CASE STUDY: Improving Productivity, stock accuracy and efficiency for TrafFix Devices, Inc.
TrafFix Devices, Inc. is a 34-year-old manufacturer of traffic control devices and crash attenuation products that save lives on the world’s highways. Based in Southern California, their products are designed and engineered to meet the highway requirements of countries all over the world.
With a distribution network spanning the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South Africa, Mexico and the Middle East, TrafFix requires streamlined productivity, high stock accuracy and most importantly, efficiency. On evaluation, TransLution™ Software ticked all the boxes – a comprehensive, configurable solution using barcode scanning and RF functionality from the point of receipt through to put away, transfers, manufacturing, order processing, pick and pack and dispatch with speed and accuracy.
How TransLution™ Works
TransLution™ is a warehouse management tool that uses barcode labels, hand-held radio-frequency scanners and touchscreen terminals to record and track the movement of every product and component in a factory or warehouse environment.
Data is captured through a very simple user interface on RF scanners during each step of the workflow process. TransLution™ relays this information to the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software in real time, making certain stock records in the ERP software match what is physically available at all times. Errors are reduced and the company benefits from active monitoring of daily operations.
It was decided to implement the project using a multi-phased approach, to ensure successful user adoption. The initial phases included standard warehouse functionality which was then extended to include processes to assist with production. Some of the process highlights are described below.
- Handheld scanners running TransLution™ Software are used to receive stock and all scanning is validated to ensure only valid items are scanned. The receiving clerk verifies the items on an EazyTouch terminal, before posting the receipt data to SYSPRO which generates a GRN.
Sales Order Picking and Packing
- Sales orders are presented in priority order on EazyTouch for Supervisor selection and assignment to pickers. TransLutionTM uses messages on the scanner to direct the picking process. As items are picked they are added to a Syspro Dispatch Note to ensure stock accuracy. Importantly, TransLution™ tracks how long each pick takes by device, by employee.
- Once a sales order is fully picked, TransLutionTM manages the packing and checking process and TransLution™ prints a packing list for the shipment detailing the items in each box, the dimensions and the weight.
- TransLution™ is also used to assist in production. TransLution™ verifies available stock for all items in the bill of materials before releasing the job to the warehouse for picking. Pending jobs are presented on an EazyTouch terminal by priority for supervisor selection and assignment to pickers. It is possible to pick items for one job or for groups of jobs and as with Sales Order picking, the scanner directs the users to the required bins when picking items for jobs. As the items are picked they are issued to the appropriate Syspro job. TransLution™ handles exceptions such as returning unused stock or picking extra when stock has been damaged.
- A job receipt is posted to Syspro, by box or by individual items with serials if required.
TrafFix tells us that one of the biggest improvements to their processes was transparency. They have written SSRS reports using TransLution™ tables that run on 60 second refresh websites. These are up on screens to show the status of job and sales order picks. Not only can they see them on the screen, but they can also log into them on a phone to see what the team is up to, and how much work there is out on the floor.
This means that shipping members can go to the shipping screen, for instance, and see all of the sales orders that are ready for packing. Pickers can see what is pending for sales orders, and work to ensure the screen is clear at the end of the day. They have also integrated some of the TransLution™ information into some Syspro views. This allows the Customer Service team to look at the Sales order query and see the status of a TransLution™ pick. Before they did this, they were relying on a paper based process and had to make phone calls to see the status of any given order.
“Also, one of the biggest improvements was accuracy. With paper, inventory was always off due to the timing of the transactions. We used dispatches so it would dispatch all the product before the pick – so inventory would be in a location physically but not systematically. If someone picks from the wrong location, it threw off our inventory compounding problems. Jobs on the other hand were processed after the pick – so inventory would show systematically and not be there physically. And if pickers failed to write down the correct locations they picked from, our inventory would be off in those bins.” – Coren Jurgella – TrafFix Warehouse Manager.
TrafFix is in the process of implementing TransLution™ at their Iowa branch. After this is completed they will be returning to California and implementing a Labor Tracking project which will allow them to post information about how many hours were worked and by whom to Syspro jobs.
TrafFix Devices, Inc. is a 34-year-old manufacturer of traffic control devices and crash attenuation products that save lives on the world’s highways. Based in Southern California, their products are designed and engineered to meet the highway requirements of countries all over the world. To read more about TrafFix visit https://www.traffixdevices.com/
TransLution™ Software was developed to assist manufacturing, warehousing and distribution companies to better manage their business processes and reduce cost of operation. The TransLution™ product is particularly focused on robust integration to customers’ existing ERP, accounting and stock management software for a wide range of transactions. TransLution™ is distributed in North America, Africa, Europe and Australasia.