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New WMS system helps support AKW warehouse expansion

AKW, providers of showering, daily living and kitchen solutions for inclusive living, has implemented Access Delta Warehouse Management System (WMS). Headquartered in Droitwich Spa the growing company, with 143 staff, needed a more comprehensive warehouse management solution to replace its in-house bespoke system.

Louise Marshall, business systems manager for AKW, said, "It was really the scale of our warehousing expansion that led us to take on the Access Delta WMS. We knew our existing solution didn’t meet our requirements in terms of management, picking lists, picking locations, etc. – the system could not handle the number of locations and products. So we decided to get a warehouse solution in, and Access Delta suited our needs."

AKW continued to expand, to the point that its two present warehouses are each four times the size of its original one facility. The company used to pick from both warehouses on the trading estate, managing them as two separate maps. "We used to pick orders from both warehouses but, occasionally the order had to be split between the warehouses, depending on the location of the products. This caused additional work for the warehouse in order to pick two separate orders." says Louise.

AKW later redeployed Access Delta WMS as a single graphical warehouse map, bringing both warehouses on to one site map. "That was a big advantage for us; it simplifies processes, and makes it easier to transfer stock between warehouses. Instead of having to do goods-out and goods-in, we can use a drag-and-drop facility to transfer stock between sites. That has reduced our picking errors and increased our service to the customers."

The single map system enables AKW to take more orders more efficiently, and achieve better recording of stock and traceability. Louise continued, "As an additional service, we have introduced a phased delivery service, so each customer has a weekly delivery day. That gives us benefits because we can forward-plan our picks."

AKW’s clients include the majority of local authorities, as well as housing associations, contractors and merchants. It supplies over 4,000 products, from wet rooms, shower enclosures and kitchens to accessories such as brassware and grab rails.

Meanwhile, the company is moving into the retail market alongside its traditional business. "Traditionally we have been in the mobility needs and public sector market. We already have a presence in the retail market but are looking to increase our market share, by stocking and supplying bathroom boutiques and other retail outlets."

AKW’s business has expanded and evolved dramatically and Access Delta WMS is playing a vital role in this. Louise concludes, "Our daily order rate is around 450-500 a day for picking. Without Access Delta, it would be difficult to manage the amount of orders being picked from two different locations."

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