Case Study: Warehouse Management System – Dexter
Established in 1956, Dexter Shoe currently operates 77 retail outlets throughout New England, New York,and New Jersey. Dexter Shoe manufactures and distributes rugged recreational footwear, golf and bowling shoes,and comfort casual shoes for men and women,. Dexter Shoe also supplies a national and international wholesale market from its 485,000 square foot shoe complex in Dexter, Maine.
Since being acquired by H.H. Brown, a Warren Buffet company, Dexter Shoe has been actively searching for improved efficiencies by increasing warehouse capacity and reducing cost by increasing the utilization of staff and equipment. The H.H. Brown team was interested in creating a multi-division distribution center (each existing divisional warehouse was capable of distributing only it’s own product line) which would allow consolidation, and in turn, require less warehouse facilities. Due to it’s large capacity and existing conveyor automation, Dexter Shoe was chosen as the site for the new consolidated center.
Dexter Shoe Objectives:
- Design and implement a multi-division capable warehouse management system.
- Develop software to replace the` existing warehouse system as well as facilitate cost and efficiency recommendations.
- Build communication software to integrate with their automated conveyor systems and customized Pitney Bowes shipping system.
- Replace obsolete hand held devices with interactive, radio frequency hand held scanners.
- Implement solutions to eliminate pre-printed forms and consolidate multiple forms and labels.
- Seamlessly integrate new warehouse system with H.H. Brown’s existing allocation and billing system.
- Research and implement bar code scanning enhancements to improve the efficiency of order process.
Working with both Dexter Shoe and H.H. Brown personnel, ISG conducted a thorough analysis of the content, strengths and weaknesses of Dexter’s existing warehouse system. This information, combined with additional functional requirements gathered during research trips to other distribution and manufacturing divisions, was consolidated to form the design and project plan for the new Warehouse Management System. ISG also conducted the research to select the development languages, hand held devices, communication technology and forms tools. The final design document included a comprehensive hardware and software plan for a new Warehouse Management System that would leverage existing warehouse functions with new systems that provided the flexibility, functionality and efficiencies as outlined by H.H. Brown’s corporate team. Key components of Dexter Shoe’s new WMS system include:
- Single warehouse storage of multi-division inventory with divisional reporting capabilities.
- User defined location types for primary pick, flow racks, pallet storage, backup case storage, and operational areas such as packing, labeling, and shipping.
- Random put away of backup cases.
- Intelligent conveyor routing utilizing user defined route maps.
- Dynamic replenishment algorithms to allow volume picking from temporary flow rack locations(to avoid constant replenishment).
- Multi-order totes used to consolidate multiple pick slips into more efficient picking operations.
- Multiple single line order consolidation to full cases when possible. Allows full cases to be sent directly to packing for subsequent individual order fulfillment.
- Warehouse operations conducted via wireless hand held scanners. Applications include picking, packing, labeling, receiving, case pull, case put away, cycle count, physical inventory, and various inquiry programs.
- Create custom labeling programs using forms generation tools. Additional forms include various packing lists and VICS Bill of Lading.
- Integrated interface to H.H. Brown’s order allocation and billing system.
Dexter Shoe has successfully converted to the new Warehouse Management System designed and built by The Integrated Solution Group. Three weeks after the conversion to the new system, Dexter Shoe was receiving and shipping shoes for H.H. Brown’s Carolina Shoe division. In accordance with the corporate plan, H.H. Brown personnel are currently transferring all Carolina Shoe merchandise to Dexter Shoe’s Maine warehouse complex. Other product lines are also being considered for consolidation at Dexter Shoe. The final result will be improved efficiencies through volume and operational consolidation, while maximizing the utilization of Dexter Shoe’s facilities and allowing disposition of excess H.H. Brown real estate in other parts of the country.
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