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Book distribution specialist NBN International implement Warehouse Management System from Solarsoft

NBN International (NBN), a leading book distribution specialist, is to implement a new Warehouse Management System from Solarsoft, to significantly improve the accuracy of its operations in both incoming and outgoing deliveries, with the aim of reducing errors and increasing productivity.

The implementation of the Solarsoft system, which will be rolled out in stages across the business, will move the business from manual, paper-based processes to an automated environment that is easier to use and maintain. The implementation of the Solarsoft system also helps to significantly improve the company’s warehouse management, stock control and financial management.

NBN International is a service-oriented book distributor based in Plymouth, providing a combination of warehousing, order fulfilment and credit and collection services to UK, European and North American publishers. The business works with independent publishers and they distribute to customers of all sizes from private individuals to large retailers such as Waterstones and Amazon. With an average of 1000 orders being processed each day and a warehouse with over 3.5 million units of stock, it is essential that picking is timely and accurate.

However, it became apparent that the company was in need of a system to provide real-time visibility of stock levels and an automated picking verification process, as demands from the larger customers to reduce lead times meant that the error rate started to creep up.

Ian Wordsworth, IT and Operations Director at NBN says, "Our current picking process is manual and paper-based and pickers visually check that each order is correct, which can often leave us open to errors. With such a high volume of orders and the pressure from our customers to reduce lead times, we started to see an increase in the number of picking errors – clearly an untenable situation. Picking errors and the subsequent re-picks cost time and money – not to mention our reputation. By opting for an automated system with Solarsoft, we are hoping to save a substantial amount of time and money by reducing the risk of picking errors down to zero, whilst also improving on our already excellent customer service."

Wordsworth continues, "Another major benefit that the Solarsoft system will provide is that it enables the company to have far more control over both inbound and outbound activity in the warehouse. At the moment, the inbound delivery procedure involves manual administration by staff, again meaning there is a significant chance of items being mistakenly put in the wrong place. With barcode scanning, these errors will become virtually non-existent as the handheld devices will instantly tell you if a unit is incorrectly placed."

Wordsworth concludes, "With the ever increasing demands from today’s Book Industry supply chain, it is vital that we have a system in place that will ensure a near zero error rate We are confident that Solarsoft’s WMS solution can give us increased accuracy and efficiency throughout our warehouse operation, and give us a real-time picture of our business performance – which is something that we do not currently have."

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