By Shaun O’Brien, CEO of CQuential
The world has been severely impacted by COVID-19 and foreseeably changed the way we will do business forever. The worldwide lockdowns have essentially brought the global economy to a standstill forcing businesses to work out how they will survive and operate post-lockdown.
Supply chains are under tremendous pressure to deliver essential services and key medical supplies, in order to ensure that the market gets the right product needed during these difficult times. This has resulted in businesses needing to review their business models and structure themselves in a way that will safeguard their survival within the new economy.
Key points of reference for building a resilient supply chain can be broken down into:
For supply chains to continue to operate and remain competitive, these points have transformed from being good ideas/nice to haves – to essential. If businesses do not transform and make key decisions around these innovations within their supply chain, their survival will be questionable and their ability to compete in the new economy will be compromised.
Warehousing is one of the key nodes within a supply chain operating across the globe. The warehouse ensures inventory is available for when the customer demands a product. Companies build / design warehouses not only based on today’s requirement, but take into consideration the future growth of the business and what will be required within the next 5 years’ to remain competitive. The reality is that very few businesses have built a warehouse to deal with a serious pandemic like COVID-19 in mind, resulting in the lack of ability to handle the needs of business due to the pressures from the pandemic.
In spite of best efforts, in the short term it’s not easy to change a warehouse configuration to cater for the changes in the business requirements. The only option businesses have today, is to make better use of their current warehousing capacity and become more efficient to deal with the pandemic. To add to the complexity, the new regulations around COVID-19 regarding social distancing and safe environment, increases the business challenges in the future.
A good place to start in terms of assessing your current warehouse capabilities, would be to ask what tools are currently in place to enable the warehouse to perform optimally?
Key objectives would be:
A WMS (Warehouse Management System) is one of many tools that can assist in terms of achieving these objectives.
CQuential Solutions forms part of the Argility Technology Group and is well positioned to assist with achieving the above objectives. Our tools have been implemented across many different verticals and size of warehouse. The CQuential team is made up of supply chain professionals and a strong development team to help you to transform your warehouse.
We believe that the supply chain is dynamic and ever changing, requiring in depth knowledge of your business to add value. We work closely with our customers to build and validate our roadmap to ensure our customers’ warehouses remain relevant and up to date with the latest technology to maintain a world class operation.
An updated warehouse management system is helping to make Sensory FX more efficient and positioning it for expansion.
Sensory FX is a leading local developer and manufacturer of flavours and fragrances into the African market. The company exports to a number of customers across the African continent, serving a wide range of industries including food and beverage, cosmetic and personal care, chemical, pharmaceutical, and household products.
Sensory FX’s business depends on the meticulous management of a wide range of raw materials, primarily liquid and powder chemicals and oils. These raw materials are then blended according to precise formulas into products that are customised to meet clients’ specifications. Stored materials must then be picked out of the warehouse in precise proportions as determined by the formula for the specific product being manufactured. Once the final product is completed, it returns to the warehouse for eventual despatch.
Because some of the raw materials are very expensive, the need for accuracy and traceability is increased.
The process has numerous checks and balances built into it, ensuring that sampling and analysis occur at key stages to ensure that clients’ formulas are being adhered to.
Traditionally, the company had used spreadsheets and other manual tools to manage its stock and control the picking process, leading to inaccuracies and non-conformance to formulas. As the business grew, it became imperative to move to a digital system that supported better control and visibility across the entire warehouse and manufacturing process, and reduced turnaround times on fulfilling orders.
A related requirement was batch traceability, the ability to trace and control raw materials, work in progress, and finished products through all stages of the manufacturing supply chain, including planning, materials management, production and distribution.
A final requirement was overall visibility and proper production planning. The new system would have to support streamlined processes within the warehouse, incorporating a structured workflow from the time stock arrives at the warehouse up to the point it is despatched to the client as part of a finished product
“Sensory FX’s business is hugely dependent on the ability to manage small amounts of often expensive raw materials to a high degree of accuracy across a complex manufacturing process,” said Rina Redelinghuys, Executive Projects & Services at CQuential.
“The business case for a process-driven WMS that integrated into the manufacturing process was obvious, and the benefits have been substantial.”
CQuential implemented its Warehouse Management System (WMS) to replace the old manual system. The WMS covers the full range of warehouse functions within the new Sensory FX facility as well as integration into Sage Pastel.
These include: receiving; batch registration; quality-controlled release of approved raw materials; manufacturing; put away to identified warehouses; stock takes; replenishments from raw materials to work-in-progress area; planning and release of manufacturing batch cards; picking; completion for manufacturing instructions according to the bill of materials; quality-control sampling approval; checking and despatch.
The CQuential WMS has played a key role in helping Sensory FX exploit the potential of its warehouse facility. Some of the key benefits delivered by CQuential include:
“CQuential’s warehouse system has helped us improve our manufacturing and warehousing processes greatly,” added Francois Strydom, Operations Director of Sensory FX.
“In particular, we have reduced our stock losses by 12% over the past seven years.
“Increased efficiency not only means reduced costs but greater accuracy in compiling orders, and thus much better service to our customers.”
CQuential continues to provide hosting and support for the WMS, along with consulting help for new projects. One of the current projects involves automating the Certificate of Analysis that has to be completed for each batch of product. The team is currently also investigating better ways to provide recommendations, solutions and improvements to the WMS as the Sensory FX team identifies new requirements and refinements.
Source: Intelligent CIO