Knowing where something is and how many are there is the heart of Logistics. When you trust your goods to a third party you believe that they will have this at the core of their operation.
At PMA we deal with a huge range of product of all different shapes and sizes and infinitely variable uses. Being specialists in Marketing and Point of Sales material we need to go beyond product codes and descriptions to properly identify some things. PMA warehouse staff need to know not only what a product is called but what it looks like. This is why we believe “Image is everything” and in this case we mean the image of the product in our database.
In developing Ares, our new warehouse receipting system the PMA IT team had to take all these criteria into account and develop a true market leading tool. This included a database tool that would capture all the information needed combined with hardware that was capable of the task and rugged enough to survive. The third piece of the puzzle was full integration with all other database functions and business processes. As nothing was available off the shelf only a custom solution could deliver.
To make the system truly flexible our IT team avoided WiFi networking and went for a 4G mobile solution. As well as avoiding data blackspots in the warehouse we become truly flexible in our ability to expand roll out to all our sites. Utilising an Android device we were able to develop tools in house that will be able to continue life well beyond the current generation of hardware solutions. Tracking items through the process is done with barcode labels from small Bluetooth thermal printers carried by team members.
The resulting system has delivered on all fronts, we are now able to provide full traceability of product right from the point of delivery, record and upload images where none exist and get items to live status for ordering in much less time. With the concurrent introduction of the Inwards Delivery Advice process our receipting accuracy has also reached an all-time high.