Case Study GTS Freight Management

GTS Freight Management is a family owned business founded in 1980. Based in Mildura GTS has a fleet of 101 prime movers and 125 B Double Trailers. With warehousing operating over two sites, their new purpose built fleet management centre and existing site has more than 21,000 m2 of insulated warehousing specifically designed to meet the requirements of the Australian wine industry.

After winning the national contract to warehouse and distribute the products for one of Australia’s major wine producers, GTS knew they needed a system that they could rely upon to manage their stock. Having seen the PW system previously Steve Cornale, the Warehouse Manager, called Paperless Warehousing immediately.

“The Paperless Warehouse Management System is what we needed to assist us in meeting our customer’s requirements and goals. The benefits in stock rotation, inventory control & real-time stock availability greatly assisted us in our warehouse management and therefore made the decision an easy choice,” said Steve.

Within a few weeks and after consultation with the Paperless Warehousing people, GTS had purchased a server to house the Paperless WMS, not only for their current requirements but also for future growth.

In no time the system was setup to suit the needs of GTS, the client and the physical site, process flows were agreed, SOPs written and the onsite training had commenced. Paperless Warehousing installed the latest version of their MR2 software based on .Net (PWNetClient) during November 2007.

“The new .Net version is fantastic. The graphs and reports you can now get help me manage the warehouse better. It gives you a better idea of KPI’s of all the staff. The reports are of great value when attending KPI meetings with our client as monthly volumes and productivity figures are only a mouse click away” said Steve.

GTS went live without an interface to the client’s host as a new host system was planned to be implemented later in the year.

Initially, all the orders were entered manually by Michael Lawrence (Inventory Supervisor) and Matt Adams (Despatch Scheduler). Sometimes entering up to 50 orders daily with hundreds of separate lines.

Other day-to-day job functions also included releasing orders with thousands of cartons needing to be picked and despatched to major customers like Woolworths, LiquorLand, ALM, ILG, Dan Murphy’s as well as hundreds of smaller retailers.

“Michael Lawrence and I made sure the inbound storage loads were also to be entered into WMS as Purchase Orders and receipted by the storemen via the RF devices. The WMS system made our jobs easy day in day out. The training, Go Live support along with the continued support from all the guys at Paperless Warehousing was fantastic.” Matt said.

Another major phase was the interface between Paperless and JDE. The Paperless WMS was required to interface with the client’s system for Sales Orders, Purchase Orders, ASN’s and Stock Reconciliations. After initial configuration and some testing, the client’s new host system was changed over to JDE on the 2nd of January.

“We no longer had to key in the Sales or Purchase Orders; this made life easier as all the information was there ready for us.” Michael and Matt said.

Currently storing between 4,000 and 6,000 pallets, receiving around 9,000 cartons per day, and picking around the same amount GTS now employs 10 store persons.

The Paperless WMS uses RF terminals across all activities within the warehouse including receipt, putaway, replenishment, picking and cycle counting. Every order picked is updating the system in real-time.

Additional despatch information like Despatch Labels, Packing Slips and if required a GS1 compliant Pallet Labels are also produced dynamically from the Paperless WMS. GTS also manages stock in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth through the one instance of Paperless.

The latest End of Financial Year stocktake was solely conducted on RF. As all the orders were completed Dave Moore and Wayne Hamilton (Warehouse Supervisors) assembled 8 store persons and commenced counting at 10:30 am. Having counted 4,500 pallets (381,181 cartons) the variance reports were run and second counts commenced. By 1 pm, the stock take was completed. The final results were posted with a 2- carton variance. “Believe it or not 1 carton up of Sangiovese, 1 carton down of Spumante” Michael Lawrence said.

“GTS are one of the market leaders in transport having implemented a GPS tracking system in all of the fleet and now have “a WMS that compliments the transport system which makes GTS a leader in Transport, Warehousing and Distribution”, Steve said.

 

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Case Study McWilliam's Family Winemakers

The word pioneer is bandied around with great flippancy nowadays. However, one of the pioneering and most successful winemaking families in the Australian industry is McWilliam’s Family Winemakers. Passed down through six generations, McWilliam’s has evolved from Samuel planting his first vines on the outskirts of Corowa, NSW in 1877 to the successful international business that it has become today.

In its 135+ years of business, McWilliam’s has developed several premium vineyards in significant Australian viticultural areas including the Hunter Valley, Hilltops and Riverina in NSW; Coonawarra in South Australia; and Margaret River in Western Australia. McWilliam’s National Logistics Manager Gary Whitehouse said the strategic expansion of the family philosophy at McWilliam’s was a big part of the company’s success.

“Throughout the last century and well into this one, McWilliam’s has branched out into the regions, brands and styles that wine lovers seek, showcasing more than 135 years of innovation and exploration,” Whitehouse commented. “In 2012 alone, McWilliam’s Wines was awarded 45 trophies and 988 medals at wines shows across Australia. The family winery is also passionate about the relationships they have formed over six generations, all important factors to ensuring future for generations to come.”

The long history of McWilliam’s is intrinsically tied to the history and development of the NSW and Australian wine industries and McWilliam’s has continued to grow throughout its history, an amazing feat for such an old company. In fact, the company’s warehouse continues to transport between 200-300 pallets per day from its warehouses. Working on the global stage since 1935, McWilliam’s is a true Australian success story.

With such huge volumes of wine being moved every day, McWilliam’s realised that they needed an advanced and experienced warehouse management system in their Chullora warehouse. Following the decision from interstate 3PL partner Bevchain to use the Paperless WMS, McWilliam’s decided to implement the system with the go-live taking place in June 2012. Whitehouse said that the reason that they decided to go with the Paperless system was due to the fact that he “liked their practical hands-on approach”.

“We currently use Bevchain as our 3PL distribution provider in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide and they implemented Paperless Warehousing so it was a natural fit for McWilliam’s to install the same process in our Chullora warehouse and distribution centre in Sydney,” Whitehouse said. “This also provides both companies with a synergy for future developments such as full integration between the Paperless Warehousing system and our host ERP system.”

“The overwhelming driver was inventory management and the opportunity to process sales orders more efficiently to meet the changing ordering patterns of our customers with smaller volume orders placed more frequently. The Board had the desire to centralise distribution to our major customers from our Chullora warehouse and distribution centre and this could not have been achieved without changes such as the racking project and Paperless Warehousing.”

The project was extensive, changing several processes in the warehouse to implement the system. The first stage of the project saw pallet racking installed throughout the warehouse, making it possible for the Paperless WMS to meet McWilliam’s picking requirements. The next step in the project involved implementation of a strategy for an efficient layout by SKU’s (Stock Keeping Units) and the creation of master files to accommodate the strategies. The third and final phase of the implementation was the training and go-live implementation. In addition to the Paperless Warehousing implementation, McWilliam’s utilised the services of Dematic, one of the providers that Paperless recommends for hardware solutions.

As a leader in the winemaking field, McWilliam’s is in a unique position as the supply chain becomes increasingly important for the growth of the business as the warehousing and logistics industry tries to keep up with the times. Whitehouse said that although the changes to the industry are not necessarily new, but there are plenty of challenges for McWilliam’s to deal with in the near future.

“Our main business is quite complex and has many challenges, including national and international supply of dry goods and consumables, a duopoly in glass supply and supplying to packaging sites around Australia and New Zealand,” Whitehouse admitted. “A large range of products and SKU’s adds complexity to our warehouse and distribution network and the changing customer behaviours, e.g. smaller volume orders, more often, creates inefficiencies within our supply chain.”

“From a domestic market perspective, growth and driving value back into the category is the main challenge and focus. Utilising insights, strong brands, innovation and putting quality first will ensure we deliver to the expectations of the consumer. Within the export market, the strong Australian dollar and pressure from global oversupply continue to be the major challenges. Ensuring we have the right distribution footprint and support in established markets while developing a presence and strategy for emerging markets will ensure future success.”

Seeking a WMS that could offer increased inventory accuracy and data integrity as well as picking efficiencies and discipline, the customisable Paperless Warehousing solution ticked all the boxes. Since implementing the WMS, the McWilliam’s DC had seen productivity improved by 10% initially, which has continued to improve as some of the processes were fine tuned. Inventory accuracy improved by 15%, with the system providing accurate data enabling McWilliam’s to control vintage changes and out of stock items. Picking accuracy also saw a 10% improvement.

“Improved inventory management and data accuracy has provided a better service level for our customers, both internally and externally,” Whitehouse said. “More efficient processes for receiving, putaway, replenishment, picking and despatch have also provided our customers with improved service levels. The overall warehouse and distribution process can now handle peaks and troughs without relying on additional resources. Maintaining good housekeeping and safety protocols has also improved from the combination of the racking project and the disciplines required by Paperless Warehousing.”

 

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Case Study Neild & Co

Created in 1994, Neild & Co. has grown to be one of the leaders in the retail, wholesale and food processor industries. Dealing predominantly with the meat industry alongside the general food trade industry, this Australian owned company was saved by directors Brian Harris and John Florin, taking the business from the brink of death to a thriving business.

Neild & Co has undergone a huge amount of change in its relatively short life, moving from a business of seven people, including Harris and Florin, who had to key in orders that arrived via fax or phone. From there, the orders were picked, packed and dispatched to their customers.

“They had approximately 200 customers and 2 trucks,” operations manager Tanya Scott said. “They [Harris and Florin] grew the business to what it is today, a fleet of 7 trucks and 1800 active customers, and a team of 37 people. John and Brian are still both actively working in the business.”

Today, Neild & Co runs the full Paperless Warehousing WMS solution, which was installed in July 2012. Since implementing the system, Scott said that there were several noticeable changes, including fewer errors, which means happier customers, as well as forcing the business to be more disciplined. Scott, who joined Neild & Co in July 2011, said that she enjoyed working with the Paperless team again.

“I have been involved installations and go lives with Paperless in my previous two roles,” Scott mentioned. “I know the team at Paperless; they are a business that will stay with you. They don’t do an installation then walk away; I consider them a partner in our business.”

“I cannot fault the business as a whole, their service and relationship with Neild & Co is second to none. We have had very few issues; I know that if we do, Paperless will be doing whatever they can do to fix it. They understand their client’s business and know how time critical working in warehouses can be.”

The complete Paperless solution offers a variety of benefits with core functionality including receiving, putaway, cross docking, picking, despatch, truck loading, and workflow management and administration modules all customised to suit the needs of the user. Scott said that these benefits had helped manage some of the challenges that come with working in the food industry.

“Neild & Co sell dry ingredients to the food industry so the recording of all Batch/UBD and rotation of stock is critical to our business,” Scott remarked. “Paperless has helped with managing this side of the business; it forces us to record all of this data. Previously, it was all manually written on pallets and manually rotated for picking. It has also become a very valuable tool for product tracking, should recall or specific product follow-up be required.”

The Neild & Co business has seen huge changes over the past 20 years when Harris and Florin took over the business. Some of Neild & Co’s vital statistics includes (as of August 2013):

  • 380 pallets per week
  • 5944 part/carton picks
  • Orders per week number 418 for the company truck fleet and 348 in freight orders
  • 75,000 kg picked per week

This has been a huge step up for a constantly growing company and the Paperless Warehousing WMS has assisted the company in moving to a digital model for their warehouse and product management.

Overall, Scott said that there were several key benefits that the Paperless system offered that Neild & Co has seen. Firstly, Scott said that the Paperless system had helped the company become more efficient and organised in the warehouse. Scott also said that it was easier to train new team members as they weren’t required to memorise product locations, but it also makes the team accountable as all movements and picks are monitored by the system. She said that this meant that the workflow is continuous and controlled on a daily basis.

Other benefits that the Paperless WMS have given Neild & Co include:

  • All movements are traceable and in real time
  • Error rate has reduced dramatically over the past year
  • More orders/customers without additional cost to the business
  • More efficient office environment, giving the office team more time with customers on the phone
  • The above efficiencies have translated into greatly reduced overtime expenses

Supplying “everything you would see in a butcher shop except the meat”, Neild & Co has brought on some major chains as customers including Peters Meats, a company with over 50 years of experience in the meat market; Joe’s, Prime Quality Meats and several mid-sized processing companies. As well as that, the company has created close connections and co-operation with similar companies to start a buying and networking group.

Having worked at several large companies previously, Scott said that Neild & Co presented a great opportunity to continue her career progression.

“I decided to move to Neild & Co as I was seeking a new challenge, I had achieved everything that I had set out to do in my previous role,” Scott explained. “Neild & Co wanted to continue to grow which I thought was exciting considering that they have already been trading for 20 years.

“My strength is implementing and managing change and I could see that Neild & Co would benefit from this, I knew that it would be challenging but very rewarding at the same time. I am passionate about change and stretching people to their full potential and taking a team through that journey to make the business more efficient and profitable.”

 

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Case Study Montague DR

Montague Cold Storage is a division of the Montague Group, a company that was established in 1948. 10 years after the company was created, the first Cold Storage centre was built in Narre Warren North in Victoria. While this is the spiritual home of the Montague Group, there are another five sites the company has acquired over the years.

When Paperless Warehousing was implemented as the company’s new warehouse management system (WMS) over 10 years ago, Montague Cold Storage has proved to be an innovative and forward thinking company. This has been shown best by the advanced disaster recovery system that has been implemented by the company, ensuring the Paperless Warehousing WMS at Montague Cold Storage system has an uptime of 99.9% for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

In June 2007, Patrick Leckning, at that time the Business Systems Manager, approached senior management at the Montague Group with a “conceptual solution to promote a decentralised ‘total’ Disaster Recovery environment for 3rd Party Logistics provider Montague Cold Storage”.

“Many months followed which involved extensive planning and justification to gain approval for this investment to manage a mission critical Paperless Warehousing WMS for the company’s seven active sites operating on an around the clock basis,” Leckning said. “At first, the investment was met with a fair degree of scepticism and negativity internally since it was perceived as being similar to an insurance policy and unnecessary cost impost. This mindset had to be changed and the Board had to be convinced otherwise.”

In December 2008, Leckning and Montague Cold Storage deployed seven IBM AIX P520 file servers over a six month period, replacing Windows 2003 servers that had been physically located at each site. The Windows system previously offered no redundancy while requiring regular maintenance of anti-virus, Windows updates and constant rebooting of the system. With the new servers placed in three major sites in separate locations spaced around 200 metres apart, it has allowed the Montague Group to set up a replication system that will offer an innovative disaster recovery option.

The primary file server at each location replicates to the secondary file server in real-time with millisecond delay. The company has also installed an additional larger file replication server on an independent centralised site to provide a second tier of replication, receiving a real-time replication of all site’s production database using a separate ISP network. Alongside other built-in server hardware redundancy items such as Uninterruptible Power Supplies, hot-swappable RAID drives and tape backups, the environment is in place in the event of a production server failure at the site level. It will allow the system to failover by swapping to site based disaster recovery file servers simply by changing the Ethernet Adapter IP address using a predefined static address. Overall, this is a manual procedure for the Montagues Cold Storage warehouses. This is due to management wanting to be involved if and when a disaster recovery failover is needed. This ensures that the Paperless Warehousing WMS, among other things, is always operational in Montagues Cold Storage Warehouses.

“This DR environment has worked exceptionally well and Montague Cold Storage has therefore enjoyed the fruits of a cast-iron hardware platform and operating system over the past five odd years,” Leckning said. “Site management no longer need to worry about system issues or unplanned shutdowns due to unforeseen events such as locked files, failed print queues or computer viruses. The UNIX environment is much more robust and steadfast. As an aside, the IBM AIX hardware is actually so reliable that subject to extended warranty and available spare parts, the system can operate reliably for a number of years.”

In the event of a total site disaster, the independent centralised server is to be used during the disaster recovery process. It is a business continuity measure to allow enough time to retrieve records and to continue operating via remote access. The replication software also produces email alerts in the events that the replication process is interrupted or stalls. The system is also monitored by Paperless Warehousing support staff and Montague IT staff as part of routine housekeeping, which will ensure that any weaknesses in the servers is identified quickly and will hopefully avoid unnecessary downtime by ensuring the health of the system overall.

Paperless Warehousing’s General Manager Scott Symons said that it was an honour to be a part of the development of such an advanced system that offers so much in terms of disaster recovery. He said the Montagues system would rival or better anything at a billion dollar company or a large government department and Paperless Warehousing was proud of its involvement in the project.

“Patrick and his team at Montague have done an incredible job with this innovative disaster recovery system,” Symons said. “It’s a lot like insurance for the company; it’s something you hope you’re never going to need to use but it’s great to have if something does go wrong. This level of IT infrastructure is incredible and reveals Montague Cold Storage as a truly forward-thinking company. It allows them to ensure that they can constantly serve their clients and gives anyone who works with Montagues peace of mind.”

 

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Case Study Snack Brands Australia

Although a relatively young brand, Snack Brands Australia has already had an enormous stamp in the snack food market in Australia. Originally born out of The Smith’s Snackfood Company, Snack Brands was created in 2008. Snack Brands now encompasses CC’s, Thins, Kettle Chips, the Natural Chip Company, Cheezels, Chickadees, French Fries, Jumpy’s and Samboy, producing four million packets of chips per week (200 million per year).

As such a short term success story, Paperless has been working with Snack Brands as its warehouse management system since day one back in 2008. In fact, Paperless has been involved with Snack Brands in previous iterations way back to 1994, which is over 21 years.

However, over the past year, Paperless and Snack Brands have been working on the implementation of a new Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) project and their 13,000 pallet capacity distribution centre at Smithfield.

New Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) project implementation

Following several years of project and business case evaluation, Snack Brands Australia approved a complex Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) project. Snack Brands initiated the project in order to improve its supply chain efficiency as well as increasing the warehouse automation in its biggest warehouse by implementing AGVs to replace most existing forklift activity.

Snack Brands were conscious of the size and scope of the project, as such spent a considerable time up front working through the requirements and business case to ensure that the project would be a success. This project would take over a year to implement but has fully automated Snack Brands warehousing workflow, increasing operational efficiency at the Smithfield site.

Snack Brands identified a key condition of the project was ensuring that the Paperless Warehousing Group WMS would be fully integrated with the AGV system. Paperless created an interface between AGV supplier NDC Automation and the Paperless WMS to ensure the continued smooth management of Snack Brands warehouse operations. The Snack Brands team also ruled out any changes to integration between the Paperless Warehousing Group and upstream ERP Dynamic AX, a guideline that was successfully integrated into the project.

If implementing AGVs into the warehouse wasn’t enough, the cross functional project team, was also tasked with implementing two Roll On Roll Off (RoRo) conveyors to efficiently transport pallets from the factory to warehouse. These were also required to be integrated into the final solution.

WalkerScott is a company whose main purpose is to apply technology to improve business processes in companies. WalkerScott were engaged to lead the Systems Integration Workstream and Paperless worked closely with the company as well as all other companies involved in the integration (Snack Brands Operations and IT, Linfox (3PL) Warehouse Operations, NDC Automation, ICA Australia and Sage Automation) to ensure the interface works effectively.

The project was a long-term integration and Paperless was integral for major part of the integration lifecycle over the year, including:

  • Running business requirement workshops with Snack Brands internal stakeholders and external vendors.
  • Documentation of interfaces
  • Upgrade of Paperless Warehouse Management system to support SOAP Web Services.
  • Designing test and training plans.
  • Onsite commissioning and operational support.
  • Delivery of hourly productivity reporting.

This was an extremely challenging project in all aspects as the technology was pushed to the extreme. Everyone learnt a lot and overcame many challenges to realise the vision of fully automating all warehouse movements.

As the Paperless Warehousing Group’s WMS division already controls the day-to-day warehouse management of the Smithfield site, the AGV integration has added another level to the supply chain automation of the Snack Brands DC.

Following the integration, the first time a pallet is physically handled by any system other than the AGV is when a forklift driver loads the pallet onto the truck to be delivered to the customer. This level of automation has resulted in a reduction in warehousing costs, a significant shift from variable to known fixed costs and improvement in afternoon and night shift productivity.

 

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