Wigwam Mills Knits a Seamless Shipping Experience

Wigwam Mills makes socks—thousands of them every day. They come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and styles, represented by nearly 2,000 stock keeping units. Wigwam Mills ships 350 to 500 parcels per day from their highly automated 90,000 square foot distribution center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. UPS is the primary carrier, transporting orders to major retailers including Dick’s Sporting Goods, REI, and Sports Authority as well as to several divisions of the military.

In 1998, Wigwam Mills undertook an initiative to ensure that all their IBM iSeries applications were Y2K compliant. This initiative gave Wigwam Mills a chance to replace multiple outdated PC-based transportation and warehouse management systems. The company had one PC system for picking and packing, another for logistics and warehouse location, and a third for order entry and inventory management. Maintaining multiple PC-based software systems had several disadvantages. Although the initial investment in their PC systems was low, maintenance costs were excessive. Expensive software consultants were required each time a change was needed.

To complicate matters, these systems from multiple vendors didn’t “speak” to each other. Keeping systems in sync was labor intensive and negatively impacted warehouse productivity. The shipping department needed to shut down an hour early each day to allow time for close-out.

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Waytek Celebrates Fifteen Years of Shipping Reliability with Varsity Logistics, Inc.

Waytek Inc. offers quality electrical wiring products, low prices, and great customer service to their OEM and distribution customers in the industrial, electrical, and wiring harness industries. Waytek maintains an inventory of over 5,000 products and offers same day shipping on most orders. The company ships more than 500 parcels per day via FedEx and UPS to destinations throughout North America and Europe. For over fifteen years, Waytek has relied on iSeries-based shipping software from Varsity Logistics to automate carrier selection, rate shopping, label printing, manifesting, and document production.

When Waytek purchased Varsity’s shipping software in 1989, their shipping needs were relatively simple. One shipping station could handle the company’s entire shipping volume, and all parcels were shipped through a single parcel carrier. As Waytek’s business grew, Varsity kept pace with new functionality that ensured the reliability of Waytek’s shipping processes. Today, Varsity ShipSoft-Parcel supports six shipping stations in the company’s 69,000 square foot distribution center.

“Our first solution from Varsity was a single shipping station with UPS,” recalls Bob Lamoreaux, President of Waytek, Inc. “Since then, we have added Varsity’s FedEx Ground Carrier Compliance Kit, ShipTalk, which allows us to see parcel status from any iSeries station, and SpeedWeigh, which eliminates manual ‘get weight’.”

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Total Biz Fulfillment Relies on Varsity in the Pursuit of One Hundred Percent Shipping Accuracy

Operating from a 128,000 square foot facility in Maryland, Total Biz Fulfillment provides comprehensive fulfillment services to domestic and international manufacturers in a variety of industries. The company ships to merchants such as Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s, and Toys “R” Us. Supporting these clients requires Total Biz Fulfillment to ship over 1,800 parcels per day—500 via small carrier—and strive for their goal of 100 percent accuracy, backed by a 100 percent service guarantee.

To achieve these exceptional service goals, Total Biz Fulfillment relies on IBM iSeries-based ERP software from Assist Cornerstone Technologies and Varsity’s ShipSoft shipping software. Installed in 1998, Total Biz Fulfillment’s state-of-the-art order fulfillment system replaced homegrown shipping software that contributed to inefficient order fulfillment processes and required a disproportionate level of technical resources to maintain compliance with carrier rates and regulations.

The key to delivering efficient order processing is seamless integration between their Assist Cornerstone ERP system and Varsity ShipSoft. Varsity’s flexible software design enabled Total Biz Fulfillment to successfully build their own interface between the two systems. Greg Wilburn, MIS Manager, notes, “We looked at competitive products, but we selected Varsity for their ease of integration.” Seamless integration allows Total Biz Fulfillment to accurately handle a higher volume of packages with fewer people.

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Ryan Herco Profits from Varsity ShipSoft

Ryan Herco Products is a leading distributor of fluid handling products. The company’s diverse product line includes fittings that weigh one-fourth of an ounce, 20 foot lengths of plastic pipe, and pump-lift stations that weigh thousands of pounds. These products are available for pick-up from local distribution centers or are shipped directly to Ryan Herco’s industrial customers.

The company averages 750 parcels and 100 LTL shipments per day. A Mincron ERP customer since 1991, Ryan Herco benefited from years of streamlined efficiency across their accounting, sales, inventory, warehousing, and purchasing processes. Natalee Pucher, IT Analyst for Ryan Herco, notes that they wanted the same efficiency in their distribution centers. “Each year we pick one or two key IT projects that improve our profitability. In 2002 we focused on upgrading our shipping technology.”

Ryan Herco targeted several areas to improve profitability. The first was to replace 22 stand-alone carrier stations with the performance and reliability of an iSeries-based, multi-carrier shipping software package that exchanged information with their Mincron ERP system. They also sought control over freight expense and customer profitability, and to improve the accuracy and efficiency of their shipping processes. Proven performance was the main criteria for selecting a new shipping system.

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Varsity and VAI Deliver Order Fulfillment Fit for Royal Consumer Information Products

Royal Consumer Information Products, Inc. is a leading supplier of office products, accessories, and supplies. The company ships nearly 400 UPS parcels and more than 80 Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipments each business day from ten distribution centers across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. These shipments are delivered to consumers and small businesses, as well as major retailers such as WalMart, Sam’s, and Kmart.

With its roots in the Royal Typewriter Company, founded in 1904, Royal Consumer had well established and reliable shipping processes—until their shipping software vendor discontinued support for iSeries shippers. It wasn’t long before Royal Consumer felt the impact of this decision. Faced with obsolete hardware, functionality deficiencies, and inadequate support, it was time to find a new iSeries shipping system.

“I have to credit our ERP provider, VAI, with our decision to switch to Varsity ShipSoft for our parcel and LTL shipments,” recalls John Opalka, IT Director for Royal Consumer. “VAI’s close partnership with Varsity really shows in the quality of the pre-built interface between the two companies’ software solutions and their joint commitment to our success.”

In anticipation of the switch to Varsity ShipSoft, Royal Consumer’s MIS department spent a month defining business requirements, evaluating functionality overlaps between VAI System 2000 and Varsity ShipSoft, and observing shipping processes in their distribution centers to learn how they could improve shipping productivity and employee satisfaction.

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Roland Hits a High Note with Varsity Solutions

If you’ve ever seen a live band, you have most likely heard—and heard of—Roland. Founded in 1972 in Japan, Roland is a world leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of professional audio equipment, multimedia products, and music accessories.

Roland Corporation U.S. (a subsidiary of Roland) manufactures and distributes electronic musical instruments including keyboards and synthesizers, guitar products, digital recording equipment, and other devices. Roland U.S. is an industry leader with a sales volume of $200 million and approximately 3,000 dealers throughout the U.S. With a requirement to ship over 1,100 parcel and 30 freight shipments a day and process about 135 transactions per hour.

Roland U.S. needed a shipping solution that was fast, flexible, and stable. The company had been using an iSeries-based shipping package to meet their core needs but their vendor announced plans to sunset their iSeries product in order to concentrate on their PC-based product. Already realizing the benefits of integrating their iSeries shipping solution with their IBS iSeries-based ERP, Roland U.S. began looking for a new vendor to satisfy their shipping requirements.

“We were dedicated to the iSeries platform,” said Kim Wright, Operations Manager at Roland U.S. “We knew the iSeries was not only a work horse, but was very stable, easy to maintain, and could support the future growth of the company

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Kwik Goal Scores with Shipping Software from VAI and Varsity

Kwik Goal is known for its tough soccer equipment. The company ships soccer goals, balls, and accessories to 2,000 dealers across the United States. During the summer peak season, Kwik Goal ships over 250 parcels a day from their 86,000 square foot warehouse in Pennsylvania. Most of the company’s shipments ship via UPS. For several years, Kwik Goal relied on the UPS PC-based shipping software, including UPS MaxiShip, UPS Online, and UPS WorldShip. However, as Kwik Goal expanded operations, they were hampered by the limitations of their carrier-supplied software.

With each UPS directed upgrade, Kwik Goal needed to make modifications to their VAI interface. These software code changes cost several thousand dollars a year and required MIS support throughout the switchover week. In addition, the UPS software could not be customized to fit Kwik Goal’s unique shipping processes.

Another major concern with the UPS PC-based software was the data disconnect between the PC-based system and the IBM iSeries. Information on processed orders relied upon batch uploads to the IBM iSeries at the end of each day. Without company-wide access to real-time shipping information, customer service suffered.

A VAI customer for eight years, Kwik Goal wanted an integrated IBM iSeries shipping system that matched the reliability and feature functionality of their VAI System 2000 order entry, accounting, billing, and manufacturing software.

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Franklin Machine Products Obtains Five-Star Customer Service with Varsity Shipping Software

Franklin Machine Products (FMP) was founded in the early 1900’s as a manufacturer of components for coffee urns. Today, with an inventory of over 8,000 food service equipment parts, FMP is one of the largest wholesale distributors of food service equipment parts in North America. The company ships over 1,000 UPS parcels per day of time-sensitive parts to customers throughout the United States and around the world.

FMP credits their eight decades of continuous growth to an unwavering commitment to exceptional customer service. Fast, accurate parts delivery is critical to maintaining customer satisfaction. “We promise our customers that if we receive an order by 5:00 p.m., it will leave our warehouse the same day,” notes Bob Fisher, FMP’s IT Director.

Delivering on their customer service promise required several information technology investments, starting with an IBM iSeries server. Next, FMP deployed DPS Extend’s enterprise resource software to run their inventory management, order placement, customer service, and accounting departments. With their core business functions fully automated, the company turned their attention to eliminating their shipping bottleneck. FMP selected Varsity ShipSoft-Parcel to replace a labor intensive, stand-alone UPS shipping station. Designed for the iSeries, ShipSoft-Parcel enabled FMP to leverage the reliability of their iSeries and integrated seamlessly into DPS Extend.

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Varsity Logistics Helps Blackman Keep Pace with an Ever Changing Shipping Carrier Landscape, and Implements Integrated System Shipping in 60 Days!

Company Background

Back in 1921, Sam Blackman opened a small plumbing supply shop in Brooklyn with the promise of offering the best products for the best prices, with a firm commitment to the trade. Today, Blackman has grown into one of the nation’s largest family-owned and managed suppliers of plumbing, heating, industrial, waterworks and HVAC equipment. With 24 fully-stocked branches and showrooms located throughout the metropolitan New York area, Blackman has become a convenient, reliable resource for today’s building and remodeling professionals.

Business Goals

The company’s goals include being the most convenient, reliable resource for today’s building and remodeling professionals.

Challenges

Over the years, Blackman Plumbing has experienced significant growth. As the industry shifts and the customers become more demanding, companies of all sizes struggle to keep up. This was the case for Blackman Plumbing who was consistently growing and adding new branches. Another issue facing the company was the manual effort that went into moving shipping data from the carrier provided software solution to the back office ERP software solution (Mincron). The two solutions were on different hardware platforms, adding yet another level of complexity to the issue.

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Allen-Edmonds Improves Shipping Processes with Varsity

Allen-Edmonds manufactures and markets fine handcrafted men’s footwear. Through the company’s Woodlore division, they also manufacture aromatic cedar products for shoe, apparel, and accessory storage and care. Allen-Edmonds ships between 900 to 1,500 parcels a day from four distribution centers to company-owned retail stores, e-commerce customers, and the showrooms of elite retailers around the world. Each pair of shoes and every product is backed by the company’s unwavering commitment to complete customer satisfaction.

Delivering this level of service requires exceptional operational processes. Allen-Edmonds realized they had reached the upper limits of their shipping system’s capabilities. Their PC-based system topped out at 900 packages a day and contributed to an inefficient shipping process where shipping specialists were required to manually verify package contents and type shipping labels. This process was slow and error prone, taking an average of about five minutes per order. At that rate, the warehouse had a tendency to get backed-up on high volume shipping days. In addition, without an interface to the company’s iSeriesbased ERP system, ABS, they were unable to obtain real-time package status.

Allen-Edmonds recognized they were missing an opportunity to leverage their IBM iSeries investment.

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