For five decades, Florida-based Electric Supply Inc. has been distributing electrical, communications, and data-networking products to contractors, utility companies, industrial facilities, and installers all over the globe. But while the company may deal in high-tech products, it hasn’t always made use of the latest technology in its own operations. For example, until recently, the distributor was manually measuring and weighing the approximately 12,000 products it carries in order to collect data needed for storage and shipping. This both slowed up the receiving process and added an element of uncertainty to its shipping operations.
Realizing it needed to ditch the measuring tapes and find a better way to gather product data, the distributor contacted dimensioning and weighing systems specialist FreightSnap in 2019. After an extensive review of its new client’s requirements, FreightSnap created a custom dimensioning solution that would allow Electric Supply workers to measure products in, well, a snap.
To get a better handle on its new client’s products, logistics processes, and dimensioning needs, FreightSnap set up a specialized team that would work closely with the staff at Electric Supply. The team began the project by annotating the internal part numbers for each product with a generalized bar-code system that connected to the distributor’s existing warehouse management system (WMS). This was an important step since Electric Supply uses this system to determine the amount of storage space needed for each item.
The project’s next phase consisted of an on-site visit by the team to thoroughly examine all of the products. After the site visit, FreightSnap had a clear picture of Electric Supply’s operation and was able to create a custom dimensioning solution that combines the features of its parcel and pallet dimensioners.
“They really listened to what we wanted and what we were trying to do,” explained Mike Cronin, Electric Supply’s operations manager, in a release. “They were willing to work with us to design exactly what we needed.”
By all acounts, the move from measuring tapes to dimensioners was a seamless transition. After installing the customized dimensioners, Electric Supply was able to train its employees in about five minutes, according to FreightSnap, which credits the machines’ simple user interface for the smooth changeover.
More to the point, perhaps, the manufacturer reports that its client saw an immediate improvement in the accuracy of the information it gathered. By collecting the exact dimensions of each shipment, the dimensioners eliminated the need for price estimates and reweighs, FreightSnap says, adding that the distributor can now provide customers with more accurate information on outbound shipping costs than it could in the past.
A further benefit has been Electric Supply’s ability to use its dimensioners to add the weights and measurements of new stock items into its WMS—a vast improvement over the old method, which required employees to gather size and weight data for new items via a scale and tape measure, record the measurements on paper, and then manually enter the data into the system. Having accurate data on new items has helped the company make better use of its warehouse space, FreightSnap says.
As for what’s ahead, it’s appears the dimensioners will play an even bigger role in the distributor’s future. With an e-commerce store on the horizon, Electric Supply is confident its dimensioners will provide the detailed product and shipment data it needs to streamline the fulfillment process and help its business grow.