Warehouse Management Software Brings Clarity to Glass Fulfillment
Cardinal Glass, a provider of insulated and window-qualityglass, is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The company operates 10production facilities in the U.S. and employs more than 2,000 people.
In mid-1999, late deliveries and inaccurate shipping ordersthreatened the relationship between Cardinal Glass and its largest customer— Andersen Windows, a leading window manufacturer. Cardinal Glass had anERP system that couldn’t keep pace with the increased orders for AndersenWindows. As Andersen’s sole supplier, Cardinal Glass knew it needed tomake quick improvements in its order fulfillment.
Finished products from four Cardinal manufacturing plants(one each in Iowa and Minnesota, and two in Wisconsin) feed Cardinal’s75,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center in Amery, Wisconsin. TheAmery warehouse now delivers insulated glass (IG) just in time toAndersen’s assembly plant about 40 miles away.
Workers at the Amery distribution facility use three lifttrucks and nine handheld radio frequency terminals to scan and pick from amongmore than 1,000 different IG SKUs. Cardinal Glass typically delivers itsproducts within two to four hours after order receipt, with half-hour deliveryrequired for some orders. Picking the right product is particularly challengingfor workers since many SKUs are identical in size and shape; the onlydifference is a coating applied to the glass.
Cardinal replaced its warehouse software with WarehouseAdvantage Suite software from HighJump Software. Cardinal chose the softwarebecause of its adaptable, tool-kit approach. It’s a Web-enabled warehousemanagement system that provides accurate, real-time data across the enterprise.
The software integrated easily into Cardinal’sexisting operations and has streamlined many fulfillment procedures. The systemhandles receiving, inspection, picking, shipping and inventory management. Itlets Andersen place orders electronically, resulting in a mostly paperlessprocess for Cardinal.
Automatic identification with bar code scanning makespicking and shipping glass panes easier and more accurate. The Windows-basedWMS now gives Cardinal complete control over its warehouse managementoperations — helping reduce errors, increase on-time delivery and improveits relationship with an important customer. Shipment defects to Andersen havedropped from an average of 9 percent to under one-half of one percent — a20-fold improvement.
Other qualitative benefits include improved worker moraleand reduced worker turnover. Since the WMS and automatic identification areeasy to use, the learning curve for new warehouse workers is shorter. Cardinalfinds the biggest intangible benefit is improved customer relationships.
HighJump Software, e-mail to [email protected]