Delivery System Keeps On Ticking

February 11, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — A local firm’s warehouse management system is ensuring that Timex Corp. products are being assembled and delivered like clockwork.

Provia Software, which is based in Grand Rapids, has placed its ViaWare WMS and ViaView products, for warehouse management and visibility and event management, respectively, at Timex’s main manufacturing facility in Cebu, Philippines.

The plant manufactures and distributes Timex watches throughout North America.

As a supplier to many of America’s leading retailers, Timex is utilizing the advanced kitting and assembly functionality in Provia’s ViaWare WMS to better handle the detailed assembly and packaging requirements of many of the company’s clients.

These clients want Timex to deliver watches to their stores in a “shelf ready” fashion, with the particular store’s pricing, packaging and other items already in place.

“Our clients don’t want to spend time preparing product; they want to take shipments from us and be able to place them right on the shelf,” said Steve Garrett, director of global supply chain and logistics for Timex. “Our clients require us to provide store-ready product, with pricing and security measures already in place. With ViaWare, we’re able to adhere to these requirements.”

Provia’s ViaWare WMS allows Timex to use much of the same components in stock to build the various product kits for each of those clients and keep the product in various stages of assembly until the completed product is needed.

By postponing the final watch assembly, Timex is able to reduce the number of completed watches for each client on the shelf and can instead assemble them “on the fly,” Garrett said. This allows Timex to reduce the amount of overall inventory needed to be stored in the facility.

“By using kitting, we’ll be able to reduce our overall inventory by as much as 20 percent, and be able to better handle customer compliance requirements,” he said. “Accuracy in customer compliance results in immediate bottom-line savings because of reduced penalties for non-compliance.”

The assembly of each watch is performed using a step-by-step process that is displayed for the assembler on the computer screen. Each piece and step is laid out in a standardized process, ending with the specific, completed wristwatch.

Also important to Timex was ViaWare’s ability to seamlessly tie in with Timex’s Oracle ERP system. Provia’s ViaWare WMS ties into multiple modules within Oracle 10.7, including order management, manufacturing and inventory control.

Orders for stock watches are downloaded from Oracle to ViaWare WMS as kit-to-stock orders for assembly of the wristwatches. As each watch is assembled, the component pieces used in the watch are “back flushed” to Oracle, making that inventory unavailable.

Sales orders for specific orders are downloaded from Oracle to ViaWare WMS as outbound orders, which creates a kit-to-order scenario. In this case, a wristwatch already in inventory has the final assembly performed for the specific order, making that watch ready for specific clients.

The kit-to-order process is automatically performed in conjunction with the process of picking and shipping the specific order. In this scenario, Timex has been able to reduce finished inventory stocking levels, Garrett said.

“This technology really improves inventory accuracy by 99.8 percent,” said John Clark, manager of marketing for Provia. “With this software the existence of ‘back rooms’ has really disappeared. It is configurable and has really evolved and completely changes the world of logistics.”

Offering ready-to-use products through the management software and assembly should be adaptable to many industries, according to Provia.

“Being able to tailor orders to specific clients gives companies like Timex a unique opportunity to offer higher levels of customer service,” said Provia President and CEO Ken Lewis. “Combining that with being able to lower inventory carrying costs at the same time is a strong value proposition that’s hard to beat.”  

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