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Pharmetics produces natural health products primarily for the private label marketplace, with a smaller portion of the company concentrating on contract manufacturing and export contracts. Today the company has a continual focus on state of the art technology and qualified human resources that has allowed them to lead the supplement industry with quality, price, service and specialized marketing programs.
Their 150,000 sq. ft. (14.00 m²) full service plant contains state of the art equipment for each stage of the production cycle and their current production capacity is 3.16 billion tablets per year or equivalently 24 million bottles. Traceability is foremost on their priority and it was up to us to make sure they are not only compliant but that visibility of material is available at all times. Pharmetics related to us that they needed to meet traceability compliance requirements from both the FDA in the U.S. and Food Canada for all of its products. In addition, the company wanted a way to better control the issuance of raw material using FIFO (first in, first out) principles. It was also important to quickly quarantine or put any ingredients on hold pending the completion of rigorous in-house quality assurance testing.
At the time of implementation of their Infor Visual ERP solution, they realized they would need a more robust materials tracking and issuing system than that was available from Infor. Upon seeing RF PlusTM and its tight integration into Visual, Pharmetics agreed that it was the right solution. We implemented a complete traceability program that tracked products along three dimensions: license plate, lot #, and case serial number. While the learning curve was steeper for the team, the staff quickly embraced the new technology and, almost immediately, the visibility of products in the warehouse increased exponentially. RF PlusTM was also the solution to their need to quickly quarantine any items that required in-house quality assurance. By simply scanning the location and the specific trace elements (license, lot or serial), they were able to quarantine the products within the warehouse location.
While the company never had to perform a recall, the level of granularity afforded by RF PlusTM allowed Pharmetics the ability to perform a recall at the case level with an unheard of amount of detail. This exceeded any governmental requirements and provided Pharmetics’ clients with an extra level of confidence concerning their ability to trace products back to the source. Since the implementation of RF PlusTM, the company’s sales have more than doubled, and yet additional warehouse workers were not necessary.
Labour and Material Tracking
- Improved accuracy of tracking PO receipts for AP matching and improved accuracy of tracking AR shippers. Accounting bills more quickly, reducing order to cash cycle time
- Use of RF PlusTM from receiving to shipping has resulted in the company not having to add additional material handlers as the business volume increased over 25%
- Use of RF PlusTM from receiving to shipping has resulted in the company not having to add additional material handlers as the business expanded over 30% since
- TM PlusTM has provided accurate (actual) labor cost in the production and allowed management to review labor burden and take proactive action for production efficiency.
Located just outside of Toronto, Canada, this company is a producer of mechanical carbon steel tubing and fabricated tubular steel chair frames. They have multiple warehouses and the organization had grown steadily since its inception. They are registered under both the ISO 9002 and automotive industry’s QS-9000.The Challenge
Their entry of inventory transactions and time associated with labor ticket were behind by as much as two days. This resulted in lack of visibility on job costs and inventory availability, which led to large buffer stock, reactive as opposed to proactive shop floor management, and poor customer service. Areas that needed improvement are as follows: warehouse management, inventory accuracy, and accurate labor cost tracking against work orders. A transition of a series of legacy applications was required, which comprised of a number of standalone databases, spreadsheets and custom written applications. This made the migration exercise difficult, since the transition to a central system meant planning multiple transition points. Compounding the challenge was several physical warehouses; therefore, the deployment had to be coordinated across multiple facilities and the teams required a custom training plan. The company wanted as little downtime as possible and the solution must meet all their criteria. Much was at stake.
We offered a real time solution set comprising of RF PlusTM for material tracking and TM PlusTM for labor tracking. To assist with the material tracking, the License Plate feature of RF PlusTM was turned on. This enabled the material handlers, as they were creating pallets of product for storage, to assign the entire pallet load to a single barcode. This license plate became the unique identifier for the pallet containing the lot #, part number and quantity in weight or pieces. Consequently this license plate also enabled the rapid movement of product from one location to the next without having to scan each item on the pallet. Users were equipped with portable handheld devices which allowed them to transact in real time based on movements of the product. These devices were also used to perform physical counts. TM PlusTM was a perfect fit for tracking labor cost against work orders. With this application, the company was able to enter, track and manage their labor transactions in real time. Job costing is performed sooner and thus giving management much needed visibility and control on their shop floor.
Our customer was extremely satisfied with the end result.
- Cost-effective Warehouse Management Solution that incorporated hardware, voice picking and inventory management software, which all coexisted without compatibility issues.
- Flexibility with hardware and software that can grow or be replaced as technology continues to advance.
- RF PlusTM was configured to work with a third party voice picking solution. It can make the decision of whether the voice picking software or its internal application should be used to pick. RF PlusTM would be activated for high volume case picks with a forklift truck and for smaller pump trucks picks, the voice solution would kick in.
- Instant impact of overall accuracy of inventory management, reduced operating costs, increased efficiency
- Improved worker productivity.
- Pick rates increased roughly 20% with the implementation from 140 case/hr to 164 cases/hr.
- Within 8 weeks of going live, we were seeing a 14% improvement in productivity.
Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc. (Longo’s) is a family owned organization established in 1956. Longo’s is focused on selling food, from everyday staples to gourmet exclusives. With an average store size of 35,000 square feet and staff on hand to service customers, Longo’s is positioned to provide a quick, enjoyable food shopping experience. Longo’s head office and distribution centre in Vaughan is an award winning facility both in design and energy conservation and is a certified Gold LEEDS facility. Longo's currently has over 4,000 employees, and is consistently ranked as one of Canada's Top 50 privately managed companies.
While Longo’s has great facilities and warehouses, they were outdated and in dire need of an upgrade. Because some of the operations were expensive and inflexible, it was incurring some major issues with productivity. With 25 stores and growing, Longo’s warehouses are at the centre of store business operations. Efficiency of Longo’s warehouse processes are key to their business metrics – affecting the number of orders shipped, to order accuracy, stock availability and customer service levels. With today’s business world growing in an increasingly complex manner and competitive with profits pressured by rising labor and fuel costs, Longo’s decided it was time for a change and that was where we came in.
With inventory constantly changing, excess products on the rise, and constant recounts due to unacceptable variances, Longo’s required a better way to manage their warehouse and store operations. After evaluating several competitors, Longo’s selected Pi for the following reasons:
Improved efficiency, accuracy and overall reduced costs in the warehouse.