MRO Supplier Fast-Tracks MH Retrofits

Oct. 11, 2010
Fortna and MSC Industrial Direct Co. teamed to streamline, retrofit and coordinate material handling systems in three MSC Customer Fulfillment Centers (CFCs). MSC, one the top U.S. distributors and direct marketers of metalworking and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) supplies, wanted a repeatable model for upgrading operations, processes and systems. This project coincides with MSC’s recent acquisition of J&L Industrial Supply, whose supply chain processes and inventory were integrated into the new designs. Fortna managed project risk and coordinated with a variety of vendor partners.

MSC's Optimization Project is a company-wide best practices initiative intended to reduce distribution costs, improve customer service and reduce order cycle time. The company distributes more than 600,000 different products from approximately 3,000 suppliers through its sales force, master catalog, promotional mailings, telemarketing and the Internet. Their products range from fasteners and measuring instruments to cutting tools and plumbing supplies and they serve more than 300,000 customers.

Fortna’s warehouse control software (FortnaWCS) manages material handling systems via a web-based user interface. It also provides visibility into processes in real-time and offers flexibility to balance workloads with a real-time dashboard for floor activities.

“MSC and Fortna started with a proof of concept and have partnered to implement enhanced systems and processes, making the planned benefit a reality,” said Doug Jones, EVP, Global Supply Chain Operations at MSC Industrial. “This project has successfully delivered on all objectives and also came in on-schedule and below budget. Our customers didn't even realize that we had switched over to a new system.”

Fortna and MSC have now completed supply chain optimization projects in three of MSC’s four U.S. Customer Fulfillment locations: Harrisburg, PA, Atlanta, GA and Elkhart, IN.