Reeling in Results
Beaver Street Fisheries Dramatically Improves Warehouse Efficiency and Accuracy
Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., Beaver Street Fisheries is a leading wholesaler of seafood and meat, selling its products to mass discounters, grocers, distributors, food service companies and restaurant chains. Each year the company imports more than 3,000 containers of seafood products from Asia, which are distributed across North America under the Sea Best brand.
The company also does some light manufacturing based on special customer requirements such as breading seafood, resizing it or repackaging it. “In terms of special processing requests, our customers were asking us to do more, quicker. Our 25-year-old homegrown legacy system was no longer able to keep up with these requirements,” said Scott Lane, chief information officer for Beaver Street Fisheries. “We started looking closely at the supply chain fundamentals — the warehouse and transportation systems — that would position us to respond to customer needs very quickly.”
Beaver Street Fisheries sought supply chain management solutions with state-of-the-art technologies and processes that would enable it to manage its operations on a scale that was previously not possible. It decided to implement JDA Software's solutions for warehouse management, warehouse labor management, transportation management, quality assurance, inventory traceability and recall.
The company chose to partner with JDA because of its proven experience in the food and beverage industries. “We visited a food service leader that was using JDA solutions. They coached us along, and that helped us tremendously in our decision to partner with JDA,” said Lane.
Beaver Street Fisheries
Founded in 1950 as a small local store with one delivery truck, Beaver Street Fisheries is a seafood and meat supplier for food service, wholesalers, retailers, distributors and national chain accounts. Beaver Street Fisheries is a recognized leader in the seafood industry, and along with its sister company Tropic Seafood, it provides customers with one of the largest seafood offerings in the United States. Beaver Street Fisheries employs more than 350 people at its 185,000 square-foot frozen food storage facility in Jacksonville, Fla.
Increase operational efficiency, accuracy and customer responsiveness in its warehouse operations.
Setting Sail With JDA Services
Beaver Street Fisheries decided to focus first on implementing JDA Warehouse Management. With support from JDA Services, the implementation in the company's 185,000 square-foot warehouse took only 12 weeks.
“When deciding to go with JDA Warehouse Management, we challenged the JDA team. We told them, ‘The reason we're making this decision to buy software is because we need a solution right now,'” recalled Lane. “We had the director of JDA Services walk through the facility with us and jointly come up with a timeline that met both of our requirements. The time to value was quick because the JDA consultants were on-site, working side by side and training our team.”
The company achieved the 12-week implementation in part because of the level of expertise JDA Services brought to the implementation. “Our implementation consultant from JDA Services came out of operations, so we had someone on-site who had an operations background and had learned the product inside and out,” added Lane. “He offered alternatives. He discussed the pros and cons of the decisions we were making. That helped us tremendously in making much better decisions in our setup, configuration and deployment.”
Riding a Wave of Increased Productivity
The 12-week period of collaborating with JDA set the stage for rapid results. “In our warehouse operations, we knew we had the potential for some easy wins with the new JDA solution,” said Lane. “We were running an old school, paper-based, pick-ticket warehouse. Our employees would rifle through the pick tickets, choose one that they thought was easiest, and off to the warehouse they would go.”
Visibility was a key issue for the company, and it affected productivity in the warehouse. “We couldn't see what the workforce was doing,” he continued. “Employees had up to 10 locations where they might find the product. They were spending anywhere between five and 20 minutes looking for the product to fill the order.”
Today, thanks to JDA Warehouse Management, Beaver Street Fisheries has a broader view of the activity base across the warehouse. “Instead of looking at activity from a pick-ticket perspective, we view everything as a task. We can see what employees are doing. We can measure performance. Our people can do a lot more activities,” said Lane.
Warehouse employees now rely on handheld devices with a simple user interface, making it easy to get new employees up and running quickly. “In just one shift, they are fully functional on the system,” Lane noted. “Previously, there was a long learning curve. Now everything has a pallet ID that is recognized by the device. When you get a task, the handheld device says, ‘Go here. Do this.' As long as employees follow the prompts, they're much more successful at completing tasks quickly.”
An Ocean of Benefits
Beaver Street Fisheries has realized broad-reaching benefits since its implementation of JDA Warehouse Management in its Jacksonville warehouse. The company's picking efficiencies have improved dramatically. Picking tasks have decreased from an average of 10 minutes to four minutes. Picking errors have decreased from 5 percent to less than 1 percent. Additionally, the company's overtime hours have gone down because it has much better accountability of its labor.
The company's inventory accuracy has also improved from 85 percent to 97 percent, thanks to the move from lot-level tracking down to pallet-level tracking. “Before implementing JDA Warehouse Management, we had products in the warehouse, but we couldn't find them,” noted Lane. “Now our employees find the products easily. Everything is in its place. We can see the location, when it came in and the expiration date. All of these things are trackable and visible. In the past, it might take us up to two days to fill an order because we couldn't locate the product.”
The efficiency benefits are highly visible throughout the company's supply chain. “Our drivers were the first ones to notice the difference because we used to have an issue with our dock window times. Now drivers aren't waiting around, and we can turn trucks faster,” he said. “Downstream, our customers are more satisfied because our fill rates and accuracy are up. We're shipping the right configuration at the right time. Custom returns are down.”
Standardizing processes has helped Beaver Street Fisheries deliver more consistent results. “We now have the discipline that a system brings to the table,” Lane explained. “Instead of having five different ways to receive, we have one way to receive. We have one way to pick. More important, when we ship, the controls are in place to make sure that the right product was picked onto the right pallet — and that pallet made it onto the right dock, onto the right trailer, and was delivered to the right destination.”
Charting a Successful Course
With JDA Warehouse Management firmly entrenched in its Jacksonville warehouse operations, Beaver Street Fisheries is rolling out the solution in its warehouse in the Bahamas. Implementation is also under way for JDA Transportation Management.