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Winning the service race

11 June 2015

Indigo’s WMS helps Tetrosyl increase throughput levels by 10% and save £200,000 per year.

Car care product supplier Tetrosyl ships over £120m of product into Europe and wider afield each year. The company produces approximately 5,000 SKUs, which equates to 200,000 pallets being shipped from the Oldham warehouse or Bury manufacturing sites per annum. 

To cope with its busy periods, Tetrosyl relies on having a logistics operation with the flexibility to assign dispatches to either the warehouse, or for larger orders, straight from the end of the production line.

"Our production sites and DC are located within a tight 15 mile radius and in the winter when demand for antifreeze and screen wash can be insatiable, we need the flexibility of choosing where and how to fulfill shipments from, in order to meet sales order demands on time”, says Barry Rennie, site manager at Tetrosyl.

This flexibility is important to Tetrosyl because it means they are able to avoid the need to recruit large numbers of extra workers during busy periods, representing a significant cost saving. "We might have to do a little bit of extra recruitment in the winter months but because we can ship full truck loads straight from the production line, we can manage most of the increased volume with in-house resources,” says Barry Rennie. At its peak, this means shipping in excess of 1500 pallets a day.

Infor’s ERP solution is deployed across Tetrosyl and shortly after completing this implementation; the company also added a WMS solution to manage logistics operations. Within a short space of time, it became apparent that the tool originally selected was unable to provide the breadth of functionality and operational flexibility Tetrosyl needed and the company began to seek an alternative. Limitations of the former system included poor interfacing with the host ERP system, which created information processing delays and the range of warehouse processes that could be automated was very limited.

Following a competitive tendering process, Indigo’s WMS was selected. It could integrate seamlessly with Infor’s ERP, provided a high level of out of the box functionality and further customisation, to suit the specificities of Tetrosyl’s seasonal manufacturing and distribution operations, were straightforward and cost effective. 

Prior to implementation, Indigo’s project management and development teams worked very closely with Tetrosyl’s warehouse management. This time invested meant they could ensure the specifications for each software module exactly matched their workflow processes and alterations could be built into the system from the outset.

"Tetrosyl has achieved 10% greater throughput capacity without the need to employ additional resources."

The implementation itself went smoothly and the solution was live within 3 months. In a short space of time, Indigo’s WMS improved picking speeds and accuracy by providing real time data capture and allowing picked products to be assigned a marshalling location. Prior to implementing Indigo, this shortfall in their previous WMS system created inefficiencies because time would be wasted during a large pallet pick searching for goods before they could be loaded onto vehicles for dispatch. Now, with Indigo, all products can be scanned and assigned a particular location, so that when Tetrosyl’s loaders require an order, they can go straight to the right location with no time wasted wandering around the warehouse looking for picked orders.

Multisite dispatch was another important benefit provided by Indigo’s WMS and has been key to facilitating increased capacity levels, because it allowed Tetrosyl to nominate where orders could be shipped from. "If someone places a smaller order up to a pallet of a product, this comes from the pickface in Greengate but if they order 26 pallets, this would be picked straight from the factory to minimise handling requirements and allow us to cope with the increased throughput, says Barry Rennie.

Tetrosyl’s investment in Indigo has made a significant business impact and a return on investment was achieved within 12 months. Savings were seen across the warehouse and as a result of overall improved productivity, Tetrosyl has achieved 10% greater throughput capacity without the need to employ additional resources, especially during busy winter periods. The value of this has been estimated in the region of £202,500 per annum by enabling the warehouse to increase shipments to 200,000 pallets per year and avoid extra manpower costs.

In addition, Tetrosyl’s warehouse management has real-time access to detailed productivity data for each warehouse operator to highlight process inefficiency problems and whether additional training is required. Using Indigo, operators became more accountable and set their own productivity targets based on highest performance levels achieved, which in turn, has translated into higher productivity levels across the warehouse at Tetrosyl.

"Indigo has given us a level of control we never had before. Shift managers can monitor operations at a glance from their offices, giving us the flexibility to remotely assign work allocations and control productivity levels – in this respect it’s much more effective than having management continually pace the warehouse floor”, concludes Barry Rennie.