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Increased Employee Productivity Through Automation

Tue, 06/18/2013 - 9:37am
AbeTech

Challenge

S&S Tire was founded in 1974 as a single retail store in Lexington, KY. Today, S&S Tire is one of the country’s most successful independent tire distributors, operating eight retail tire stores, eighteen commercial truck tire centers, three tire retreading plants, and ten wholesale tire distribution centers across fifteen states. They supply independent tire dealers and auto dealerships with a large variety of major brand tires. 

S&S Tire has experienced rapid growth in the past few years and needed to become more efficient in its warehouses to service growing customer demand. The lack of defined bin locations in its warehouses made locating tires difficult, time consuming, and costly. In addition, the continuing proliferation of tire brands and sizes caused an inefficient use of space resulting in workers having to travel further than necessary to fulfill customer orders. Efficiency was a serious concern and in order to continue to grow, the company had to address the situation.

Solution

S&S Tire searched for a company that had tire industry expertise, software that was tailored to work in tire warehouses, and the technical resources to support a company of its size.  In addition, since no two tire warehouses operate exactly the same, the software would need to provide maximum flexibility in how it could be configured so as to empower employees to be as productive and efficient as possible. After evaluating several software companies, S&S chose Royal 4 Systems WISE Tire Warehouse Manager. Its WISE system is an RF solution that manages the flow of product into, within, and out of the warehouse.  It includes inherent functionality for receiving, put-away, cross-docking, product location, picking, shipping, tire aging alerts, NAFTA compliance, truck loading documentation and more. WISE tracks tires from the moment they are received, directing the put-away process to best utilize available space. It eliminates the guesswork when picking orders by directing workers to strategic retrieval locations, resulting in more efficient and accurate staging and loading of tires. The WISE system interfaces with MaddenCo and other software systems for real time inventory transactions, increasing efficiencies and reducing costly data entry errors.

Royal 4’s partner, AbeTech, provided MC9190-G mobile handheld computers from Motorola. The MC9190-G scanners are super-rugged and the most widely used in the industry. Long range scanners allow workers to scan bin locations and UPC codes without leaving their forklifts. AbeTech followed a specific process to establish the settings on the scanners and configured the devices to connect with the wireless network in the warehouse and to the WISE system. All of the settings are stored on a local PC in case a device needs to be reset or replaced making it easy and quick to have a replacement unit back in operation.

AbeTech also provided Zebra 110Xi4 printers. These durable printers work 24/7 in non-climate controlled environments and while none have failed, S&S has the comfort of an on-site service contract in case the need arises.

Result

The new system allows S&S Tire to pinpoint where inefficiencies are and determine exactly how many tires are moving where and who is performing each task within the warehouse. In addition, S&S has been able to decrease headcount while also eliminating excess overtime. New hire training time has been reduced significantly and in most cases that new hire can be working independently after one or two day’s instruction.

Dan Clark, project manager at S&S Tire commented, “The new system is working very well. Royal 4 has been helpful in listening and understanding our functional requirements and tailoring the WISE system to work even better as we deploy the system at more warehouses. We now have important metrics on essential warehousing functions including employee performance, which has not only increased employee moral but more importantly improved our overall customer service. Both Royal 4 and AbeTech have played a vital role in providing us with the software, hardware, and technical support we needed for a successful project and I'm appreciative of all their help and expertise!”

For more information on AbeTech, please visit www.abetech.com

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