Relocation to larger facilities prompts pursuit of more effective warehouse and logistics
Following years of strong growth, in 2008 Mimaki Europe relocated to a new business location that included a very large warehouse. Even before completing the move, managers wanted to take the opportunity to introduce greater efficiency and accuracy into the company’s operations. They looked for ways to create substantial increases in the productivity of logistics processes and minimize the risk of errors. That meant scrutinizing certain processes, such as order picking, for opportunities to make them better. Managers also felt that mobility offered many advantages in new vast, new warehouse. Any new technology Mimaki Europe acquired would need to interoperate flawlessly with Microsoft Dynamics AX, the ERP system.
Rapid deployment of a powerful mobile solution
It did not take Mimaki long to find a capable technology partner in Dalosy, a leading devices and software specialist and innovator in the areas of mobility and barcode scanning. Dalosy offered a solution called AX Anywhere, an easy-to-use, mobile software tool that runs fully embedded within Microsoft Dynamics AX.
The AX Anywhere solution portfolio supports a number of important tasks and processes in logistics, retail, sales, and production control. In logistics, the solution facilitates mobile picking, inventory management, pallet management, goods receipts, item transfers, barcode and RFID scanning, and other activities.
Bart Heuvel, ICT Manager at Mimaki Europe, says, “We moved to our new premises in August 2008 and wanted to immediately start using a barcode system. Our wish was granted thanks to Dalosy’s tight schedule and meticulous project management.” For Mimaki Europe, Dalosy performed a rapid implementation of AX Anywhere, followed by thorough testing, and completed the project in time for employees to use the new tool starting with the first day in the new warehouse.
Error-free picking, faster task completion, and better client services
The warehouse workers access AX Anywhere on their Motorola MC9090 handheld scanners. Following prompts in AX Anywhere based on order picking requirements in Microsoft Dynamics AX, they simply scan the product and location codes. AX Anywhere transfers the scanned data with the picking updates into the ERP system. “As far as I know, no other barcode system is as simple to use as this one,” says Heuvel. “The staff are guided through the order picking process step-by-step and screen-by-screen.”
Following the deployment of AX Anywhere, Mimaki Europe almost entirely eliminated errors in picking and other warehouse tasks. As Heuvel describes, “This is a major benefit for us. AX Anywhere has ensured that our logistics problems have almost all been solved. The stock differences are as good as gone. In the past we sometimes lost entire pallets. That can get really expensive. Our products have to be shipped all the way from Asia and we would prefer not to make clients wait. At the moment we are largely error-free. Another major advantage is the increase in productivity. The speed with which our order pickers get products from the warehouse and pack them is much higher.”
Cost savings resulting from better logistics efficiencies
Mimaki Europe also reduced costs and improved the performance of shipping services by operating more efficiently and making scanned data available. “We can also use the barcode system to reduce transport costs,” notes Heuvel. “In the past, the transport company regularly collected a single package even though there were other packages waiting at the warehouse for the same client. They then had to come back the following day for the other boxes. That problem has now been solved. Every package is barcoded, and staff scan the package when it is collected. If there other packages waiting for the same client, the handheld scanner indicates this. The transport company can then collect everything in one go.”
Insightful technology partner and solid, evolving technology
Heuvel and his team were also very impressed with Dalosy’s expertise and collaboration. “Cooperating with people who help you think things through is very pleasant,” says Heuvel. “Dalosy’s project leader who has experience in the logistics sector provided excellent input.” Shortly after the Mimaki Europe project, Dalosy formed a new entity, Dynamics Anywhere, dedicated to further advancing the AX Anywhere and NAV Anywhere mobile solutions. In October 2014, To-Increase acquired Dynamics Anywhere and continues to evolve the technology. Mimaki Europe’s workers carry on using AX Anywhere, with uninterrupted support and solution updates.