Fulfillment software leads to 100% accuracy, new services
October 22, 2011 - MMH Editorial
Sonwil Distribution, a third-generation, third-party logistics company in Buffalo, N.Y., has a reputation for providing efficient, cost-effective warehousing and transportation. But as the company grew, occasional fulfillment mistakes were inevitable with all of the paperwork and manpower required to complete orders. When customers’ expectations and demands began to change, the company deployed a new warehouse management system (WMS) that allowed Sonwil to increase order fulfillment while reducing staff.
The new system manages up to 1,600 orders per day. The company has automated its pick and pack process, allowing the system to print packing and shipping labels and record inventory inside pallets without human involvement. This process has led to a 100% error-free fulfillment rate for two of Sonwil’s most active clients. In fact, one of them was recently audited, and the audit team went back through the company’s books for a second time because they couldn’t believe that the physical inventory and electronic data matched perfectly.
The company’s reporting capabilities have also improved, with the ability to print or send reports by the end of the phone call in which they were requested.
“In this industry, you have to grow or get out,” explains Peter Wilson, vice president of Sonwil Distribution. “We now have a WMS that allows us to compete with other tier one players. After seeing what it’s capable of, it makes me wonder what else is possible.”
The WMS has also allowed Sonwil to develop a specialized niche: reverse logistics. Because Sonwil’s retail customers experience a 5% to 10% return rate on merchandise, the new WMS enables Sonwil to accept returns on behalf of its customers by scanning the product bar codes and recording the transaction in the system.
In fact, the system has positioned Sonwil to provide the value-added service of refurbishing the returned items for certain clients.
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