Unboxing Opportunities with Apps: Automating the Distribution Logistics Process

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Morrell offers products from world class providers in industrial automation. Everything from hydraulics to electronics and mechanicals and we deliver those products to our customers. Our order picking process was really just manual. Currently we’re printing shipping documents shippers that a picker and a packer will handle, it’ll follow the products and materials that we’re picking, and that will essentially go out the door. What we were able to do for Morrell was to uncover a pain-point for them, mostly around a paper-based process. The process now would be to have someone manually with a printed piece of paper, go through a warehouse, pick items and then scan that at the end of that process. It was prone to errors, it was all paper-based, they had to use multi-coloured paper, they made pen stokes all over the document and it was just a real problem for their logistics. OCR’ing documents, which can be problematic when you have coloured paper, or text with hand-writing all over it. Essentially it’s making the process difficult and cumbersome, costing us time. We had to have a supervisor going through the packing list as they were coming off the system and reviewing those for data accuracy. It required every document to be touched. We knew there was a better way to do it, and we found that there was an app available, that enabled us to take that paper-based process and make it all electronic, and it saved Morrell quite a bit of time. What sign me was able to do, was automate all of those steps, by implementing a tablet on one end for the picking. And an AltaLink on the other end for the packing. It captures a document that’s been released from a system, once we’ve captured it, we can do a lot of neat things with it; having it present on the user interface on the new Xerox devices, allowing for signatures and annotations on it. The only paper, is at the end of the process, a shipper or a packing slip is printed out, to move out with the product, and there’s no room for error. Everything else is automated. From a corporate stand-point, we could recognise up-to 25% in savings that’s really huge for us. We have close to a million documents in the system. It’s really a break-through technology that’s improved our processes.

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