Ashland Specialty

Ashland Specialty Company Gets Peace of Mind with PickRight 

Ashland Specialty Company is a wholesale distributor that supplies products to convenience stores in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. They distribute many nationally known products including nickers Bars, Marlboro, and Tylenol to a delivery area that covers a 150-mile radius from their facility in Ashland, Kentucky. Accurate and efficient picking by their warehouse team has always been essential to the success of their business.

Lisa Smith, the company’s Vice President, is responsible for assuring accurate orders are delivered to the company’s customers. Despite her best efforts to achieve high accuracy, she was swamped with customer claims for picking errors every day. After carefully considering her options, Lisa began the search for a better way to pick orders. The company had been picking orders with paper and pencil for decades. She hoped that by improving the picking process she could eliminate the mis-picks and customer complaints while at the same time
improve picker productivity.

Smith evaluated many systems including the solution offered by her ERP software provider. She saw ProCat’s PickRight presentation at a tradeshow and decided to ask her industry contacts about the picking solutions they were using. To her surprise, most were already using the PickRight solution and gave it very positive reviews. Choosing a new picking solution became an easy decision for her. She implemented PickRight and one year later here is what she learned.

Picking with PickRight is Faster

Lisa found that PickRight’s fast scanning technology got staff moving. Productivity increased because the picking process is simple to learn and easy to use. Employees are directed to a pick location that is displayed on a wrist worn computer and then scan the product’s UPC code with a ring scanner. Package delivery labels print in real-time on a mobile printer that the employees wear on their hip. Because the PickRight software captures the time of each pick, it can instantly calculate pick rates for each employee. The software displays the employee’s pick rates on the wrist display screen at the end of each order. Smith found that comparing the employee’s performance to a standard motivated her pickers. They responded very positively to having a goal and getting feedback on their performance throughout the pick shift. Pick rates soared. Smith is now able to review individual picking performance with each of her pickers. “We are now dealing with facts instead of perceptions when it comes to individual performance. I love it.”

Picking with PickRight is More Accurate

With PickRight you know you have picked the right product every time. As each item UPC code is scanned, the software sounds a chime tone if the UPC matches the order, signaling to the picker that the right item has been selected. In the event of a mis-pick, a loud buzzer tone sounds, alerting the picker that a wrong product has been picked. The result is 100% accurate orders. High accuracy means no more special deliveries to disappointed customers, and a huge reduction in the number of credits that are being issued each week. The 100% accurate scanning technology eliminates the need to check and recheck orders before they leave the warehouse, saving hundreds of man hours each month. It also means that customers can have confidence in the accuracy of the orders that are being received from Ashland Specialty.

The Staff and Customers Are Happier

Improved accuracy means peace of mind for Lisa and Ashland Specialty’s customers. Less mis-picks means less customer complaints and more positive relationships all around.

On the warehouse floor, PickRight’s chime and buzzer tones give employees immediate feedback. According to employees, “This is much better than being told two days later about all the mistakes we made two days ago.” As a result of the immediate feedback, job satisfaction is up as well. “I never expected PickRight to reduce our employee turnover, but it has. A big part of my job was training new employees. Now that turnover is down and the training time for a new hire is so much less, I can focus on running the warehouse. That is a big plus that I never expected from implementing a picking solution,” says Smith.

“Our customers tell us that our accurate deliveries make doing business with Ashland a pleasure.” Lisa Smith, Vice President, Ashland Specialty Company.

PickRight Has Powerful Reporting Tools

Smith is also very pleased with the reporting package that comes with PickRight. “There are over 60 reports that we can use to manage our business. We can see products that were not shipped last night, pick rates by department or individual employee, and truck loading guides. There is also a labor scheduling report that lets me balance the labor in the various pick areas as the picking progresses. The reports are great.”

Overall, Lisa found that PickRight was well worth the capital investment. The company got 100% return on their investment in less than 12 months. ProCat’s hardworking solution reduced mis-picks by improving operator accuracy and reducing human error. It also significantly improved the productivity of the picking team. Lisa and Ashland Specialty’s customers are much happier with more accurate deliveries. According to Smith, “Our customers tell us that our accurate deliveries make doing business with Ashland a pleasure.”

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