Following on from our recent AMS DC case study, we caught up with Adam at AMS and asked him how he and the rest of the team are getting on with their Optima warehouse management system.
We asked him what made him choose Optimiser, and some of the benefits they have seen so far.
How and why did you determine that you needed a WMS?
Before moving to Optimiser WMS, we were using a customs system which, while it controls customs movements very well, was essentially a paper based system for picking and so not the ideal warehouse management solution.
So, we determined that a proper, full-featured WMS would give us the functionality we needed and provide a more appropriate way of supporting our business growth.
When you started looking at Warehouse Management Systems, what were your requirements?
We had three main requirements:
- Firstly, we needed the ability to integrate with our automotive client’s EDI system to meet their supplier requirements.
- Secondly, we wanted RF barcode scanning to improve stock control for our fork-lift and warehousing staff, as well as manage critical warehousing processes like “decanting” stock to new pallets.
- Finally, we wanted a solution to invoice our customers automatically to save time and manual work.
What made you choose an Optima WMS?
After meeting with representatives of a shortlist of WMS providers, we narrowed our search down to just two, based on their ability to meet our particular requirements.
With further discussion and a demonstration, the Optima solution ticked more boxes for us.
We pride ourselves on our flexibility and customisation. Rather than adapting your needs to fit our WMS, we tailored the WMS to meet your needs.
Indeed, the ability to develop EDI links were of special importance for us and our customer.
The vast majority of Optima projects are measured in weeks rather than months. After successful implementation of Optimiser in your warehouse, setting up those EDI links took a bit longer, didn’t it?
We knew this would not be a straightforward project for us at AMS or for Optima. We expected and encountered many challenges along the way, mainly due to working with such a large organisation with complex EDI requirements.
The team at Optima were approachable and enthusiastic throughout, and were very quick in meeting AMS’s various needs, giving us the confidence that the project would be concluded as soon as possible.
Yes, developing the required VDA files and facilitating transfer of files by secure AS2 was a challenge the team here relished.
Now the integration is working well, was it worth it for you?
Absolutely. This bespoke work with Optima has saved us time and eliminated potential manual errors.
To our customer it means even more as integration improves their supplier score which helps secure their business contracts and can potentially open the door to more business in the future.
As well as the integration, have you seen other benefits since implementing the warehouse management system?
We’ve seen vast improvements in the speed, reliability and accuracy of supplying stock since we implemented the Optimiser system which is obviously essential for our customer.
In terms of staff, we’ve actually increased staffing levels due to an increase in work. However, I estimate that we would have needed around a third more people to maintain the same levels of service that we operate with today. So, we’re definitely more productive and efficient.
What about management reporting?
Workflow Core means our customers can receive system reports automatically, which obviously saves us time because we don’t have to email reports manually anymore.
We’re also using the Optimiser Web Portal feature so that at any time our customers can check things like stock levels and run other reports.
This is brilliant for us as it negates any time zone differences, meaning that the necessary information is available where and when it is needed no matter what time it is in the UK or abroad.
What about your old customs system? Do you still use it?
Yes, we needed to keep it, and the decision to integrate Optimiser with our customs system means that we save time by not having to manually book stock into both systems, which has proven invaluable.
Optimiser generates an import text file, which ensures our bonded stock is correctly inputted into our customs system.
Have you seen any other benefits?
We’ve found the traceability element of the Optimiser system to be extremely useful, tracking pieces through the decanting and quality inspection process.
The fact that we can now manage and report on this means we have been able to offer decanting as a chargeable service to generate more revenue.
Because of this, when any quality issues have arisen we’ve been able to identify and resolve them which has proven invaluable.
What does your staff think of their new WMS?
Our warehouse staff say that the RF system is simple to use and user friendly, so no effort to use.
Our PC users commented that the system has a familiar feel right from the off as it runs on Windows and feels similar to traditional office software.
From a management and IT perspective, the ability to have different access levels is really useful, and ensures that people only have access to the features and functionality they need.
Overall, we’re delighted that we chose to partner with Optima as the integration with Optimiser went really smoothly thanks to the work of the projects team.
Thank you! How did you find working with Optima and the Projects Team?
Working with Aaron and Curtis was easy. We immediately built a good rapport, which made the whole process straightforward and ultimately made for an enjoyable project.
We were impressed that Aaron and Curtis were so approachable and the speed with which they and the rest of the team at Optima understood, defined and met our requirements was fantastic. It shows you have a dedicated and enthusiastic team.
At AMS we like to work towards “Practical Solutions”, and this is how we saw the business fit between our needs and what Optimiser WMS provides us with.
Do you have any final comments, Adam?
We’re really impressed with how the RF scanning has helped the speed, flow and accuracy of our stock. As we’re wholly responsible for the storage of every piece, whether customs-applicable or not, this was of paramount importance.
What would you say to other companies looking at implementing a WMS?
I’d recommend that they determine their requirements, know their priorities, and work out what would make life easier for them, regardless of complexity, and then contact Optima!