Most 3PLs will bend over backwards to meet the requirements of their customers. This approach can be great for winning and retaining business, but often results in unrecovered costs that become significant over time and result in margin loss.
With this system, nothing happens in the warehouse without traceability – including value-added services such as de-stuffing, kitting and assembly. This allows every task to be billed accurately and fairly to the customer. That capability alone virtually guarantees a strong return on investment for any 3PL provider, such as GMA.
Microlistics’ experience in third-party logistics was a key criterion in GMA Warehousing & Transport’s selection. GMA will take advantage of the multi-site, multi-client WMS functionality including fully integrated storage and activity-based third-party logistics billing management; system flexibility to dynamically handle products of varied shape, size, and weight; and advanced real-time reporting and analytics.
The WMS will enable GMA to automatically schedule activities from pick up of containers from the port and shunt-to-warehouse to de-stuffing and storage, capturing activities for billing purposes along the way. GMA warehousing & transport director, Jay Kamat, said, “Microlistics is positioned well on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for WMS and the system is recognised for its high level of flexibility and configurability. That is precisely what we need to ensure that even as we invest in improving accuracy, efficiency and customer connectivity, we also retain the flexibility to meet the diverse requirements of our customers.”
“We recently began augmenting our traditional services with pick and pack of stored goods for retail customers. We will be even more responsive to the needs of our customers with the new WMS, with the ability to onboard new sites quickly and seamlessly. We may not know who tomorrow’s new customer will be, but we will now have a system that can handle any requirement.”
We spoke to Microlistics’ founder and managing director, Mark Dawson, to get a more detailed understanding of the project.
How will the new WMS change GMA’s current operations?
The current system doesn’t operate in real time. It is manual and paper based, requiring a great deal of manpower spent printing paperwork and administrating the system. By moving to a real time, RF-based solution, they will eliminate paper, increase visibility of work being carried out and reduce the level of supervisory effort required to allocate and prioritise work through system driven tasks. The current system is also not designed for item pick and pack, so the deployment of Microlistics’ WMS will enable GMA to provide a wider range of services for their clients, effectively providing a one-stop shop for all of their client requirements.
GMA collects containers from the dock side of many of the UK ports, so the system will provide visibility of these containers when they are released by HM Revenue & Customs, allowing transport to be planned for this shunting process. Once collected, as the contents of these containers are known to the WMS, they can be quickly and efficiently processed at the warehouse door.
Is there any training available for those who have never used this specific system, or any WMS at all for that matter?
Yes. During the project, we provide on the job training for the super users. Also, a Solution Design Document will provide a detailed breakdown of the new operational processes, which can then be used for further end-user training.
Are there any teething problems expected when adopting the system, or migrating from another?
As with the deployment of any major business systems, there will be several changes to the operational standard operating procedures, which need to be managed thoroughly during the UAT and transition phases. Our project team will provide an operation called ‘Train the Trainer’, in order to ensure that the GMA ops team have the information they need to support the on-site ops team during these phases and into live operation.
How do the warehouse workers feel about the prospect of learning and using a new system?
They generally seem to be positive, and happy to learn the system. I think they are looking forward to moving away from manual processes and embracing digital.
The use of scanners will allow them to make sure everything in the warehouse is being tracked accurately. They will now soon have full visibility of the workload and can plan ahead or allocate resource more efficiently. I think they will see the benefits in their processes being streamlined.