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Warehouse with many products on shelves

Furniture Suppliers Kettle Interiors

Background

Kettle Interiors are trade-only furniture suppliers to the building industry, and have logistics centres in Vietnam and the UK.

Kettle Interiors Website Screenshot

Why did Kettle Interiors need an Optima WMS?

Kettle Interiors recently added a new warehouse onto their showroom in Corby, Northamptonshire, and required a WMS to help manage stock storage and availability.

Due to rapid business growth, their warehouse was being filled as it was built.

This meant that getting a WMS in as soon as possible was critical to help locate stock and allow staff to pinpoint exactly where goods are to save time searching for it manually.

What did Optima do?

Because the warehouse was being filled as it was being built, the requirements gathering stage was done immediately after the project was given the green light.

This enabled us to to quickly determine a thorough road plan of what was needed.

This plan included:

  • Bespoke putaway and picking rules to meet the locations in the Kettle warehouse
  • Support of RF scanning technology
  • Replicating this setup in their Vietnam warehouse
  • Receipt/order imports and exports

Kettle Interiors use Very Narrow Aisles (VNA), where the racking is extremely close together.

This requires special narrow fork lift trucks which are used to pick up and deposit pallets in pick-and-drop locations, and then normal fork lift trucks take the pallets to and from these locations.

How were project priorities determined?

The project was split into three phases, to ensure Kettle Interiors could experience the benefits of a WMS as quickly as possible.

Focussing on getting the Corby warehouse up and running first, was a priority, in order to get an accurate picture of the stock currently in storage.

Both Optima and Kettle Interiors worked flat out to collect all the data needed.

This included:

  • A large number of products and kits to record
  • A new VNA warehouse that needed locations to be named and barcoded
  • Wi-Fi access to be implemented into the whole warehouse
  • Rules to be built to restrict locations to a products size
  • A full stock check to be planned and carried out

Thanks to the hard work of both parties, Kettle Interiors saw their new Optimiser WMS up and running within 6 weeks of the initial requirements gathering, and instantly could see the benefits.

The RF scanners ensured that all items received and despatched were the correct ones as any incorrect barcodes would be flagged up for the warehouse staff to query.

They also allowed the VNA driver to take pallets from the inbound drop off point to the closest possible location while reserving location space for other pallets.

This reduces the number of aisles the VNA forklift needs to visit and so speeds up the putaway process.

What happened next?

Once the Corby warehouse was up and running it was time for Phase 2, the Vietnam warehouse.

Time constraints were still very slim, but the biggest challenge by far was to translate the RF application into Vietnamese.

While the translations were provided by Kettle Interiors, the characters used in the Vietnamese Language are part of a special group of characters which meant that we needed to redevelop sections of our scanner application to support them.

We also had to be on-site in Ho-Chi-Minh City to support their training and go-live.

Other challenges in Vietnam included:

  • Different putaway and pick rules for the warehouse taking into account the varying sizes of racking locations
  • The data flow from the factory to Vietnam,
  • From Vietnam to the Corby Warehouse or to different end points

Results

Immediately after Go-Live, staff could instantly locate and pick products at the few clicks of a button and entire container loads of goods could be picked much quicker.

Previously, hours were spent searching the warehouse for the right stock by sight alone.

What’s next?

With the Corby and Vietnam warehouses up and running, we are now looking at Phase 3.

This involves managing the pick face locations back at the Corby warehouse and integrating with a number of software platforms Kettle Interiors use for sales and invoicing.

This will allow Kettle Interiors to quickly see what goods are moving the fastest, which ones are not selling so well, and keep the front of house fully stocked at all times.

Thanks to the hard work of Kettle Interiors and Optima, Kettle can see what a big difference an effective WMS can have on their business, and the benefits it can bring.

They are keen to help us make their warehouses in Vietnam and Corby even more effective and efficient, to save more time and money.

Optima Comment

“This has been a really rewarding project for all involved. I’d like to thank everybody from Kettle Interiors and Optima who worked so hard to get this up and running so quickly.

It’s so rewarding when our customers can immediately see just what a difference their new WMS makes, and we’re looking forward to contuining working with Kettle Interiors to help them make their warehouse more efficient and effective.”

Curtis Bridge, Optima Projects Team