As a supplier of custom wire and cable products for the military and aerospace sectors, SEA Wire and Cable Inc. is accustomed to fielding demands for speedy delivery to its 4,800 U.S. and international customers.
The firm averages 500 shipments per day from its 90,000-square-foot distribution facility, which is stocked with over 11,000 items and more than 60 million feet of wire. To fulfill each order, workers must accurately cut the wire to length and then perform value-added services such as laser wire marking, custom color coding, and kitting.
So when the Madison, Ala.-based company, which pronounces its name "S.E.A.", went to choose a warehouse management system (WMS), it had to select a system that would help it fill orders swiftly, allowing it to maintain its reputation for rapid order turnaround. Beyond that, it wanted a system that was readily customizable to its unique needs. In particular, the software would have to support the military's requirement for precise product traceability to ensure that a potentially defective product, such as wire with inadequate jacket insulation, can quickly be identified and quarantined from sale. That meant the software had to be able to maintain precise data for every item, including manufacture lot information, date and location of manufacture, and the expiration date along with any associated documents.
After considering its options, SEA chose PathGuide Technologies Inc.'s Latitude WMS. Over the next three years, the two worked together to develop enhancements that reflected SEA's unique needs and processes. As a result, the wire and cable company has been able to meet its goals while improving its inventory management, the software firm says. Among other benefits, the SEA sales team now has access to real-time data on all inventory, while the company's purchasing team sees what's in stock and what needs to be re-ordered, according to Bothell, Wash.-based PathGuide.
The new software also helped warehouse workers cut hours off the time required to verify product details for customers with special requirements, such as where the material was made, the minimum length of wire, and the regulatory revision level, PathGuide says.
"We were impressed by the number of different enhancements that PathGuide was able to tailor to our needs," Nick Meyer, SEA's warehouse manager, said in a statement. "Even simple things, like automating the labeling on the picking side, have made a huge difference. Our pickers no longer need to handwrite everything, so it's much more professional. And when a customer requests an urgent overnight shipment, our team can instantly relay information about availability to ensure rapid response."