Paul Nonno, Director of Distribution Operations Myers Tire Supply
We took that leap with RFgen and it really drove automation in every corner of our organization. It is a night and day difference.
- Industry: Automotive
- ERP: Oracle’s JD Edwards World A9.3
- Applications: Inventory Management, Warehouse Director, Purchase Order Processing, Sales Order Processing, License Plating, Mobile Sales App (Custom), Direct Store Delivery App (Custom)
- Improved customer service through increased inventory, order and shipping accuracy and shortened cycle time.
- Automated inventory management within distribution centers to support just-in-time methodology.
- Reduced costs of direct labor, inventory and working capital.
- Accelerated efficiency through end-to-end warehouse automation.
- Provided third-party integration and cross-platform deployment for mobile devices.
- Supported customer’s organizational goals in driving standardization and process excellence on their lean journey.
- 50-percent reduction in processing time at the receiving dock.
Myers Tire Supply’s journey began when they decided to improve customer service, reduce costs and boost efficiency. They started by establishing a lean supply chain with a centralized distribution center model. Four distribution centers were strategically placed to deliver items to 32 warehouses across the country, capable of minimizing order fulfillment time and providing a faster, optimized customer experience.
Our primary objective…was really to drive improved inventory management within the distribution centers. Our secondary objectives were cost reductions and efficiency improvements.
– Paul Nonno, Director of Distribution Operations | Myers Tire Supply
They implemented a just-in-time (JIT) methodology to align with new evolutions in the e-commerce environment in which customers of distribution and manufacturing organizations were making smaller, more frequent orders. This not only reduced on-hand inventories but created the need for increased flexibility on the receiving dock and in the picking operation.
Their management applications were holding them back. Stocking supplies and tools for every type of vehicle required an extensive inventory, which they manage through Oracle’s JD Edwards World ERP system–a menu-driven green screen application utilizing a legacy AS/400 database. The organization also lacked automation in critical areas such as the receiving dock, instead of relying on time-consuming, error-prone paper and manual business processes.
Wanting to uphold the company culture of problem-solving and process excellence, Paul Nonno, director of Distribution Operations, adopted automated data collection using mobile devices and barcode scanning to increase efficiencies in key areas.
“Our primary objective for pursuing mobile data collection for JD Edwards (JDE) was really to drive improved inventory management within the distribution centers,” recalled Nonno. “Our secondary objectives were cost reductions and efficiency improvements. I was looking to add automation at point of receipt and to be able to transact easily as material moved within the four walls, throughout order fulfillment, and onto ship confirm before passing to a carrier.”
In order to meet these requirements, Nonno realized they needed a Warehouse Management System (WMS) that wouldn’t be overly difficult to implement or maintain.
Nonno was looking for a WMS that:
- Offered directed put away and sales order pick path optimization functionality
- Managed FIFO inventory valuation and barcoding capabilities
- Enabled VMI (Vendor Managed Inventory) and consigned inventory management in warehouses
- Supported vendor receipt via EDI/ASN (Electronic Data Interchange/Advance Ship Notice)
- Integrated with LMS/TMS (Logistic/Transportation Management System)
- Provided the ability to be deployed at third-party managed facilities
Following a comprehensive review of three possible solutions, Nonno selected to implement RFgen Mobile Foundations for Oracle’s JD Edwards, a mobile application development platform that includes a suite of 100+ pre-written, pre-tested Oracle-validated mobile apps specifically tailored for JDE. RFgen Mobile Foundations delivered on-demand mobile capabilities to Myers Tire Supply employees using barcode scanners and tablets–both inside and outside the four walls of the distribution center.
While all three solutions had much of the core functionality we needed, RFgen really stood apart with its additional features.
– Paul Nonno, Director of Distribution Operations | Myers Tire Supply
“While all three solutions had much of the core functionality we needed, RFgen really stood apart with its additional features,” stated Nonno. “One example is license plating; not every solution could do that. I also called customer references for RFgen, and I put a lot of weight into those conversations.”
RFgen’s solutions included Warehouse Director, a WMS “lite” system that solves real-world challenges with directed picking, put away, and replenishment–without the complexity and expense associated with full enterprise-level WMS platforms. This easy-to-use, right-sized solution was a perfect fit to meet Myers Tire Supply’s many requirements and accelerate operations.
Additionally, RFgen enabled Myers Tire Supply to run mobile apps both online and offline across multiple types of mobile devices and operating systems. This cross-platform solution works on both industrial and consumer-grade mobile devices and offers support for offline workforce activities like remote or consignment inventory management, direct store delivery (DSD), or field sales/service applications.
Benefits: Achieving End-to-End Automation
RFgen helped Myers Tire Supply achieve end-to-end automation throughout their distribution centers and beyond, supporting advancements in customer service, cost reduction through standardization, and continuing growth. The resulting efficiency gains spanned the organization, improving the sales order process, automating DSD, and providing critical warehouse optimizations in receiving, picking, order precision, and inventory accuracy, ultimately reducing overall cycle time.
Inventory Control: Simpler, Faster, More Accurate
RFgen made an immediate impact on inventory management, increasing both efficiency and visibility. Both sales and operational teams gained an accurate view of inventory status at any given time because RFgen made inventory data available more quickly in JDE than before. Implementing mobile devices and barcodes put critical information into the hands of frontline team members, making it much easier for warehouse personnel to receive product in parcel or bulk at multiple locations, put away new inventory, transfer inventory between locations, and fulfill orders more precisely during the picking and packing process
Inventory tracking became more accurate with the ability to transact materials as they flowed through the facility–a critical factor in inventory control. A secondary location could be utilized for overflow with a quick scan. The addition of RFgen License Plating enabled a two-way flow of product into and out of the warehouse as well. “Before RFgen, inventory came in one door, and it didn’t transact within JDE again until it went out the other door,” said Nonno. “Now, I have tracking and traceability within my distribution centers to provide not only better inventory visibility, but also to drive improved order accuracy.”
One of the places RFgen was the biggest game changer was on our receiving dock. JDE’s receiving is a manual, paper-driven and quite lengthy process. So reducing that time by 50% with RFgen is a huge leap forward for us.– Paul Nonno, Director of Distribution Operations | Myers Tire Supply
Nonno went on to add: “One of the places RFgen was the biggest game-changer was on our receiving dock. JDE’s receiving is a manual, paper-driven and lengthy process. It would take up to four days from when something hit our dock until it was actually available in JDE. If it’s not in the system, it can’t be ordered. So reducing that time by 50% with RFgen is a huge leap forward for us.”
Automating the receiving process ultimately helped make new inventory available for sale more quickly. In addition, it provided the receiving team with additional easy-to-access data points, such as cross-reference and manufacture part numbers, item descriptions and product photos, driving “Quality at the Source” during receiving and improving overall order accuracy.
Optimization Through Intelligent Batch Picking
Since Myers’ customers placed frequent small orders, support for intelligent small parcel batch picking was ideal to improve the speed and accuracy of order fulfillment and ensure same-day shipping. Previously, picking a single order was inefficient while manually routing a multi-order pick proved difficult.
With Warehouse Director, we gained real efficiency through directed travel and the ability to pick multiple orders at once, said Nonno.
The Warehouse Director app combines orders into batches through the License Plating app, intelligently batching sales order picks by order type, weight and carrier into manageable cartloads for each picker. Then the app routes pickers through the warehouse along a single pick path optimized for maximum speed and efficiency. Traversing the warehouse in a serpentine fashion, pickers collect inventory for multiple orders without having to backtrack.
Additional efficiencies were gained by implementing reusable license plates on picking carts and introducing task numbers to eliminate the need for a consolidation zone to complete orders–an extra step.
Easy Mobile Sales Order Entry in the Field
Before RFgen, the Myers Tire Supply sales team would batch orders at the end of each day while in the field. Now, using the tailor-made mobile sales app, the sales team could easily and quickly enter new sales orders while in the field. The app also enabled users to look up items directly from their mobile tablets, including details like descriptions and photographs, cross-referenced items for promotions, and whether an order will be charged the freight. Additionally, sales professionals could show customers their invoices online, review 12-months of order and Accounts Receivable history, or capture signatures–all directly from their mobile device.
“The big opportunity with the sales app is to make placing orders easy,” commented Nonno. “If a customer places an order by 5:00 p.m., we pledge to ship it that same day. The sooner I can get that order, the better I can meet customer commitments. You can see the impact that has on my operations.”
Expanding DSD Capabilities with On-Demand Mobile App
RFgen had automated everything from the initial sales order through order fulfillment and ship confirm, but at the Southern California distribution center, Nonno wanted to take the automation one step further. In this location, some orders were delivered directly to customers, so Nonno asked RFgen to develop a made-to-order mobile app for the Direct Store Delivery (DSD) drivers.
For DSD, orders were picked, packed and staged on pallets, then loaded onto a company truck for delivery. The driver would use the DSD mobile app on a semi-ruggedized tablet as GPS features facilitated the truck’s delivery route. Then, in front of the customer, the driver could change item quantities, cancel line entries on the order, verify deliveries, capture signatures for proof of delivery and release the inventory from JD Edwards at the time of sale. If an item was canceled, an email would be automatically sent to the warehouse to inform them of that item’s return.
Following implementation, Myers was highly satisfied with RFgen. Nonno summed up the overall experience, saying, “At the end of the day, it comes down to this: JDE World is a menu-driven, green-screen application, and most organizations have made a leap forward to get more nimble applications. We took that leap with RFgen, and it really drove automation in every corner of our organization. It is a night and day difference.“
Myers Tire Supply is the largest wholesale distributor of tools, supplies and auto shop equipment for the tire, wheel and under-vehicle service industry. As a just-in-time resupply distributor, Myers Tire Supply delivers top-notch customer service by guaranteeing same-day order processing on its catalog of over 10,000 items.