Gardner, the leading distributor of outdoor power equipment, needed to reduce operational costs and improve customer service. After having a bad experience with a previous vendor, Gardner wanted to be thorough and selective in choosing a software provider. They considered multiple warehouse management system (WMS) vendors and narrowed the search down to five contenders. After a lengthy evaluation process, Gardner ultimately selected the Exacta warehouse management system, which enabled the company to reduce dock-to-stock time of inventory by 50 percent.
An employee makes a pick using an RF gun.
From a receiving side of life, we were looking to streamline the process, get faster turn times from dock to stock, and get tighter inventory control management. With the receiving itself, the turn times for most receipts are within 24-48 hours, where before it was a 3 to 5 day average. So we have definitely picked up days from dock to stock.
For the most part, the operators love it now that they’re familiar with the system, and they got by the beginning phases where they were learning the process. The toughest challenge that most people had to get away from was they were use to a paper-based life. Now that they’re in an RF world, they’re adapting to it quickly.
Where we’re standing at is the receiving area itself. Essentially that is the first introduction of the product into the building. At that point, folks are unloading, and they’re grabbing pack lists of different natures to do their check-off of the product itself. It’s more of a paperless process given that all the information is in the Exacta system.
They are scanning the product, which is then pulling up what available POs are for and then based off the pack slip itself, selecting the correct or appropriate PO, which takes them to the item. They are doing a physical count, making sure the correct amount of pieces have come in–match the pack slip itself—and then perform their receipt for putaway.
Barcode labels for outbound shipping containers
Where we’re standing at now is in our pick module itself. This is the first point of introduction of a sales order to the pick system. The orders will come out of the office itself. They go through a single-point tote association, where you marry the order up to the tote itself, and then at the point, that tote is moved into the first pick zone that’s expected. The operator will essentially take an RF gun, they scan the outside tote number which is married to the sales order, and then at that point, it takes over and directs them where they’re picking it from, what they’re picking, and how many.
Where we’re standing at now is the final step of the shipping process itself. All orders go through a pack-out process, so at some point the conveyor will dump it out at the last piece of the puzzle, which is the QA, quality assurance area. And at that point, the person will take the tote, which has all the items that have already been picked out of the pick process. First thing is they’re scanning the order number to identify what they’re doing, and then they’re placing each item into that QA, confirming that item number and quantity. Once that’s all been achieved, at that point they’re boxing it up and then air billing it and sending it out the door.
- More than a 50% reduction in dock-to-stock times
- Increase in inventory accuracy
- Reduced order processing times
- Reduction in shipping errors and return volume
See the full case study here: Gardner Improves Operations with Exacta WMS