Formica Group, the largest manufacturer of high pressure laminate (HPL) and a worldwide provider of branded, design coordinated surfacing solutions, which this year celebrates its 100th anniversary, has chosen the ‘AIDC-WHM’ warehouse management system (WMS) to run its new, 50,000 ft. UK storage and distribution operation in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. "We needed a WMS that would automate our warehousing operation, speed decision making, optimise inventory management across 6,000 locations and fully integrate with our ERP system, now and in the future" says Formica Group European logistics manager Lee Edwards. "AIDC-WHM ticked those boxes, and unlike the other WMS systems we reviewed did not require reprogramming to meet our specialised picking requirements. We expect to achieve a rapid return on our investment".
Newton Aycliffe is also home to one of two Formica Group UK production plants. AIDC-WHM will be fully integrated with the company’s ERP ‘BPCS’ business planning and control system, processing the final shop orders from manufacturing to complete the production process. AIDC-WHM can exchange information with other business functions including logistics, production and planning.
Formica Group’s modern warehouse environment will use radio frequency (RF) mobile technology including handheld terminals to improve picking, put-away and on-the-spot warehouse decision making – a priority for the company. AIDC-WHM supports all makes and models of handheld terminal, enabling immediate updates of Formica’s ERP system from the point of action.
Commenting on Formica Group’s decision, AIDC Solutions operations director David Myers says: "Our custom-off-the-shelf (COTS) WMS technology uses fast, flexible, smart system building blocks that allow our WMS to be fully attuned to the user’s business rules, processes and priorities – but at a significantly lower, packaged software price. AIDC-WHM can also capture more supply chain information than other WMS systems."
AIDC-WHM has been developed for use by all manufacturing, distribution and third party logistics organisations. Its technology is open and can be integrated with all enterprise applications, including SAP and other leading ERP systems. AIDC-WHM runs in Windows or UNIX but can be easily integrated to back-office systems running on any platform. It is suitable for single and multi-site organisations, both national and international, providing full multi-lingual capability. It can be deployed standalone or interface to other business functions.
Thanks to its underlying technology, the TransitionWorks™ rapid application development platform, AIDC-WHM can be fully user defined with no limits, say AIDC. This gives an organisation the flexibility to define its warehouse processes in line with changing needs to optimise its efficiency, including the ability to prioritise and zone storage areas. Warehouse locations can be specified at multiple levels and defined using multiple parameters, with best storage based on pre-defined rules where needed.
The system automatically identifies the best picking routes for speedier order fulfilment, while barcoding and mobile terminals increase the speed and accuracy of picking and put-away. AIDC-WHM also supports voice picking.
AIDC-WHM provides a complete view of all inventory and enables items to be tracked internally and throughout the supply chain, with no limit to the number of serial or batch numbers that can be generated. Load planning and verification plus support for automated ASN (abstract syntax notation) messaging guarantees compliance with the strictest customer service requirements.