Kunzler & Company, Inc., a producer of more than 500 meat products, has implemented a warehouse management system (WMS) at its two distribution centers. The solution, provided by Catalyst International Inc., includes a warehouse design, logistics and reconfiguration strategy that has enabled Kunzler to increase storage capacity at its Lancaster facility by 35 percent. Kunzler also has greatly improved lot tracking, labor efficiency, space utilization and inventory rotation for its date-sensitive products.
Before adopting the WMS solution, Kunzler had "significant labor inefficiencies while trying to 'make space' once we hit 85% space utilization," explains Ron Fink, Kunzler's operations manager. "In addition, we were not effectively rotating stock because we could not find the correct dates or the product was inaccessible. Three months after going live with Catalyst we were working at 95% space utilization without any space-related rotation problems.
"We not only gained approximately 500 pallets of added capacity with our warehouse reconfiguration, but, with our WMS, we don't have to use outside storage facilities prematurely," Fink adds. "These efficiencies have saved us significant dollars in outside storage costs."
As part of its solution, Catalyst designed a new facility layout, developed detailed Standard Operating Procedures, and recommended and supervised construction of a new racking system. Catalyst consultants also trained employees in new best practices warehouse procedures as well as in how to use the new software.
The CatalystCommand WMS interfaces with Kunzler's ERP system to give company executives a real-time view of inventory, capacity and key operational performance metrics. In just a few months, Kunzler has been able to achieve these additional benefits:
- "Traceability" of all product lots.
- Elimination of the need for weekly physical inventories that was necessary in the past due to the lack of lot separation.
- Greater control by the quality department over the "hold system" to facilitate its micro-testing of all products prior to shipment
- Improved First-In, First-Out (FIFO) product rotation, especially important given the relatively brief shelf-life of some meat products.
The WMS has enabled Kunzler to be more proactive in its project and logistics planning. The WMS' wave planning function, for example, has resulted in higher fill rates on customer shipments, which in turn has resulted in better customer service. Kunzler also can more accurately track shipments between its warehouses in Lancaster, Pa., and Tyrone, Pa., since it now prints Advanced Shipping Notices (ASNs) for internal orders.