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 This initiative gave Wigwam Mills a chance to replace multiple outdated PC-based transportation and warehouse management systems.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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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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