USA Cycling Manages Assets using Software-as-a-Service Warehouse Management System
Fifteen months ago USA Cycling decided to trade in its manual inventory management system and roll into an on-demand WMS. Today, this fluid organization is now tracking the movement of all of its equipment, clothing, and nutritional goods around the world.
Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling is the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States, including road, track, mountain bike, BMX and cyclo-cross.
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Keeping track of bikes, wheels, clothing, and equipment as the items travel across the globe is no easy task. Just ask Gregory Cross, director of logistics and operations for USA Cycling in Colorado Springs. Up until last year, Cross and his team used a manual system to manage those and other race-related items as they traveled between the organization’s headquarters and its locations in Chula Vista, Calif., Belgium, and Italy.
“From our headquarters in Colorado Springs, we were always trying to figure out how much clothing we needed to have in Belgium and Italy and where to pull those items from,” says Cross. “We also loan out a lot of stuff to riders—bikes and wheels—and keeping track of those items as they traveled around the globe was an ongoing challenge for us.”
USA Cycling’s manual system was inefficient at best. “It wasn’t unusual for us to get a call from a rider in Europe, asking us what we wanted him to do with a set of racing wheels that he’d had for a few months because we’d lost track of them,” recalls Cross, whose department is charged with distributing the cycling gear to the group’s 66,000 members who participate in 2,600 racing events annually.
“We were basically trading spreadsheets around with one another,” says Cross, who moved into his current position in January 2009. “My first big assignment was a general ‘house cleaning’ of the inventory and the implementation of a system for tracking all of this equipment, clothing, and nutritional goods across our many users.”
On your mark…
Organized in 1920 as the Amateur Bicycle League of America, USA Cycling also licenses coaches, officials, and mechanics; has over 2,200 affiliated clubs and teams; and is represented nationwide by 34 local associations. And up until mid-2009, the logistics team used spreadsheets to record the distribution and return of the items and then shared the information with other employees via e-mail.
In early-2009, USA Cycling, the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the U.S. (including road, track, mountain bike, BMX, and cyclo-cross), made a conscious decision to bring its inventory management system into the new millennium.
Cross kicked off the vendor selection process by holding several brainstorming sessions with key management members and employees, all of whom surveyed the various WMS and point-of-sale systems available on the market.
“We even considered some custom options that we could program ourselves,” recalls Cross. Members of the organization’s “athletic” department (versus its organizational side) also played an integral role in the selection process. “We talked to quite a few of the coaches and found out what they wanted and needed,” says Cross. “We also worked closely with our director of athletics to brainstorm ideas and figure out how we wanted this system to behave and operate.”
In the end, the organization decided on RedPrairie’s on-demand warehouse management system. Cross says that the customization offered by the system, along with its ease of use, sold him on the solution. “We wanted a web-based system that didn’t require terminal systems or need to be hardwired to a database,” he says. “They laid everything out in a way that really worked for us.”
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About the AuthorBridget McCrea, Editor Bridget McCrea is a Contributing Editor for Logistics Management based in Clearwater, Fla. She has covered the transportation and supply chain space since 1996 and has covered all aspects of the industry for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. She can be reached at [email protected], or on Twitter @BridgetMcCrea
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