'Dynamic Pick Slotting' for Material Handling Enables Timex to Ship Directly to Stores Worldwide from a Single Distribution Center

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A unique Numina warehouse management system module profiles customer order characteristics, enabling replenishment of primary pick modules for quick fulfillment of next-day orders directly to stores around the globe.

If demand for certain style watch exceeds forward storage inventories, the inventory is automatically replenished from a secondary, or reserve, pick location.

Visionary manufacturers are always looking for innovative ways to conserve on material handling costs, improve productivity and increase customer satisfaction. Timex Corp has hit a grand slam that covers all those bases via an advanced warehouse management system module.

This unique warehouse management system (WMS) module, in combination with a pick-to-light system and other highly efficient order handling processes enables Timex to serve the globe JIT from a single manufacturing and packaging facility located in Cebu, Philippines. With its unprecedented Direct Ship program, Timex now provides its customers with tremendous savings and convenience fulfilling orders on-demand by individual SKU, to its clients worldwide, especially to its vast US and European markets.

“This allows Timex to inventory various components and build watches according to style,” says Dan Hanrahan, president of Numina Group (Burr Ridge, IL), which provided much of the material handling automation system. “For example, mass merchandisers, women’s apparel and sporting goods stores each have a history of selling certain watch styles. We have developed a special WMS module that ‘knows’ the history of various retailer preferences, by watch style and sales velocity for each store location.”

Hanrahan says this smart system enables Timex to build, handle and ship watches from Cebu with extraordinary efficiency. “When integrated with the rest of the advanced material handling system, the unique WMS system not only facilitates the efficient building and shipping of up to thousands of SKUs every day, but has also reduced the size requirement of the fulfillment facility to 1/5 the size that would otherwise be needed.”

Because the Timex Direct Ship program is a JIT process, Numina was commissioned to provide a system that could re-profile the Cebu packaging and shipping warehouse dynamically.

“As daily orders are received, the WMS says what should be slotted in the three-level forward pick locations, where a pick-to-light system will pull product,” Hanrahan explains. “If demand for certain style watch exceeds forward storage inventories, the inventory is automatically replenished from a secondary, or reserve, pick location.”

After the day’s orders are fulfilled and shipped, the Timex plant begins processing the next 24-hour cycle, and the WMS then re-slots the primary and secondary warehouse pick modules accordingly.

Andrew Ledesma, manager of the distribution engineering and worldwide transportation at Timex says that there are a lot of ramifications to the new Times Direct Ship program. “If you can build on demand with the great number of SKUs Timex has, there are substantial improvements in efficiencies among the material handling and warehouse systems involved. In the end, these improved efficiencies and accurate through means successful order filling with significantly lower costs.”

“The Direct Ship program is no doubt viewed as highly beneficial by the many major chains who carry the broad line of Timex watches,” adds Dan Hanrahan. “As a result of the Direct Ship program, the stock of each individual stores is replenished on demand within 48 hours, rather than bulk shipments going to a chain’s regional distribution center where the products have to be inventoried and then re-handled whenever orders have to be shipped to individual stores. The savings in warehousing, material handling and re-shipping could be stunning.”

For more information: Dan Hanrahan, Numina Group, 60 Shore Drive, Burr Ridge, IL 60527. Phone: (630) 323-0110 x 404, or visit the Web site: http://www.numinagroup.com

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