Case Study: Bar Coded Inventory/Distribution System – Sullivans


sullivans1Established in 1972, Sullivans Incorporated is the world’s largest distributor of HJC motorcycle helmets and Joe Rocket riding apparel. Due to Sullivans premier product selection, their annual sales have increased 20% per year. New warehouses in Alabama, Nevada, and Dallas, combined with the original warehouse in Massachusetts, gave Sullivans two day shipping coverage for most of the United States.

As volumes increased, each warehouse was requiring more labor and shipping costs to meet the customer demand. Increased volume also resulted in more costly mistakes. The Integrated Solution Group, which has a 15 year relationship with Sullivans was contracted to review the existing inventory and shipping process, and to design, develop and implement a comprehensive new database driven warehouse processing system.

Sullivans Objectives:

  • Evaluate all of the existing warehouses for logistics planning, inventory management and shipping methods.
  • Research, recommend and Implement Bar code scanning capabilities to improve efficiency of order fulfillment.
  • Increase the speed of invoice printing and reduce the overall costs.
  • Eliminate existing lease packages and obsolete equipment.
  • Integrate the new systems with customer service.
  • Improve the slow, error prone procedure of entering invoices.
  • Reduce shipping time to allow for increased volume requirements.

ISG Solution:

The initial phase of the project involved a detailed logistics analysis of Sullivans warehouses. ISG developed a systems methodology that included bar code scanning. Existing product bar code information was cataloged and files were built to link these codes to Sullivan’s inventory.

The next step was the evaluation, selection, and implementation of a forms management tool to improve the efficiency. The solution ISG used eliminated the need for slow dot matrix printers and pre-printed forms. The system stored all of the existing forms electronically, thereby eliminating the need for handling and filing of invoices. Server based fax software allowed for agent initiated automatic faxing from each desktop.

Next up was the selection of shipping software capable of being integrated with the new automation software. After review and testing of several shipping solutions, ISG recommended UPS Worldship because of its low cost, flexible interface and the processing consistency it would allow among all four warehouses.

The final step was to build a new internal shipping system. ISG developed a system where cartons were labeled with unique license plates and were assigned to orders. Inventory items were then scanned and validated. Since these license plates had all the relevant order information, the need for manual data entry for invoices was eliminated. The system also significantly increased throughput on the shipping lines with virtual elimination of errors.

ISG then built a custom interface to UPS Worldship, to allow for special features such as special billing charges, oversize carton notification, and collection of tracking numbers, weights and shipping charges. This system was then integrated with customer service. Real-time access to packing/shipping status, tracking numbers and package contents were added to the agents monitor.

Sullivans Estimated Savings:

Elimination of pre-printed forms and manual faxing – 100K
Implementation and customization of UPS Worldship – 50K
Improvement in warehouse logistics – 100K
Reduction in fraud and extra shipments – 25K

Additional benefits included the ability to cross train all shipping personnel, shipping errors reduced to less than 0.01%, and increased customer satisfaction.

Contact ISG today to find out how our Custom Barcode Software can increase accuracy, enhance productivity, and improve the operating efficiency of your warehouse.