Company: Zebra Technologies
Submitted by: Strategic Alliance International
“The key to a successful warehouse and distribution centre is an efficient tracking system,” commented Andrew Goodall, IT & Systems Manager of Cavewood Limited. Tight control is vital to any operation which is responsible for the whereabouts of around 200,000 shipments a year. Whether being stored or transported, a system must be set up which can locate and identify products and their components with speed and ease. Without a reliable tracking device, storage and transport companies will fail to provide customers with an efficient and reliable service.
Cavewood Limited is one company which has remained on track with its service provision, one of the UK’s leading distribution specialists operating throughout Europe. Since 1962 Cavewood has expanded rapidly and now provides transport, storage, order picking and inventory control for UK exporters and importers, and operates seven UK Depots. It is an organisation dedicated to providing the highest standard of service to clients across the European Continent by consistently reviewing and updating its tracking system to meet the needs of individual customers and maintain its personnel customer contact.
To ensure continuing good customer relations, Cavewood decided to improve its PAN European integration among the many distribution centres by replacing its existing method of tracking with a more efficient and updated bar code system. It had previously relied on a system of dockets and counterfoil labels which were cumbersome and prone to human error. By using impact printers on part labels the print quality was poor and not suited to bar coding as well as being slow and inefficient.
The impact printers were failing to operate at the level the company required. Cavewood is a company which prides itself in providing an on-time delivery service and a complete organised warehouse system. The selection process for a new system was therefore of utmost importance to ensure a tracking system was chosen which would meet the expectations of the company’s reputation.
Once the company’s needs were identified, the next step was to ensure a bar code system was chosen that could increase efficiencies, improve productivity and which met shipping label compliance requirements. Cavewood therefore hired international consultants Deloitte and Touche to investigate the market and steer the company through the initial phase of the project.
Working according to Deloitte and Touche’s findings, Cavewood tried and tested a number of bar code printers before deciding Zebra Technologies’ model 105Se printer matched the company’s needs exactly. Cavewood now operates a completely integrated labelling system utilising Zebra 105Se printers supplied by ADC Barcode Systems. Each item for shipment via Cavewood is bar coded, enabling the goods to be quickly traced through the system from warehouse to consignee. The system operates in real time providing information on the location of all goods and warehouse control.
Since installing the new system, operators have found co-ordinating the whereabouts of products a much simpler and speedier task. Each item for shipment via Cavewood is bar coded enabling the goods to be rapidly traced unhindered. Plus, producing labels on a roll rather than a sheet means they are easier to handle.
The 105Se prints labels to the highest quality providing all the necessary information in both human readable and bar coded format. Improvements in the print quality creates a label which is easy to scan and clearer to read. This has minimised the amount of errors which can occur during the transportation process, increasing confidence between the company and its clients. The bar codes have also been used to improve warehouse efficiency through automatic product location and simplified order fulfilment.
By installing an on-site label printing system Cavewood can now produce labels on-demand rather than receiving them pre-printed. All incoming shipments are now automatically issued with the exact amount of labels required, bringing financial advantage in the long term. Through establishing in-house printing facilities, Cavewood can ensure it remains economical by buying and printing the exact number of labels and is not left with wasted, unused pre-printed labels at the end of a product’s life cycle.
When selecting an appropriate printer system, Cavewood not only had to consider whether it could meet the company’s immediate needs but also the long term goals. This considering factor was another reason for selecting a Zebra printer. The standard Cavewood labels can be used on all Zebra high performance XiII printers without any reprogramming. This allows greater flexibility for future upgrades, providing a system which will expand and grow with the corporation.