Established in 1985, Waterline (part of the Crown Imperial Group) is the UK’s largest independent kitchen supplier. With a diverse product portfolio, Waterline supplies the best in kitchen furniture, appliances, sinks, taps and other kitchen products to a broad network of kitchen fitters and retailers across the UK. Waterline’s primary warehouse measures over 5,000 square meters, stocks an estimated 27,000 products and provides kitchen designers and fitters with personalized customer kitchen plans. Each plan needs to be quickly and accurately completed with the correct furniture, fixtures, fittings and accessories.
While using a WMS, Waterline wanted to increase customer service by preventing miss-picks and, as a consequence, returns. At times, miss-picks could represent as much as 10% of all picking activity. Martin Head, Director at Crown Manufacturing explained, “Each miss-pick means returning, restocking, and reissuing the item.” This activity impacts not only warehouse productivity and efficiency, but also directly impacts customer service. Customer service is a priority at Waterline as Head explains, “it’s about getting it right the first time and every time; for our customers and ultimately the British households they serve. We wanted a system to ensure that every detail, down to the last handle, was exactly what the customer ordered.”
Crown Imperial met with Datalogic to discuss its requirements and was quickly impressed with the Falcon™ X3 mobile computer. Datalogic’s collaboration with long-term partner GSM Barcoding meant the total solution could be delivered using a custom configuration for Waterline. The configuration incorporated 2D bar-coding, stock traceability, and a new wireless network.
Every item in the warehouse has a unique 2D barcode code that contains information regarding the item: description, color, weight, batch data and production/manufacturing dates. When an order is generated, the Falcon X3 mobile computer is used to scan, pick, and package the order. The order is then given a separate unique 2D code, which includes all the product data and a ‘link’ in the system to the particular items in that order.
The new system completely eliminates the possibility of human error and creates full traceability of every item in every customer order. Pallets of various items can now be scanned with one barcode. Returns due to miss-picks no longer exist and other returns can be checked and traced quickly. Any potential ‘batch issues’ are isolated and corrected.
Mr. Head explained his delight at Datalogic’s solution, “at Crown Imperial, we have always used Datalogic devices in our warehouse and production facilities. We have found the Powerscan™ industrial scanner to be ultimately reliable and a great investment. Now we are using the advanced Falcon X3 mobile computer to improve our operations and have seen an immediate return on investment.”
Customer: Crown Imperial Group (Waterline)
Industry: Retail/Specialty Retail
Application: Warehouse Management
Datalogic Products: Falcon X3 mobile computer and Powerscan industrial scanner