Coastal Pet Products, a multi-channel manufacturing business with an international B2B customer base is using Indigo WMS from leading WMS solutions provider, Indigo Software, to automate warehouse management at its purpose built, 400,000 sq. ft facility. On a typical day over 90,000 items, picked from a 6,000 SKU product range are shipped to customers.
After evaluating different Warehouse Management System software options, Indigo WMS was selected by the Coastal Pet Products management team as the best fit because it could integrate with the existing Infor ERP system and conveyor systems, plus the Vocollect (now Honeywell) voice technology used for picking and replenishment.
Integration with other systems was a key requirement for Coastal Pet Products because one of the disadvantages of not having a dedicated WMS was a lack of real-time data to enable efficiency improvements. Updates to back-office systems were run in batch and warehouse data showing stock levels was always a day behind. This meant extra stock management shifts were needed at weekends to reconcile stock counts with actual order information.
Indigo WMS supports up to 85 operatives working concurrently with sub-second transaction processing capabilities. Sub-second transaction processing was an essential capability because during busy periods, three or more events need to be processed every second and each order needs a unique date and time stamp for auditing purposes. Since the company began using Indigo WMS, tens of millions of transactions have been processed and Coastal Pet Products has recorded many commercial benefits.
Coastal Pet Products is also currently migrating to Oracle NetSuite ERP and Indigo’s team of WMS software consultants are minimising implementation risks and maximising business continuity, to provide the same level of seamless visibility as was achieved with the legacy ERP.
Overall, Coastal Pet’s investment in Indigo WMS has delivered significant productivity and cost savings, resulting from the greater throughput of orders completed every day. The manpower required to operate the warehouse at this level has dropped and employees are being re-assigned to support other areas of the business. It means the company can scale the business without increasing headcount and other benefits are seen right along the entire supply chain, including customer satisfaction ratings.
Business Benefits: warehouse improvements achieved using Indigo WMS
The following key improvements have been made to warehouse operations:
Improved inventory management. By introducing Indigo WMS, Coastal Pet Products could switch to real time cycle counting and perpetual inventory management. As soon as products are picked, the operation is linked back into the cycle counting process and stock number changes immediately register in real time as a works order booking. Indigo WMS also guides operatives to empty warehouse locations, improving space utilisation.
Flexible pick routing. Previously Coastal Pet Products experienced difficulties when changing walking paths, especially when picking raw materials from the warehouse for production lines. Routes were pre-set and could not be changed, but now the company has full flexibility to change walking paths.
Automated overstocks tracking. Coastal Pet Products uses totes for multiple item orders and now benefits from location driven replenishment to key pick points. Indigo WMS drives the whole process, directing pickers towards the relevant totes to complete an order. This has created huge time savings since the original process was entirely manual and operators would waste time searching through random totes to find the missing items.
Automated accuracy checks. Indigo WMS builds quality checks into each order because the software requires each stage to be validated. It means mistakes are identified very quickly and incorrect orders cannot end up in the dispatch area.
Reduced wastage. Previously, Coastal Pet Products would generate rolls of labels in advance of picking orders, regardless of whether the items were required. Up to 90,000 items are shipped daily from the warehouse which meant over a million labels would be printed every month, wasting money on consumables and time spent manually sorting the output and walking to and from fixed printer stations. Now with Indigo WMS, pickers use their mobile devices and mobile printers to generate labels on demand, creating substantial labour savings every day. The new process also avoids wasting consumables during bulk print runs.
“Although our picking was already optimised with voice picking, the lack of a WMS meant that we could not process inventory transactions in real time and resulted in missing time sensitive information about whether items have been picked from the location. This impacted our ability to accurately cycle count and improve stock auditing and replenishments,” says Steve Caruso, Project Manager at Coastal Pet Products. “All these issues have been removed and because Indigo is a best practice system, it has helped us to tighten up all our processes for the better and ensure we have a much better grasp of total inventory,” he adds.
“Right from the outset we felt very confident that choosing Indigo as our WMS technology partner meant we would minimise implementation risks and maximise business continuity, which now, means migrating to Oracle NetSuite ERP. The company’s consulting team quickly developed an in-depth understanding of our business and how processes could be improved using their WMS technology, plus we are very reassured by Indigo’s ERP integration capabilities, which had been proven across many reference sites,” says Dana Duff, IT Department Manager at Coastal Pet Products.
“Indigo WMS continues to prove itself as a robust and feature-rich warehouse management solution for busy ecommerce warehouses. Coastal Pet Products has achieved many productivity improvements and their investment in Indigo WMS has future-proofed their business,” says Mark Leavy, Chief Sales Officer at Indigo Software.