Houston, Texas — It took less than three months for A-H Distributors to implement the Mincron warehouse management solution at their new 150,000-square-foot Distribution Center in New Brunswick, N.J. Project Manager Rene Jones described the process as “very simple” and added that the staff got confident with using it during their preliminary training sessions.
The location is ideal — near major roadways that provide easy access to the DC’s five shipping bays for inbound and outbound trucks. Currently A-H Distributors holds about 7,000 SKUs of plumbing, heating, electrical, PVF, drainage and specialty products in its inventory.
Jones, who has 20 years of experience improving warehouse operations as the founder and President of Total Logistics Solutions.
“Part of my expertise is process flow,” he noted. “The Mincron automated system will be very advantageous to A-H Distributors. Everything in that environment revolves around efficiency and accuracy, and this will help them maximize both.”
The Mincron StockSmart Warehouse Management System allows distributors to maintain a 99.9% inventory accuracy level while increasing the speed with which staff can receive, pick and ship product.
“Our solution automates warehouse workloads, minimizes disruptions and errors, and enables management to react and respond quickly to customers’ special needs,” said Mincron Director of Operations Jonathan Lindle. “It also helps distributors capitalize on their use of available space, equipment and personnel.”
Jones agreed. “This system allowed A-H to install higher shelving, which gives them a greater capacity for inventory,” he said. “And it works hand-in-hand with their turret material handling machines, which allows staff to dramatically increase their efficiency.”
A turret might best be described as a forklift on steroids.
“In a typical warehouse environment with forklifts, drivers are always on the lookout for the aisle and shelf they need,” noted Jones. “They also have to stop, turn and raise the forklift each time they handle a product. All of that adds more time to the process.
“A wire guidance system in the floor that is tied into the A-H warehouse management solution runs the turret at the new DC. Product is scanned as it is received, and then the system does the rest until it is in their customers’ hands. When the driver locks an order into the system, a wire literally guides the equipment to the exact location. As it gets closer, the lift starts rising so it is in the perfect position to automatically and accurately handle the product.”
Because the DC is new, A-H Distributors has no baseline with which to measure its ROI. But Jones is confident that the Mincron system will pay for itself quickly.
“It generates reports that calculate productivity levels for every warehouse activity,” Jones said. “Being able to analyze that data and make any necessary adjustments is an incredibly valuable tool. And the system won’t let the driver pick the wrong item or amount needed. That type of accuracy saves distributors significant time and money in the warehouse.”
As Lindle described, “Mincron’s warehouse solution is designed to be extraordinarily comprehensive and yet be highly flexible. It works equally well with small branch warehouses and massive distribution centers like A-H. And it effectively drives the processes of strictly structured environments as well as it does for those that are rapidly changing and unpredictable.”
About Mincron and Kerridge Commercial Systems
Mincron, a KCS Group company, provides innovative business management solutions that are flexible, scalable and fully integrated. Mincron offers both the SmartDistributor and K8 software solutions, which can be hosted on premise or in the cloud. Our customers range from multi-national publically traded companies to single-location family owned businesses. Typically, customers achieve ROI on their investment within just a few years.
U.K.-based Kerridge Commercial Systems designs and delivers high-performance, integrated ERP solutions that enable distributive trade customers to source, stock, sell and service more competitively. With four decades of experience, they are thought leaders in trading and management technology. Learn more by visiting our website, www.mincron.com.
Mary Jo Martin