Real-time track and trace for 3PL

RJW’s cloud-based WMS provides real-time visibility into orders and inventory for the 3PL and its customers.

By ·

RJW Transport, Woodridge, Ill.
Size: 160,000 square feet, multi-tenant facility
Products handled: Varied, from raw materials for manufacturing to food grade packaged goods
Stock keeping units: 7,900 SKUs representing 18 clients
Throughput: 100 pallets a day inbound and outbound
Employees: 20 to 25 in operations
Shifts/Days: 2 shifts/5 days

A warehouse management system (WMS) has brought a new level of discipline and control to warehouse processes at RJW Transport’s multi-tenant distribution center.

Receiving: RJW’s warehouse is divided into two areas: A general warehousing area (1) that is used for a variety of products and a food grade warehousing area (2) where food grade products are segregated for storage and order fulfillment. Receiving begins when a driver checks in with the warehouse office and is directed to a receiving/shipping dock (3) in the appropriate warehousing area for the product on that shipment. Once the trailer arrives at a dock door (3), the contents are inspected and verified against the shipping documents and checked into the system. Inventory is then staged for putaway in a staging area (4). Depending on customer requirements, information about the product is entered into the WMS, including lot numbers, serial numbers, expiration dates, weights or other attributes. 

Putaway:
Product is putaway in a storage area (5). Because of the variety of inventory managed in the warehouse, some items will be stored in pallet racks while products with unusual sizes are stored on the floor. Putaway locations can be assigned by the WMS or chosen by a lift truck operator. To confirm putaway in a rack location, the lift truck operator scans the pallet rack location. Floor locations are manually entered into the system. 

Picking: Orders are received in a variety of ways, depending on the customer, including e-mail, fax, telephone or electronically in the WMS. The WMS generates a pick list based on customer-specific criteria, which may include specific lot or serial numbers, first in/first out, first expired/first out or other criteria. The WMS has the capability to take those variables into consideration as it assigns tasks and tracks the execution of orders. Paper pick lists are distributed to associates who generally pick cartons to pallets in the storage area (5).

Packing and shipping: Once a pallet is complete, it is delivered to the staging area (4) where it is stretchwrapped, labeled for shipment and staged with other pallets for that order. Once the order is complete, a supervisor verifies the items and updates the WMS. Outbound drivers check in with the warehouse office and are directed to one of the two warehouses (1 or 2), depending on the type of load they are picking up. Materials are loaded onto a trailer for shipment at the receiving/shipping docks (3). The WMS is updated with carrier details and the shipment is closed out, removing those items from inventory. RJW’s transportation management system (TMS) manages the routing for each delivery.


About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Capturing Labor, Space, and Accuracy Returns with AS/RS
Find out how the demand of e-commerce and digital age expectations are driving the need to automate material handling with AS/RS solutions to improve labor productivity, save space, and reduce costs associated with inaccurate picks
Download Today!
From the November 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
A new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business for the fourth time in 20 years and shorten order delivery time from 10 days to three.
10th Annual Salary Survey: The Price of Performance
Let’s put Automatic Data Capture (ADC) Technology to Work
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
The State of the DC Voice Market
A lot has changed in the last 10 years, especially in voice technology. This webinar will cover the state of the voice market, review two leading voice solutions and help you gain a better understanding of the options and capabilities available today.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Lodge Manufacturing: Distribution Cast in Iron
A new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business for...
Rochester Drug Cooperative: Robots ready for work
It’s still early stages, but Rochester Drug Cooperative is proving that mobile robotic piece...

System Report: Pouch sorter powers Stage’s fulfillment needs
How a hometown department store chain transformed its e-fulfillment processes with pouch sortation...
Cubing and Weighing Equipment: Measure Up
The use of cubing and weighing equipment is growing beyond dimensional weight applications.