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Nevis Marketing, one of the UK’s leading importers and distributors of motorcycle clothing and equipment, has completely transformed the efficiency of its business since it adopted MACSwms advanced warehouse management six years ago.
The improvements the system has allowed have made such a dramatic difference to space utilisation, accuracy and management decision making, that Nevis has scrapped its plans to move to a bigger facility and has reduced its warehouse staff by 25% whilst significantly improving its customer service.
Nevis Marketing operates from its distribution centre in Ringwood, Hampshire as the sole importer for many brands of motorcycle equipment (including Shark, Furygan and Richa) such as helmets, clothing, accessories and rider-to-rider communications equipment. Over the last 30 years the company has built a strong reputation, with its network of 550 UK retailers, for excellent service and reliability.
However, six years ago, during a period of exceptional growth, the company decided to respond to a changing market in which customers, accustomed to shopping online, were increasingly requiring next-day deliveries. MACSwms was chosen to improve picking accuracy, speed of response and space utilisation. But not even Bradley Pine, the company’s Logistics Manager, could have guessed what a dramatic change the new technology would make.
Nevis stocks around 10,000 lines (Stock Control Units (SKU)) at Ringwood. Bradley explained that in the past they had a dedicated location for each SKU. Pickers relied on local knowledge to pick accurately and quickly. “This meant that we had to leave locations empty when we were out of stock,” he said. “At the same time, we had nowhere to put new stock that was coming in. MACSwms, however, knows exactly where every item is in the warehouse and so directs staff to the correct location. Now there’s no need for local knowledge and we don’t struggle for space because every location can be fully used.”
This better use of space would be valuable to any organisation. However, for Nevis, it was fundamental. Bradley explained that before the system was installed he was expecting to move to bigger premises to accommodate the rapid increase in business and had started using a bulk feeder warehouse to reduce congestion. “But I postponed the decision to relocate because I believed we would be able to use our space better with MACSwms,” said Bradley. Six years on, and despite further growth, the introduction of MACSwms has made such a difference that Nevis has no need for bigger premises or the feeder warehouse. “It’s a massive change. MACSwms has transformed our warehouse and our business. Because stock can go anywhere there’s always space when new stock comes in and the whole place stays tidy and clean.”
The clear management information provided by MACSwms helped Bradley to make this key management decision with confidence. It has also allowed him to reduce his staffing levels by 25%, through natural wastage, by clearly identifying the number of people required by the business. He has not employed any temporary staff and there has been no need for overtime. Staff are now more focussed on ensuring that the system is operated properly, recording all goods in and movements within the warehouse, rather than simply getting the orders fulfilled. Stock checks are easier too with perpetual inventory control and full checks up to three times a year with very few discrepancies. “Before we were struggling to check the stock once a year,” said Bradley.
Of course, this has also improved the accuracy of the service for customers. Bradley said that many of their lines are similar – such as black leather jackets in various styles and sizes – and it wasn’t uncommon for mistakes to happen in the old days. “Now everything is scanned out of the location so we know the items are correct,” he said. “We used to have one or two customers a day reporting errors, now it’s almost unheard of. If there is an error, we have traceability so we can see who picked it, where it came from and when it went out - we often find it was the customer’s error not ours.”
Nevis offers a next-day delivery service and, since the introduction of MACSwms, the company has been able to extend its cut-off time from 12:00hrs to 14:00hrs to provide an even better service for its customers. In addition, all customers get advance shipping notification which has reduced the number of calls into the Nevis sales office chasing orders. “MACSwms has made us much more efficient so we can cope with more volume and fulfil the orders faster,” said Bradley.
“Tony Liddar, Managing Director of MACS Software, said that Nevis was an ideal application for MACSwms. “Nevis has a high turnover of multiple items all requiring fast turnaround and absolute stock and picking accuracy,” he explained. “That is the kind of application in which MACSwms excels.”
Bradley said that the introduction of MACSwms had transformed the business at every level. “The efficiencies all feed into everything we do,” he said.
Earlier this year, following a devastating earthquake and subsequent cholera outbreak, MACS sent in reinforcements to get the SCMS (a delivery partner for USAID) warehouse, which despatches vital antiviral drugs, back to full operational capacity.
We all celebrated MACS Software’s 21st birthday recently with a staff trip to the Sutton Elms Go-Karting circuit in Leicestershire in order to let off a little steam. Some of the team showed a natural aptitude for thrashing around a race track – a far cry from our day jobs designing software for some of the world’s leading corporations.