The Problem: Golf cart maker Club Car needed warehousing software and it needed it fast. Last May, the company decided to end its relationship with a 3PL and bring its receiving, staging, and sequencing functions back in house. It found a suitable warehouse for lease about 15 miles from its manufacturing plant in Augusta, Ga., but that left the question of what warehouse management software (WMS) it would use to run the operation.
Customer: Club Car (a division of Ingersoll Rand)
Primary business: Manufacturing golf carts, utility carts, and other electric vehicles
Headquarters: Augusta, Ga.
Supplier: RedPrairie Corp.
Solution: RedPrairie's On-Demand Warehouse Management solution
What Club Car needed was an application that not only offered receiving, staging, and sequencing functionality but could also be integrated with its Oracle enterprise resource planning, manufacturing planning, and financial systems. And with a September start date for the new arrangement looming, the software had to be something Club Car could get up and running in a hurry.
The Solution: Club Car found the answer to its problem in RedPrairie's On-Demand Warehouse Management solution. As the golf cart maker saw it, the system met its needs on all counts. To begin with, the software offered the functionality Club Car was looking for. And because it's delivered on an on-demand basis, the app promised quick and easy deployment as well as hassle-free integration with Club Car's other systems.
In fact, that promise of quick and easy deployment is one of on demand's primary attractions for users. Under this business model, the user essentially "rents" an application from the vendor, which hosts the software on its own servers. The user obtains access to the application via a standard Web browser; there's no software to install or maintain, and there's no need for costly integration work. As a result, on-demand software deployments typically can be completed in a matter of weeks or even days.
In Club Car's case, deployment was as quick and easy as promised, says Tracy Vance, the company's chief information officer. "It really was perfect for us," says Vance. "And it was easy to implement quickly. That was the primary driver for us."
It also proved to be a good decision financially. With on-demand solutions, users avoid the hefty upfront costs of buying software licenses; instead, they pay relatively modest monthly or usage fees. Vance estimates that his monthly fees over five years will be about one-third of what he'd pay for a traditional warehouse management system.
As for how it's working out to date, Vance says he hasn't had any problems using the system remotely. However, he does not yet know whether this will be a long-term solution for Club Car or simply a stepping stone to something else.
"It has been a good solution for us so far and has gotten us from A to B," Vance says. "But our goal is C. Will it get us to C?"
He also admits to some concerns about what he sees as a still-unproven business model—one that forces the user to rely on someone at a remote location to ensure the system won't go down when the user needs it most.
"The most important thing for me is for it to be there when I need it," Vance says. "I will be anxious to see where they take ... this product in the future."
So far, however, the WMS appears to be making the cut. Where performance in concerned, Club Car has found the on-demand system to be on par with traditional warehouse software offerings.
Editor's note: At some point, almost everyone needs to call on outside expertise—a consultant or a product/service supplier that can bring experience with other companies to bear on your situation. That's why we're launching our new "ProblemSolved" feature this month. Each of these brief case studies highlights a logistics- or warehouse-related problem experienced by a company like yours, and explains how a supplier worked with that company to resolve it. We hope these examples will help you figure out how to make your thorniest problems history.