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

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in October at 135.7 (2000=100) was up 1.9 percent compared to September’s 133.1, and the ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment was 139.8 in October, which was 0.9 percent ahead of September.

The average price per gallon of diesel gasoline fell 3.7 cents to $2.445 per gallon, according to data issued today by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). This marks the lowest weekly price for diesel since June 1, 2009, when it was at $2.352 per gallon.

In its report, entitled “Grey is the new Black,” JLL takes a close look at supply chain-related trends that can influence retailers’ approaches to Black Friday.

This year, it's all about the digital supply network. In this virtual conference, we will define the challenges currently facing supply chain organizations and offer solutions designed to transform linear operations into dynamic, automated networks that offer seamless communication, visibility, and the ability to respond and optimize processes at any given time.

In his opening comments assessing the economy at last week’s RailTrends conference hosted by Progressive Railroading magazine and independent railroad analyst Tony Hatch, FTR Senior analyst Larry Gross said the economy continues to slog ahead at a relatively tepid pace, coupled with some volatility in terms of overall GDP growth. And amid that slogging, Gross said there is currently an economic hand-off occurring between the industrial sector and the consumer sector.


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