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Mike Bell, Executive VP of Operations
Duncan Industrial Solutions
Oklahoma City, OK

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C-A-L Ranch Introduces PathGuide’s Latitude WMS Platform to Beef Up Speed and Accuracy at its Distribution Centers

Merchandise Can’t Be Sold If It’s Sitting in a Distribution Center

Anyone living on a working ranch or farm knows that labor intensifies and varies with the seasons, particularly winter and spring. For C-A-L Ranch and its chain of 26 stores and one distribution center across four Western states, an uptick in activity results in a corresponding increase in demand for agricultural supplies. These spikes in demand require warehouse workers to cope with the influx of additional stock, resulting in shipping delays. C-A-L Ranch needed a solution, which meant improving its entire receiving, putaway and picking process.

“During peak sales periods, the distribution floor became a bottleneck in getting goods out to the stores in a timely manner,” said Tom Yearsley, CFO of C-A-L Ranch. “Merchandise can’t be sold if it’s sitting in a distribution center.”

While the distribution center was able to keep up under normal workloads, C-A-L Ranch was increasingly frustrated during busy times of the year as inventory began to pile up. Realizing that systems needed to be faster and more productive if they were going to grow and continue to meet their customers’ needs, C-A-L Ranch decided to automate their process using a dedicated Warehouse Management System (WMS).

At this point, most companies go through a vetting process where they evaluate multiple WMS systems based on functionality, interoperability, customization and price. C-A-L Ranch was able to skip much of this process thanks to its Mid-States Distributing Company membership. This group of independently owned and operated farm and ranch retailers was able to provide C-A-L Ranch with first-hand experience and advice about how to choose a WMS that would suit its needs. In addition, since C-A-L Ranch had adopted Epicor’s Eagle ERP system in 2011, it wanted to ensure that the WMS it selected would be able to interface with this system.

The Ideal ERP/WMS Pairing

C-A-L Ranch was advised to evaluate PathGuide’s Latitude WMS, so the company went ahead with a detailed assessment of the business impact, ease of use, training requirements and all associated costs of the system. After careful consideration, C-A-L Ranch was convinced and decided to move forward to implement PathGuide’s Latitude WMS in late 2014 as another busy season approached.

The company decided to implement during a slower season before the beginning of the busy spring season, with a system ‘go-live’ set for the end of January 2015. PathGuide took the challenge and exceeded C-A-L Ranch’s expectations. The implementation team worked diligently to install the wireless infrastructure, train and familiarize C-A-L Ranch employees, inspect the warehouse, and complete all of the other recommendations and consulting that are required with an implementation such as this. After 10 weeks dedicated to preparation, discussions and build-out, Latitude went live on schedule.

"PathGuide’s implementation people were fantastic,” said Yearsley. “They were absolutely essential to getting everything set up on such short notice.”

Putting It To The Test

Spring of 2015 was the first real test for Latitude, and it quickly showed its value to C-A-L Ranch. Feedback from employees at the distribution center was, and continues to be, very positive. As the pain points were resolved, employee morale increased, making the workplace more productive and efficient. Latitude played an important role in this increased success. Throughout the deployment process, PathGuide assigned implementation team members who worked closely with C-A-L Ranch to ensure that any additional requirements were met.

“Overall we’ve been very, very pleased,” said Yearsley. “We are more efficient and accurate, much faster, and we have far less paperwork! The employees love it as well, particularly since we now get product out to the stores where it can be sold in a timely manner. We’ve now opened a second distribution center, which also uses Latitude. The whole integration process has been very smooth.”

Since deploying Latitude, C-A-L Ranch has become a member of PathGuide’s Latitude Advisory Board (LAB), a group of users who meet regularly to discuss industry trends and recommend possible Latitude enhancements. Yearsley appreciates the chance to contribute to this group, stating simply, “The success of Latitude helps guarantee our own success.”

About Latitude

Latitude is an enterprise-grade Warehouse Management System that automates warehousing and distribution to provide real-time online information about inventory. Latitude automates all operations from receiving and order picking, to manifesting and truck route/stop management, and integrates seamlessly with major ERP business systems. While providing deep warehouse functionality, Latitude is flexible enough to accommodate each customer’s unique business practices while ensuring that basic and advanced tasks are performed efficiently and accurately. 

About PathGuide Technologies, Inc.

PathGuide Technologies, Inc., a privately held company founded in 1989, is a leading provider of warehouse management solutions for wholesalers, industrial distributors and regional retailers across the United States, Canada and abroad. PathGuide’s software and services help suppliers increase productivity and order accuracy, improve customer service, lower labor costs, and ultimately drive greater profitability.