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Case Study – Automated warehouse monitoring in real time

Wilec streamlines its warehouse management with TransLution software

02 Oct 2015 – City Deep, Johannesburg

Maintaining stock accuracy, correct picking, dispatch and on time delivery are daily challenges in the warehouse and storage environments dealing with high volumes. For Johannesburg-based manufacturer, Wilec, operations are more streamlined and are yielding faster picking and accurate orders being dispatched every day, as a result of a new automated warehouse management system in place.

Wilecis a leading manufacturer and supplier of input materials to the electrical motor, transformer repair and manufacturing industries. The head office and main distribution centre is based in City Deep with further stocking distribution centres in Durban, Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg and Middelburg. The conductor manufacturing facility is located in Olifantsfontein, Gauteng.

Wilec is constantly expanding and upgrading its product range to meet the challenges of a dynamic market. With over 6000 products on offer, well-organized warehouse management is essential to maintainingservice excellence. Stock accuracy as well as efficient picking and dispatch are crucial to ensure the right product is delivered to the customer, on time.

“Stronger controls were needed when handling copper products. We wanted improved control over inventory, dispatching and work in progress,” says Varshan Mahabel, SYSPRO Administrator at Wilec.  This is wherethewarehouse management system, TransLution, was deployed to assist.

How TransLution works

TransLutionis a warehouse managementtool that uses barcode labels, hand held RF scanners and touch screen terminals to record and track the movement of every product in afactory or warehouse environment.

Data is captured through simple interfacescanners during each step of the workflow process. TransLution relays this information to the company’s ERP software in real time. This live reporting allows for immediate changes on the line. Errors are reduced and the company benefits from active monitoring of daily operations.

Warehouse management functionality

“At Wilec, each copper coil produced gets a 2D barcode with the product type and weight. When the barcode is scanned, the system records when an order is issued, the time it is picked up, it validates the products being picked against the order requirements, it monitors how long it takes to complete an order and when it is ready for dispatch.This data is relayed in real time and the system is set up to validate and respond to incoming data as needed,” outlines Rene Pattle, TransLution consultant for AfriSoft Africa.

The software has also been optimisedto monitor and report on employee performance and productivity in the warehouse – a valuable HR tool. This data assists management in identifying and rewarding top performers as well as addressing roadblocks to improved workflow or slow performance.

Implementation and customisation

Wilec’s in-house IT team took full advantage of TransLution’s customisable system during implementation.“Deploying TransLution was a straightforward process. The system was then optimised according to the functionality we most needed. We opted to integrate TransLution with our existing ERP system, SYSPRO, in order to provide users with one system to work with,” reports Mahabel.

The team customised the system to do dispatch tracking that allows the dispatch clerk to view and process transactions from the scanners in real time. “This gives users a ‘one stop shop’ to monitor and control dispatches,” adds Mahabel.

Another customisation provides real time stock accuracy for stock counts and for monthly cycle counts, where the system closely monitors the most ordered product codes on the system.

The benefits

“The entire order to delivery process is now monitored and this provides valuable data that we did not have before. As a data driven company, we are exploiting the ability to analyse ever-more detailed data available from the TransLution system – it assists in identifying bottlenecks; is an invaluable tool in project meetings; assists decision making and gives the executive team improved visibility of activity within the Wilec environment,” he states.

This data is being used to change the mind-set of the warehouse staff as short falls are addressed quickly. Accuracy of items being picked has improved and on time delivery has also improved at branches. Since implementing the warehouse management system, Wilec has picked and dispatched 13 000 orders nationally.The next step will be to integrate the TransLution Quality Control system into SYSPRO, which will improve the speed of our Quality Control testing process.


About AfriSoft Africa

AfriSoft Africa (Pty) Ltd provides advanced, customised technology solutions for the complex requirements of warehousing, manufacturing, mining,agribusiness and distribution companies. We help good companies to become great with practical, simple to use software and systems that integrate financial information with business operations resulting in measurable business improvements: efficiency, data accuracy, business control and access to business information. AfriSoft’sTransLution™ Software makes managing complex production processes in manufacturing and warehousing companies simple.


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