Industrial fabrication machinery comes in a wide range of specifications, with a variety of optional extras. Quotes for these machine types can take a long time to process due to the number of specification and accessory combinations. There is also the potential for human error as not all tooling and accessories fit all machines.
Sirius created an industry specific product matrix within Salespad, for machines and the various compatible optional extras. On selecting the machine only the compatible options and accessories are displayed. Using this automatically generated list of compatibility enables bespoke machines to be quoted without the risk of mistakenly offering the customer options that are not physically possible. All the prices, descriptions, extra details, and pictures for each item are pulled through onto the printed quote. The result is a multi-page, full-colour brochure specific to the individual customer and the machine they require, produced in minutes.
Improving the speed and accuracy of the quotation process leads to an increase in the number of sales in this area. Customers receive a bespoke quotation containing product visuals and machinery specifications tailored to their needs. Producing quotations with such a high level of detail, in a drastically reduced timeframe not only means the information is reaching the customer before rival companies quotations but also the quality is far superior to that of competitor quotes.
Manual warehouse processes are slow and inefficient specifically in the Goods in/out department. The knock on effect of this is difficulty in stock tracking within the warehouse and inaccuracies in stock levels. This leads to a reduction in processing, stocktaking and production efficiency.
Sirius introduced a barcode scanning system into the warehouse that integrates with the Salespad ERP system. Barcode labels are automatically generated and sent to label printers as goods are received onto the system. Products are located into racks using handheld Motorola barcode readers. Goods are assigned to BIN locations using the barcoding system.
Orders ready to be fulfilled are sent directly to the handheld scanners. All the order details are displayed including product BIN location. Product labels are scanned as they are picked and packed and orders are automatically fulfilled on the system. This automation gives full accountability enabling the system administrator to view when orders are picked and by whom. Automation also decreases order processing time, provides live stock levels, and increases the efficiency of stocktaking.
Warehouse stock counts
Annual auditing requires goods in to be closed for one business day so that all products on hand can be counted. A team of staff are required to carry out the task that is time consuming and subject to human error.
Sirius introduced a cycle counting process into the warehouse to meet the criteria for the stock audit. Every week an area is counted, by the end of the year every product will be counted at least once. The BIN locations are used to divide the warehouse up into sections with one selected each week for a count. The system generates stock lists in each section and sends count lists automatically to the scanner on a set day. Products in the section for count are scanned and stock levels are checked. Cycle counting transforms the speed and accuracy with which the count is completed.
The counted products are sent to the ERP system, matched with the expected stock and any discrepancies raised. This automation gives a higher level of inventory control allowing products to easily be located within the warehouse. The reduction in count time negates the need to shut down for a day increasing general productivity.
Stock Reordering System
The stock of consumables and accessories is only reordered when someone notices stock is getting low or is completely depleted. Running out of products results in items being on back order, a delay in customers receiving products and potentially loss of business.
Sirius introduced an automatic reorder trigger in the system for high demand parts and accessories. A reorder level for each product is calculated by analysing, sales, historical demand and supply lead times.
Every week a reorder level report is produced listing all items falling below the reorder level. Purchase orders for these products are created using the reorder levels detailed on the system. Increasing the efficiency of the reorder system eliminates the risk of running out of stock, removes the potential for human error or oversight and reduces the lead time in fulfilling customer orders. This increased efficiency results in greater customer retention and attaining a preferred supplier status.
Container Planning System
Product stock is reordered based on an average lead time regardless of the supplier. Some lead times are longer than anticipated resulting in core lines being out of stock.
Analysing lead times for each product based on purchase orders over a twelve month period, highlights products with above average lead times. By creating a SQL query to analyse the demand in the previous 12 months vs the new calculated lead times for each product enables stock outs to be eliminated. By automatically producing revised reorder levels and comparing them to stock on hand, a more accurate forecast for supply, demand and resupply is created.
By using automated systems to carry out complex calculations instead of broad assumptions, the information is more reflective of what is currently going on in the supply chain. Purchase orders are raised automatically on this basis and reduce the amount of work done to establish what products need to be ordered and when. The orders are then processed and sent to suppliers via e mail once reviewed.
This Reduces the risk of core products being unavailable, increases the efficiency of reordering and reduces the time taken to process purchase orders, this leads to greater customer satisfaction and overall profitability.
Returns are being received to the warehouse with no paperwork, no customer information, no reason for return and subsequently no plan to get them fixed. They are effectively dead stock that becomes a graveyard of faulty products.
Sirius created a Returned Goods Authorisation (RGA) system within Salespad. When customers want to return a product an RGA is created on the system, this includes the details of the customer and the product (including serial number and the reason for the return). The customer is then given an RGA number and document to pack with the machine.
The RGA return is held in a queue on the system and when the goods arrive the status is updated. Updating the status generates an e mail prompting the service team to evaluate the returned item. Once the goods have been inspected by the service engineer and the notes logged on the system a course of action is decided upon.
In the case of damaged goods a repair order is generated on the system, the parts required for the repair are added and the system automatically orders them. When the part arrives the repair order is released for the repair to be carried out. Once repaired the product is returned to stock and given a grade (A, B or C) based on its condition. The grade is then used to price the reconditioned products and match them to suitable customers.
This RGA process enables the release of a significant amount of capital tied up in stock that needs repair. The system gives full accountability regarding the previous owner of the product, the repairs carried out and the technician who carries out the repairs. It also allows the number of repairs carried out and the time per repair for each member of the service department to be logged.