Ashland Cold Storage Deploys Logimax WMS to Keep Pace with Ever Increasing Customer Demand
Company Profile: Ashland Cold Storage, Chicago, IL
Industry: Public Refrigerated Warehousing
Logimax Products: Logimation
Warehouse Space: 225K sq ft, 6 million cubic feet
Ashland Cold Storage is a full service public refrigerated warehouse and local transportation provider strategically located in Chicago, IL. Ashland has 200,000 square feet (6 million cubic feet) containing 20,000 racked positions of refrigerated warehouse space offering blast freezer, freezer, cooler and certification capabilities.
The company’s goals include providing the highest quality and widest breadth of services at competitive pricing thus reducing transaction costs and improving efficiency. Their commitment always is to focus on clear objectives, flexibility and, above all, results.
The companies warehousing challenges were rooted in the fact that they were running a legacy Warehouse Management System (WMS). The older antiquated software had actually been a package solution that was so heavily customized over the years that it became cost prohibitive to add new technologies like RF or Web Portal capabilities.
The challenge was to find a solution that would provide the same level of service and flexibility Ashland was accustomed to, while minimizing the IT expense by maintaining the current hardware platform infrastructure.
With a team coordinated by Michael Hansche, Director of Operations for Ashland, and consisting of both Operational and IT staff, they proceeded to identify and define their key functional requirements, taking into consideration how to work within their IBM i platform infrastructure. To accommodate their infrastructure requirements Ashland needed for the solution to reside directly on the IBM i server making all of the warehouse information available in real time to all users in the organization, as well as their customers. To accommodate the flexibility requirements, Ashland had to be assured that the new solution was agile enough to add new technologies.
“The new WMS solution needed to handle our volumes, and provide us with the flexibility to expand into RF and a Web Portal environment” states Mike. The solution also needed to make analytical KPI metrics information available and accessible to management.
With the solution requirements clearly defined and identified the Ashland team began their search for a WMS solution that would fit their needs at the infrastructure level while providing the flexibility to expand using new technology. Initially, Ashland researched what other companies in the same industry deploy for an integrated WMS solution, and spoke to his many contacts at WERC (Warehouse Education Resource Council), a trade association that he had been involved with for many years. The company also spoke to their hardware contacts at IBM, and it became clear that Logimax was a solution that should be considered.
Mike explains “the two main points of criteria were weighed by the team at Ashland, but we looked closely at things like usability, support and, of course, the price. From a functionality standpoint, the Logimax WMS software addressed all of the companies’ requirements with little need for customization, and ranked very high in ease of use. In discussions with the LMX customer references we spoke to, the support team received high marks, and finally the Logimax solution was competitively priced”.
Logimax offers a full range of professional services including installation, setup, testing, training, customization, and project management, so along with their own internal IT staff, Ashland devised an implementation plan and rollout within 90 days of the start of the project. John Manton, Director of Professional Services for Logimax says “Ashland has a very talented staff of experienced and dedicated people. They were able to execute a successful implementation, on schedule and within budget by relying on the technical and user documentation, and by leveraging Logimax’s support and training.
Results and benefits
As Ashland continues to grow, the Logimax WMS Solutions have the scalability and flexibility to grow with the organization. With the need to process hundreds of orders a day from its distribution center in Chicago, the Logimax solution proved to be the industry specific solution Ashland required.
Michael adds “It’s important because of what we do, that our warehouse be efficient, and able to handle our customers’ requirements and volumes, and, with the Logimax WMS solution, we are able to maintain that level of efficiency.”
For any company to successfully and continually provide the highest quality and widest breadth of services it must reevaluate procedures and implement process improvements periodically. That being said, Ashland has embarked on implementing the latest release of the Logimax solution to further enhance processes throughout the warehouse and the service level to their Customers.