E.B. Horsman & Son Improve Reordering Efficiency with Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI)
Latitude Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) is a solution that helps distributors and their customers efficiently manage customer orders.
VMI is part of PathGuide’s Latitude Warehouse Management System (WMS), a modular software suite that manages warehousing and distribution to provide real-time online information about all inventories.
How does VMI Work?
When your customer runs low on your product, they can quickly build a replenishment order using a simple barcode scan. Latitude VMI creates customer orders that are sent back to Latitude WMS and then up to your ERP, for fast, accurate fulfillment.
E.B. Horsman & Son, an electrical distributor in Surrey, BC, provided Latitude VMI capabilities directly to their customers to improve re-ordering efficiency. E.B. Horsman also uses Latitude VMI’s email capability to allow real-time confirmation or correction on specific orders.
“We were particularly impressed with PathGuide’s ability to customize VMI to support VMI-via-email using a mobile device, which dramatically simplifies deployment,” says Roy Bragg, Vice President of Operations at E.B. Horsman. VMI is simply a fast and easy way for both distributors and their customers to achieve an efficient item restocking process that is error-free and convenient.
Traditional Vendor Management Inventory
Human errors on customer replenishment orders are inevitable, but costly. Eliminate salesperson mistakes by using easy-to-scan, specially generated barcode labels on your products at your customer locations. Your sales person need only scan the barcodes of the products that need to be reordered, and confirm the order, all on the mobile device. The order is transmitted back to your Latitude WMS, and then on up to your ERP for processing. You are able to set up minimum, maximum, and order point quantities to ensure the proper stocking levels are reordered.
Perhaps your sales force is stretched thin, or maybe you prefer a more hands-off approach to managing customer orders. Fortunately, Latitude VMI can allow your customers to place their own replenishment orders, using mobile devices equipped with scanning capabilities.
To re-order your products, your customer logs onto a Windows Mobile-enabled device, enters order information, and scans your customized item barcodes (supplied by the Latitude system). By default, the minimum order point quantity is automatically ordered, but the user can override as needed, simplifying the ordering process. Once all restockable items are scanned, your customer can review the order on the mobile device, edit any mistakes, and confirm the order. The order is sent back to your Latitude WMS, either wirelessly (WiFi or WAN) or through a docking station. Latitude checks the order for any exceptions, and then sends the order up to the host (ERP) system.
VMI is highly customizable, so exact processes can vary depending on the business practices at your warehouse and at your customer sites. But regardless of how you decide to implement VMI, you’ll find that it offers vast improvements in replenishment order efficiency, customer satisfaction, and error elimination.
“Cost control, order accuracy and warehouse efficiency are always at the top of our hit list,” adds Roy Bragg of E.B. Horsman. “Latitude VMI allows us to address these issues while improving the service and responsiveness we can offer customers. VMI also helped us land a contract with one of the largest aluminum producers in the world – that’s priceless.”