Supply & Demand Chain Executive:
Royal Products Leverages PathGuide WMS to Ensure the Customer Is King
Manufacturer uses Latitude warehouse management system from PathGuide to drive dramatic improvement in customer satisfaction
March 4, 2010 - Sometimes it's possible to have too much of a good thing. So discovered Chris Jakubowsky, vice president of operations at Royal Products, a Long Island, New York, manufacturer of precision metalworking accessories. In fact, the 60-year-old company was on a tear over the past decade, and that business expansion was threatening to make the company a victim of its own success.
"We've had the same customers coming back to us time and time again because we get them what they want, when they need it, when we say we're going to deliver it," says Jakubowsky. "But after evaluating our systems in the mid-2000s, we found that we were falling behind with the increased demands of our customers. We needed to fix the problem before it had a lasting impact on our business."
Inventory Accuracy a Barrier to Growth
As Royal Products' business expanded to processing hundreds of orders per day, keeping track of inventory and shipments became extremely challenging. "We knew that a key barrier to further business growth and expansion was effective inventory management," explains Jakubowsky. "Since we didn't have a fully integrated and automated system - one that could wirelessly manage all aspects of our warehouse in real time, from inventory management to picking to fulfilling - some customer orders were simply not being fulfilled in a timely fashion."
In fact, even finding and verifying a product was not an easy process. "If something was incorrectly put in a bin, often times workers picked it and shipped it, thinking the customer was getting the right product," notes Jakubowsky. "As a stopgap, we had workers manually locate and verify the contents of each bin before picking, but that just added to our overhead."
Moreover, this lack of real-time product accuracy resulted in the Royal Product sales team not trusting inventory levels. "Our customer service people would sometimes request a physical count on an item to verify that what they saw on their computer screen was accurate. This resulted in a longer sales process and often delayed orders," continues Jakubowsky.
Another downside: each order had to be individually processed - there was no way to batch-pick multiple items for an order. With an inefficient system and growing customer returns as a drag on business, the company knew it had to update its system and solve its inventory management challenge.
A High-tech Solution with High-touch Implementation
In a move to boost customer satisfaction and ensure lean manufacturing and distribution processes, Royal Products decided to invest in a warehouse management system (WMS) that could deliver real-time automation to its warehouse operations. After an extensive search, Jakubowsky chose PathGuide Technologies' Latitude WMS.
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