Hallis Hudson's warehouse throughput up by 20%

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BEC implemented its revolutionary new E_Smart data-capture system into Hallis Hudsons warehouse increasing productivity by 20% and saving thousands of pounds. 

The implementation of the new data capture system has also enabled them to extend their order shipment deadline by 1 hour making the whole process more efficient and cost saving.  In addition 4 data entry employees were redeployed to other tasks to improve company effectiveness and performance.

Hallis Hudson is a leading supplier of curtains, blinds and accessories for the soft furnishings industry.  With a strong Commitment to Excellence and customer service ethos, Hallis Hudson ships fulfilled orders for next day delivery. Always looking for ways to improve their efficiencies and customer service they approached BEC. Using their new E_Smart data-capture system, which bolts seamlessly into Lawson M3 (Movex) business management system, BEC quickly enabled warehouse throughput to be increased.

The Challenge

One of the main challenges Hallis Hudson faced was the accuracy, speed and timeliness of data capture relating to shipments.  Hallis Hudson and its customers needed to know the exact products and quantities placed into each box, for full traceability of the delivery. 

The challenge was to improve the current system that was paper based and manually recorded packed items which resulted in slower data entry and human errors.  This in turn delayed despatch times and made tracing shipment contents difficult. There were also system problems due to the nature of the business and complexity of customer orders, where a single shipment often consisted of multiple packages packed in different warehouse zones.

The Journey

When Hallis Hudson took the decision to update their host ERP system to the latest release of Lawson M3 Java, they knew they had the opportunity to automate information flow across the company.

Hallis Hudson realised that an investment in automated data capture would fulfil the need for accurate shipment information and free up resources normally used to key data manually into the host ERP system.  The inclusion of printer technology would enable the immediate printing of shipping labels for each consignment, at the packing station.

The Solution

BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd was introduced to Hallis Hudson as the preferred supplier of seamless integration into Lawson M3.  The solution BEC implemented used WORKABOUT PRO GII hand held computers from Psion Teklogix and compact desktop LP 2844 printers from Zebra Technologies.  The WORKABOUT PRO is a rugged user-friendly device with bright colour touch screen, integrated barcode scanner and 802.11b/g WiFi.  Each of Hallis Hudsons packing desks were provided with a hand held device and printer.

Upon receipt of customer orders, Lawson M3 uses logic to determine when and where to print picking lists within the warehouse. The order is assembled by a team of pickers, who then pass the goods for packing. Packing teams, using the  WORKABOUT PRO via the WiFi network scan item barcodes as they are picked and assembled into a shipment for the customer.

During the packing process, BECs data capture software: SIGMA, communicates the transaction data to Lawson M3 in real time, enabling instant validation of the packed items against the order.

Alastair Soper, Operations Director at Hallis Hudson said, The data capture solution from BEC allowed us to redeploy 4 people, previously tied up with data entry, into other areas of the business, while also increasing warehouse throughput by around 20%, without additional staff.

Once the order is packed, a list of items contained within the box is printed and adhered to the packaging as it is closed.  Using unique box numbers assigned by Lawson M3, the data capture system records the items and quantity packed in each box, giving Hallis Hudson full traceability of deliveries.  An automatic despatch notification is sent to the Courier to arrange collection of the consignment.

Continuing, Alastair added our improved shipping operations have enabled us to extend the shipment deadline by at least one hour, allowing customers to place next day delivery orders up until 6:00pm the previous day. The system is proving so efficient that we are considering extending this to 7:00pm, which will be a significant benefit for our customers many of whom find it difficult to place orders during normal office hours

The Implementation

BEC appointed a dedicated Project Manager to help Hallis Hudson control the project and ensure deadlines were met.  Assisting with training in the data capture solution and Go-live support during implementation, BEC provided advisory support on WiFi infrastructure and hardware integration throughout the project.

The data capture solution from BEC integrates seamlessly with Lawson M3, without requiring modifications to the host.

The BEC team adopted a strong project approach and assisted in solving challenges, for example, printer integration which was not strictly within their defined project role.  This flexibility unquestionably contributed to the smooth running and timely completion of the implementation. Alastair commented.

Hallis Hudson is now making plans to extend BECs data capture system into Goods Inwards, Picking and Inventory management.

The Results

The automated data collection system used for shipping operations has already proved beneficial.  Provided with real time capabilities, Hallis Hudson now receives immediate updates and full visibility of all shipment information as well as complete traceability of fulfilled orders.  BECs data capture system has helped streamline packing operations and improved the utilisation of human resources.

In conclusion, Alastair stated; BECs data capture solution has massively improved customer service and we have easily recouped our investment in the solution within 18 months

By solving the issues relating to the flow of shipment information, Hallis Hudson has improved interaction with their Courier Partner and as a result, bettered customer service.

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