Fulfillment software leads to 100% accuracy, new services

A customer’s internal audit double-checked results to confirm perfect reports.
By Josh Bond, Senior Editor
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.

Cadre Technologies

More Technology Coverage

More from Modern’s 2012 Casebook

About the Author

Josh Bond
Senior Editor

Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

As was the case a month ago, the Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates is calling for annual import cargo volume gains at United States ports, as retailers gear up for the holiday season.

More than nine months after saying it was not for sale, Long Beach Calif.-based non asset-based third-party logistics (3PL) services provider UTi Worldwide has apparently changed its tune, with the company saying it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Denmark-based global 3PL DSV for $1.35 billion and $7.10 per share.

September carloads—at 1,417,750—were down 4.9 percent—or 72,597 carloads— annually, and intermodal—at 1,365,980 trailers and containers—was up 1.2 percent—or 16,272 trailers and containers.

Slowing global trade and a bloated orderbook of large vessel capacity mean that container shipping is set for another three years of overcapacity and financial pain, according to the latest Container Forecaster report published by global shipping consultancy Drewry.

The NRF is calling for 2015 holiday sales to see a 3.7 percent annual gain to $630.5 billion, which comfortably outpaces the ten-year average of 2.5 percent.


Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.