Happy holidays are on the way for warehouses with harmonized data
December 7, 2016
By Duncan Angove, Infor president
Whether you do your holiday shopping in-store, online, or a little bit of both, it’s likely that most of your purchases will pass through a warehouse before arriving—at the exact time and place you designate. With omni-channel commerce evolving into “ambient commerce,” and consumers finding options to buy any time and wherever they are, there’s more pressure than ever on distribution centers to deliver the goods.
Some are preparing by ramping up staffing. Amazon announced plans to hire 20% more seasonal warehouse employees than it did in 2015. But for most distributors, increasing staff is only part of the solution. Those workers need faster and easier access to information that is unified and always up-to-date so that they can offer the best customer experience possible. And to ensure profitability, their managers need the operational visibility to identify and resolve inefficiencies.
Outdated applications and disparate systems don’t provide the real-time insights this accelerated market demands. “You can imagine what it is like to handle four warehouses with a lot of paper-work on non-integrated IT-systems,” says Karel Schnock, executive director at PDC Logistics. In order to streamline processes, increase quality assurance, and deliver an improved experience, the company integrated its customer relationship management (CRM) and warehouse management systems (WMS) on the Infor Supply Chain Execution (SCE) suite.
Since the implementation, the company has cut its claim rate for damaged shipments in half to 0.02%—one of the lowest in the industry. In addition to the uptick in quality assurance, “productivity increased, stock reliability went up, efficiency got higher, and our business was growing,” Schnock says, adding that because of integration with WMS, “we could manage that growth.”
Another Infor customer neatly expresses the stark difference between a healthy IT infrastructure and an out of shape one. “We can’t let our ERP be an anchor. It’s got to become a sail,” says David White, president of Kyana Packaging, a second-generation family-owned industrial supplier. He credits Infor Distribution SX.e with keeping his company competitive in the present day—and the suite’s capacity to harmonize data is a key factor in its success.
At Kyana, SX.e integrates with Total Warehouse Logistics and Infor CRM. Operating in sync, the suite has enabled the business to handle inventory more efficiently, use analytics to anticipate customer’s replenishment needs, and communicate consistent pricing and freight information. “It’s interesting how much that changes the dynamics of working with our clients,” White says, “because we’re all talking from one version of the same story.”
The only story holiday gift givers want to hear is the one that ends with their packages in the right place, and on time. And the ones who will get to tell that story are distributors whose IT systems and business processes are working in perfect harmony.