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Business software improves visibility, productivity and customer experience

Automotive aftermarket distributor optimizes supply chain with improved warehouse, inventory and customer management.
By Josh Bond, Associate Editor
May 01, 2014

Mighty Distributing Systems of America serves the international automotive aftermarket, employing 90 people in a facility that supplies its independent franchises in 46 states. Those franchises then serve more than 25,000 repair facilities, resulting in an order volume of about 43,000 items on any given day. After upgrading its supply chain management software (IBS, ibs.net), the company was better able to handle distribution and inventory management amid the high volume.

Before the new software, the company had no real-time visibility into transactions, resulting in inadequate measurements for business performance. The leadership team identified a need for RF control in the warehouse, where order-picking productivity was in need of improvement. In addition, it was taking Mighty five days to close end-of-month financials, a costly and unacceptable situation.

With the new software, most of the daily intake of 5,000 order lines are received electronically and do not require review by customer service staff. Orders go to the distribution center for disbursement to the pickers who, within seconds, see the order information on the RF device. Inventory levels and replenishment are managed by demand to ensure maximum inventory turns at the installer level. As an added customer benefit, customers receive automatic acknowledgment notifications when orders are submitted and are able to see details of the expected arrival time.

“Nobody ever needs to look at a piece of paper,” says Keith Wilson, operations manager for Mighty Auto Parts. “The software has helped us achieve an order picking error rate of less than 0.1%, picking productivity is up 10% and it now takes us less than a day to close our books for the month.”

Along with optimized order fulfillment activities, Mighty also sees a much better picture of its financial performance. For instance, the software automatically produces reports on order activity, margins, returns and recovery costs, as well as the balance sheet. “It has helped us get to new regions, too, like Canada, Puerto Rico and the Middle East,” Wilson says. “It gives us better visibility and long-range planning capabilities. We can now manage customers with long lead times because we have reliable forecasts in our system.”

The company anticipates a 2.5-year return on investment.

About the Author

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Josh Bond
Associate Editor

Josh Bond is an associate editor to Modern. Josh was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and contributing editor, has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce.


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