Polyflor are one of the first to use the excellent BEC eSmart data capture system to eliminate data re-entry completely. The system has also improved order pick accuracy close to 99.95%!
The implementation of the eSmart:datacapture system from BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd, has proved invaluable to Polyflor removing manual data re-entry and boosting inventory accuracy and warehouse utilisation significantly.
Polyflor Ltd is a major manufacturer of commercial floor coverings, who manufacture vinyl flooring near Manchester, England and distribute via their own transport fleet. They operate in the healthcare, education, retail and transport sectors and are a global business, thriving both in national and international markets. Recognised as the best in their class, their worldwide success is easily attributable to their range of high quality, innovative flooring products.
Polyflor have always been heavily focused on customer satisfaction and outstanding service. To further enhance performance in these areas Polyflor sought to perfect their delivery and warehouse processes by implementing an RF data capture solution.
In the past, Polyflor’s distribution operation used an AWACS warehouse management system, which was a legacy DOS based system with a number of limitations. For example; a lack of interoperability with the Lawson Software’s Movex/M3 ERP system used throughout the business, which meant that large daily data movements were necessary to synchronise the two systems.
This lack of communication between AWACS and Movex/M3 resulted, at times in the warehouse having to revert back to manual stock management.
Ultimately the existing system did not provide the stock visibility that was required to manage the warehouse and delivery functions to the standard required by Polyflor.
The overall requirement for Polyflor was to regulate the receipt, storage and despatch of all goods from their main warehouse at Leicester Road, Manchester. In order for this to be achieved, stock visibility within Movex/M3 needed to be improved, pick to order data had to be recorded and first-class inventory had to be established.
By implementing Movex/M3 combined with a mobile eSmart:datacapture solution from BEC, Polyflor sought to achieve the linked objectives of superior customer service and better stock accuracy.
Polyflor were introduced to BEC as a result of BEC’s impressive reputation as leader in seamless data capture integration to Lawson software’s Movex/M3 ERP products. After a rigorous selection process taking into consideration BEC’s solid track record of integration into Movex/M3 and their helpful and consultative approach BEC was chosen to implement the critical mobile data capture piece including hardware & data capture software & CISCO wireless infrastructure.
"It was imperative to BEC to carefully consider the process requirements and work in close partnership with Polyflor to be able to provide a seamless integrate data capture solution" stated Stuart Kiernan, Business Development Manager at BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd.
The installed solution covered a number of key elements of warehouse transactions including put-away, picking, stock moves and stock enquiries. All warehouse operators were equipped with Intermec CK31 hand held terminals which featured integrated 802.11g Wi-Fi and an integrated barcode scanner.
The client application on the terminals communicates to the host server over the RF Network. The wireless link has the facility to provide real-time updates to Movex/M3 of any transaction data entered on the device at any time. Supplying all warehouse operators with these devices equipped all staff with the ability to execute the complete range of transactions available. This introduced a degree of flexibility into job allocation, which would have been difficult to achieve with a more manual process.
"The solution that we provided delivers a mission critical data to the host via a simple and user friendly operator interface on the Intermec CK31 devices" added Stuart.
When dealing with data capture projects of such magnitude BEC has a policy of appointing a single project manager to facilitate execution. This ensures a smooth transfer of information and ensures project milestones are met and delivered on time. As part of the assignment BEC provided go live support and operator training on the data capture system before it was launched. Ensuring operators were fully equipped to use the new technology, consequently minimising the time taken to return operations to normal productivity and beyond.
"The software support from BEC was immediate and of a very high standard which helped facilitate the early implementation of the required software improvements, resulting in minimal disruption to our operations" explained Andrew Turner, Distribution Manager at Polyflor Ltd.
As with each eSmart:datacapture installation Polyflor benefitted from a seamless data capture solution presenting operators with screens which were intuitive and fast to use. Unnecessary keystrokes and scrolling through lists were removed, leaving the operator free to focus on the task in hand. BEC’s solution was tailored to provide Polyflor with efficient transactions without the requirement to make changes to the host system. Task specific transactions are stored within BEC’s software removing the requirement to reintegrate data capture functionality each time the host system is upgraded or modified. BEC’s solution is independent of the Movex/M3 host allowing high levels of flexibility and forward compatibility to new releases of the host.
The system has proved to be so successful that Polyflor are considering expanding the eSmart solution into other business processes.
Following on from the implementation of the eSmart:datacapture solution from BEC, Polyflor recognised a number of major advantages some of which were expected and others that were unexpected but nonetheless welcome. For example the amount of ‘cleanup’ investigation into picking errors was reduced and warehouse performance was increased by improved accuracy and operator efficiency. Since the system utilised barcode auto ID technology, duplication errors were removed from the operation.
"Using the eSmart:datacapture solution has given us the ability to scan all items at the point of despatch resulting in our order accuracy improving close to 99.95% (by volume)" Andrew said. "This has resulted in a reduction in picking errors and has prevented customers receiving the incorrect products or orders causing unnecessary costs to both us and them".
In summary, Polyflor have attained real time visibility of product stock, increased warehouse efficiency and most importantly they have reduced issues with regards wrong delivery. All achieved on time and on budget.
"Our detailed knowledge of mobile devices, wireless infrastructure and industrial printing allowed us to provide a genuinely competent and proven ‘one stop’ data capture solution to Polyflor and provided peace of mind that the entire project was in safe hands" Stuart commented.