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Baron Hardware modernizes their warehouse with the help of Akatia's WMS
for Salesforce, WAM.

Akatia implements WAM as Baron Hardware's next gen WMS so that their employees and warehouse operations have the tools to better serve their customers. 

AT A GLANCE

IL
USA

LOCATED

1

WAREHOUSES

Baron Hardware & Manufacturing Company was established in 1964. As a manufacturer and distributor of chain, aircraft cable, and rigging hardware fittings, they sell across many channels in North America. Some of these channels include retail, industrial distributors, MRO, and OEM customers. Some of the other product offerings include load binders, logging products, and an extensive array of snap hook accessories in many finishes such as stainless steel, zinc plate, and bronze.

 

Baron has a long tradition of working with iron and steel, dating back to 1964. Their history in the metallurgical and mechanical expertise gained over the past decades are the key factors behind the growing success of their products. They are constantly search for high-quality materials, continuous innovation, and optimization of the manufacturing processes blended with a focus on product design. These constitute the foundation of the excellence of their products. The technical solutions they implement ensure they provide user-friendly products.

 

Baron Manufacturing Company aim to continuously deliver increasingly greater profitability to their customers by bringing together uncompromising quality, unsurpassable pricing and unmatched delivery speed.

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Baron had a long track record of delivering a high quality and affordable product to their customers for decades. Their warehouse operations were the vital link to how they insured that their products made it to their customers on time and in good order.

 

Unfortunately, their legacy WMS was not matching their goals or growth aspirations and thus a change was needed. Their WMS lacked the potential for automations, and they wanted to leverage this within their warehouse space to maximize efficiency. Many of their fulfilment and picking processes for shipping were also made tedious and time consuming by their WMS.

 

Another problem facing Baron was that they were lacking critical information on their documents, and that this documentation could not be generated from their WMS. Without this information incorporated into their documents it opened Baron to the potential of fines from their customers and partners.

 

Visibility of the contents of packed items were also a pain point. Their current WMS could not verify what items had been packed into which boxes. If there was a customer query made, or else a potential error made for the contents of a package the only way to determine the contents was to completely unpackage the box.

 

The new solution needed to have high integration potential. Baron wanted to ensure that their nominated development contractor had the ability to make integrations with their e-commerce platforms and accounting software.

 

The reporting and dashboard engine for their WMS was not very robust. It lacked visibility on inventory data and did not allow for limiting inventory and warehouse information depending on the role of the employee or stakeholder. Thus, a much more reliable, robust, and configurable reporting engine was a must requirement.

 

They also wanted to have an online portal integrated into their future WMS where both suppliers and customers could manage orders, monitor order progress, and update their contact and profile information. In their current state, Baron was handling much of this type of communication manually.

 

Besides the above, add to this that their solution could not effectively scale up, it became clear that the situation was not sustainable. An alternative was required.

WAM IMPLEMENTATION

Baron isolated Akatia Technologies WMS application for Salesforce, WAM, as the solution of choice. First and foremost was WAM’s fit with their goal of consolidating their systems under their Salesforce environment and ability to deliver robust out of the box features as well as the potential for bespoke configurations.

 

Previously document generation and the information which was required was difficult to generate. WAM though has a proprietary document generator within the application. With this document generator Akatia were able to create the necessary documents that were required by Baron and pull the necessary information required for them from the WAM application. On top of this the document generator is built as a drag and drop tool. So, as the need arose for further document types, users at Baron, or their IT contractors, could create them without the need of intensive development skills.

 

WAM also has a mobile scanner application for the WMS, WAM Mobile. This scanner application is uploaded to a scanner device and then through a login, similar to a Salesforce user login, allows access to workers to be able to perform inventory management tasks, including printing of documents, all on the go. The WAM Mobile application also syncs live with the Salesforce org, and so, as tasks are performed data and figured are updated instantaneously on Salesforce. This provides huge efficiency as well as real time and accurate figures for all stakeholders and employees. Baron took full advantage of this feature and now have a completely mobile warehouse environment. Not only this, but Baron wanted to empower their workers to fulfill on orders themselves. Previously, which orders workers would fulfill on was all manager level controlled. This caused a bottleneck situation, where if a manager was not available to assign orders productivity dropped significantly. Now though workers were given access to order lists that they themselves could view and assign orders to themselves to work on. On top of this the order lists could be categorized so that more experienced staff would have a view of orders that they were qualified to fulfill on, while say trainees would have a different order list view to select from. Thus, productivity was sustained and improved.

 

The WAM Mobile application for scanners was also critical as not all warehouse staff had access to the Salesforce platform via a desktop device. The scanner application thus allowed them to perform their daily tasks, without the need of a desktop computer.

 

Baron shipped their products with parcel carriers (FedEx, UPS etc). The fees for retrieving rates could add up quickly. Akatia though partnered and then integrated with EasyPost to retrieve carrier rates, labels and tracking information. The volume of free transactions more than covered Baron’s needs, and should they exceed their limits the fees per transaction were minimal. Now Baron warehouse workers could retrieve rates as they fulfilled on orders, and print documents directly from their scanner devices. Customers could likewise choose to use their own carrier accounts and provide the necessary information to Baron accordingly.

 

Being that Baron is a manufacturer of a line of construction safety products quality control and safety mechanisms had to be in place. WAM effectively tracked lot numbers and production runs and types when inventory is entered into the WMS. Baron thus had a clear, traceable, and accurate view of all their products that were shipped, were currently in inventory, all the way back to the manufacturing process. Thus, if faulty products were ever released into the market or needed to be recalled, all the products could be traced and accounted for and returned for refund and disposal.

 

Automation potential was achieved in reviewing and simplifying inventory management processes. Previously staff were required to do a lot of unnecessary scanning tasks or procedures simply to fulfill on one order. These tasks were time consuming. Akatia instead streamlined the scanning process to reduce the amount of work involved and also applied route optimization so that workers were given the most efficient routes to fulfill the picking and receiving more efficiently.

 

WAM also has a pick and pack feature that captured all the items that would be going into a package. If a question or error occurred workers no longer had to open several parcels to see what was inside them. All they had to do now was look at the package on their scanners and they could determine if an error occurred and promptly correct it.

 

A customer portal was built through Salesforce for their suppliers and customers. Now suppliers and customers had the ability to track inventory, orders, and update information accordingly if the need arose. Baron was now becoming more customer facing and simplifying the order process, to the benefit all stakeholders.

 

WAM being a Salesforce native application also gave the added bonus of being able to create robust reports. Baron could now create in-depth, accurate, and meaningful reports to share with stakeholders and begin to take key decisions based on these insights. As well they could restrict the flow of information, depending on the employees role within the organization.

 
RESULTS

The result of the WAM implementation as their WMS was a success. Baron employees were now given greater independence in their work and a proactive mindset was established. This, all from introducing efficient workflow practices and giving their employees the tools to succeed. Warehouse workers were no longer dependent on managers to assign them their work and newer employees now had a manageable workload that would not overwhelm them. This also took a huge responsibility away from the management team, freeing them to concentrate on more important work.

 

Scanner techniques and tasks also improved by making their processes and flows simpler, while not having to compromise on any critical points important to the business. Previous hassles, like not knowing the contents of a package, were eliminated.

 

By integrating their carrier information retrieval with EasyPost, Baron was also able to find great cost savings and manage the transportation of their products through a cost effective model.

 

With the new and improved documents generated from WAM, Baron were now no longer running the risk of being non-compliant and open to financial penalization. As well these documents were made readily available to warehouse staff making fulfilment easier and smoother. Along with WAM's accurate tracking of inventory from manufacturer to customer, Baron secured their supply chain and enhanced their safety protocols.

 

Baron also achieved greater insight into their warehouse operations through Salesforce's reporting engine, and how each product was directly affecting their business. They now had a clear and accurate view of their business and could share this information in a responsible manner.

 

Finally customers were now being taken care of in a proactive approach that gave them more insight into their orders while reducing the time it took Baron to accomplish these same type of tasks manually.

 

In all Baron now had a modern and scalable solution, which they could continue to configure as new insights were gained, and which would keep up with their growth.

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OVERVIEW

Baron Hardware & Manufacturing Company was established in 1964. As a manufacturer and distributor of chain, aircraft cable, and rigging hardware fittings, they sell across many channels in North America.

REQUIREMENTS

Baron required a modern and scalable WMS solution that could be customized to their specific needs, have real-time inventory data, retrieve carrier rates, create employee proactivity and sustain productivity, compile data accurately in one environment, provide mobile scanning, support document generation and creation, and support a customer portal.

SOLUTONS

Implemented Akatia's WAM and WAM Mobile applications, introduced hand held scanner devices, integrated with EasyPost for carrier rate retrieval.