In order to compete with big box retailers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot, McLendon Hardware needed to streamline its warehouse operations to better serve customers. The company sought to overhaul internal processes, especially during peak seasons, when McLendon is managing 30,000 or more SKUs and bin locations in its warehouse. Prior to modernizing its operations, the company relied on managing inventory via clipboards and paper-based notes to handle stock replenishment.
McLendon turned to PathGuide’s Latitude Warehouse Management System (WMS) to modernize its warehouse workflow. Through the partnership, McLendon was able to:
- Reduce warehouse headcount by almost 30%;
- Improve inventory and pick accuracy;
- Eliminate annual inventory counts and move to 100% cycle counting; and
- Consolidate shipments, moving from daily store deliveries to replenishing two to three times per week.
“When I compare our warehouse operations now with those of just 10 years ago, the difference is startling,” said Vice President Mike McLendon. “Our aisles were dark and narrow, and so much of our business relied on tribal knowledge. Post launch, new team member training was much easier and allowed us to have a more professional warehouse.”
Modernizing Operations One Step At A Time
As the first step in its quest for a more modern workflow, McLendon integrated Epicor’s Eagle as its ERP. “From there, we set about picking a compatible WMS that could handle our large volume of turnover,” said McLendon. After evaluating numerous WMS systems, the company chose PathGuide for its flexibility.
McLendon’s transition began by deploying Latitude in its receiving operations. Following that, the company rolled out other features such as slotting and picking. Now, the warehouse team can easily ship up to 4,000 lines of product out to the stores from its Renton, Wash. facility.
The efficiency of the new WMS has created other benefits. For example, before implementing Latitude, the company had to ship inventory to each store on a daily basis. This meant that the warehouse had to be open seven days a week. Now, the warehouse doesn’t have to operate on the weekends.
“Latitude has helped us streamline our delivery process enormously by consolidating orders and flagging possible mistakes,” said McLendon. “This has allowed us to restructure delivery schedules so that we only need to send shipments to the stores two or three times a week, instead of daily.”
Additionally, McLendon’s streamlined WMS allowed the warehouse team to handle seasonal volumes more efficiently without having to hire seasonal workers. The company was able to redeploy staff to other parts of the organization. This brought the warehouse headcount down from 35 to 23 team members.
“Thankfully, our reliance on tribal knowledge in the warehouse is long gone,” said McLendon. “We don’t count inventory when it reaches our stores, so we rely on the warehouse to be as accurate as possible. Nobody liked doing a physical inventory; using Latitude’s Cycle Count module twice a year allows us to accurately assess and manage the inventory we have on hand. Together with our ERP, we are able to calculate what needs to be in the warehouse at any one time, giving us a very predictive and efficient system with a lot more visibility.”