“We knew we had a tight timeline and needed to leverage a partner that could help us hit those timelines. Alpine really came through for us.”
President of First Logistics
90 Day WMS Challenge
About First Logistics
Founded in 2003, First Logistics started as a Public Warehouse focused on pallet in-and-out services, with no transportation or value-added capabilities. In 2015, the company restructured and expanded its offerings to include transportation services and value-added capabilities to serve a wider range of customers, including more case pick business. Since then, the company has experienced twelve-times sales growth and dramatic increases to profitability.
First Logistics was constrained by the technology with their in-house built Inventory Control System. With the growing business came needs for more robust warehouse management capabilities. Plus, the home-grown system was dependent on outsourced partners. Productivity and space utilization also had room for improvement.
First Logistics was also facing human resources challenges with finding, training and retaining good employees. They wanted to develop hiring and training processes that would fulfill their future staffing goals and prepare the team for the new technology and processes, including gamification and digitized training tools.
First Logistics went on the hunt for a new warehouse management system, and tapped Alpine Supply Chain Solutions to lead the search for a tier-one WMS that would be the best fit. As a team, Alpine’s expert consultants have selected and implemented 6 warehouse management systems in the last 18 months.
Alpine leveraged its industry knowledge and existing tools to speed the selection process and to ensure the best solution was selected and properly implemented to maximize ROI for First Logistics. As a 3PL, First Logistics has complex distribution demands from its customers, including lot control and expiration date demands, kitting and other value-added services, and the company needed a tier-one WMS that could provide real-time inventory and daily performance updates through the customer portal.
For the first step in the selection process, Alpine identified First Logistics’ unique requirements and other drivers that were important to their business. These requirements were used to develop an RFI that was used to solicit answers and budgetary costing from ten vendors.
With that data in hand, Alpine then leveraged the HighJump WMS RFP Template as a baseline and created a customized RFP based on First Logistics’ specific requirements. Alpine sent the RFP to five vendors and offered them the opportunity to meet with the executive team and tour the facility.
Upon receiving the RFP’s, clarifying the answers and scoring the RFP responses on both quantitative and qualitative scoring, four WMS vendors were invited to perform a half-day demo of key functional requirements for the selection team.
First Logistics had several key functional requirements that are vital to third party logistics providers, including Billing Management. Two of the WMS vendors had this functionality built directly into the WMS, and the other two vendors had this as a separate module. Through the process, we also learned that two of the vendors were “Table” driven and the other two vendors were “Process” driven, or turning flags on and off.
For the final decision, Alpine took into consideration the demos, references, integration abilities, ease of implementation, the technology stack, and hardware requirements for each of the four vendor candidates. First Logistics chose to purchase Manhattan Associates SCALE WMS, and with Alpine began planning to implementation. First Logistics had a goal of bringing some of their customers live in October before the busy holiday season. With this goal, they dedicated a team to focus 100% on this project, which allowed for a shortened timeline and the ability to go live in just five months.
Alpine helped First Logistics select a tier-one Warehouse Management System in 90 days, and then proceeded to go live in five months and come in under budget. The WMS installation kicked off the first week of May and went live with the first customers in October.
“We knew we had a tight timeline and needed to leverage a partner that could help us hit those timelines,” said Bob Moran, President of First Logistics. “Alpine really came through for us.”
The new WMS provided First Logistics with the foundation to support their continued growth and provide several benefits, such as:
– Real time inventory
– Elimination of manual data entry
– Directed task management & Task-Interleaving
– Capture the cost of VAS/Kitting
– Ability to automate the monthly invoicing of their customers
– A portal for customers to place orders, check the status of orders, and validate their real-time inventory.
– Develop training processes using Manhattan’s Knowledge Management Tool
Not only was the project on-time and on-value, but it allowed First Logistics to support their continued growth and offer additional service to existing and new customers. This included the Customer Portal, where their clients could enter orders, see order status, and validate current inventory levels.
In addition to providing full 3PL services such as Order Fulfillment, Kitting, Assembly, and consolidation, First Logistics will continue to manage depositors’ inbound transportation, such as Brokerage Operation, including ocean Containers, drayage, and truckload, and will also move towards managing final mile delivery.