&J's system that the delivery is complete.

Efficiency, accuracy of data collection and access to historical data have improved. There has been a 30 percent reduction in the time required to issue invoices through proof of delivery, a 60 percent decrease in the time required to track and report shortages and damages, and a 25 percent reduction in time taken to check in warehouse shipments.

Executives are now able to view accurate reports on time spent in the field doing deliveries. "It has helped prevent the mix-up of freight, and our customer service level has improved," says Joe Natale, president.

J&J and CDA are comfortable with the Motorola products, but Knapp says the software is continually evolving. "We want to expand the technology beyond just the customers who currently require it, and make it available to everyone." -- WILLIAM ATKINSON

 

>HONORABLE MENTION
Lance
A much-needed upgrade streamlines sales operations.
Lance, a large snack food company, needed to update its obsolete handhelds and old mobile application to address increasing failure rates and the inefficiencies of its legacy software. The company was able to streamline its mobile field sales and delivery operations with Apacheta RouteACE software and Motorola's rugged MC 9090-S handheld computers. It successfully introduced the system to all 1,500 routes in four months.

There were three keys to success, according to Mark Carter, VP of strategic initiatives. "First, our business philosophy is that we don't do 'science projects,'" he says. "Everything we do has a strong business case with quantifiable payback." Second, the company's I.T. people handle technical and business issues well. Third, the company understood early on that its primary objectives were to deliver updated hardware, to create a productive operating environment for users and to establish a platform so that it could expand from either an infrastructure or a systems process perspective over a device's lifetime.

Apacheta's RouteACE supports a full "day in the life" for Lance's sales and delivery operations that serve in-store and vending customers. Drivers can accurately manage their inventory, streamline delivery logistics, provide delivery confirmation, prepare and print invoices, process payments, manage multiple pricing models, place orders and create reports.

"The system has really increased stability and speed of operations, which helps the drivers by saving them time and eliminating frustration," states Carter. Sales representatives now know exactly what inventory is on hand, what the right quantities are for various customers, how quickly inventory needs to be replenished, and what pricing and promotion to offer customers.

SOLUTION: Apacheta RouteACE software; Motorola MC 9090-S handhelds

>HONORABLE MENTION
Mobile system improves on-time delivery.
In 1999, GX Transportation Solutions, a privately owned transportation company, was approached by one of its customers, a large auto manufacturer, with a request to set up a dedicated delivery system for the manufacturer's dealer network. GXTS complied, and while the system worked well, in 2006 the company decided that it could be improved.

While on-time delivery was between 86 percent and 97 percent, GXTS wanted to improve visibility to each asset at each stage of custody. Second, it wanted to improve asset tracking. Third, it wanted improved accountability between stakeholders, which meant switching from a paper-based to a real-time delivery confirmation system. Finally, it wanted to eliminate delivery errors.

GXTS deployed Allegro Mobile Solutions software on Symbol MC7094, MC9064 and MC9002 handhelds, as well as Sony Ericsson T610 cell phones. Today drivers can log into the system and review their delivery lists even before arriving at the distribution center. All errors are caught before the drivers leave, and they cannot leave the distribution center without scanning all items on their delivery lists.

On-time delivery has improved from 96.5 percent to 99.7 percent, and errors have been reduced from an average of one per day to zero, saving an estimated five hours of resolution time. In addition, GXTS can analyze run times and build better routes. "The system has given us, as well as our customer, complete visibility into what transpires from the moment drivers arrive at their dock to the moment they arrive at our terminal," reports Dan Colagiacomo, VP of business development. "The whole process has truly strengthened the relationship between our organizations."

SOLUTION: Allegro Mobile Solutions Software; Symbol handhelds; Sony Ericsson cell phones

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