Spyder Active Sports, Inc. distributes specialty ski wear and is the largest ski-specialty brand in the world. By implemeting RF-SMART, Spyder is able to handle increased seasonal volumes and eliminate manual data entry in their warehouse.
Spyder Active Sports, Inc. was founded by David Jacobs in 1970, as a mail-order company run from David’s kitchen. At this time, the company name was “For Racing, By Racers” and they produced only race sweaters for skiers. The company gained exposure and credibility in the 70’s when famous ski racers on the pro-tour began wearing their sweaters. In 1978, David designed racing pants that skiers began calling “spider pants,” because of their spider-like design. At this time, David renamed the company to “Spyder.” Over the years, Spyder has expanded its product line to include jackets, shirts, race suits, accessories and more. Today, Spyder operates out of corporate offices in Colorado and Switzerland and is the largest skispecialty brand in the world.
The Need for Automated Data Collection
Spyder has always kept up with the changing needs of skiers to provide the best possible product. Part of being progressive in the distribution industry is to eliminate manual data entry and inefficiencies within the warehouse. Spyder purchased Oracle’s JD Edwards ERP as their first step toward inventory control, however, Spyder still needed to automate their processes to reach their efficiency goals.
As an Oracle Platinum Partner, RF-SMART's barcode software came recommended by the partner who worked with Spyder on their JDE implementation. After speaking with the RF-SMART team about their seamless JDE integration and their value-added functionality, Spyder selected RF-SMART as their data collection solution.
Results of Implementation
As Spyder distributes ski apparel, their business is very seasonal. In fact, Spyder ships 95 percent of their product in just three months. During their three peak months, it is critical that Spyder is able to move their inventory quickly. Spyder replaced their manual processes with RF-SMART automation in inventory receiving, putaway, picking and ship confirmations, greatly improving their speed of operation. The RF-SMART implementation has been so successful that, “we can now unload a container in two hours versus the two days it took us before RF-SMART,” said Applications Analyst at Spyder, Bard Higgins
In addition to labor-hour savings, Spyder has also increased their accuracy. Prior to RF-SMART, Spyder experienced regular difficulties in auditing inventory, because paper-based processes left room for error. Whether a receiving slip was misread or an incorrect product number was written on a picking slip, any minor error affected overall data accuracy. Now that pick, pack and ship information is all recorded in RF-SMART and transferred automatically to JD Edwards, auditing and accuracy issues are few and far between.
One additional quality Spyder truly appreciates about the RF-SMART software is its ease of use. Since Spyder is so seasonal, they only have 2 full-time warehouse employees. During the busy season, Spyder hires a temporary warehouse staff and trains them on using RF-SMART. “Training our temporary staff to use RF-SMART to be able to receive, pick, pack and ship is never a problem,” said Bard.
Although Spyder has not calculated an official return on investment, they are confident of the value RF-SMART has added to their company. “Our distribution volume has grown quickly, to the point where the benefits of RF-SMART, versus our existing manual receiving, shipping and inventory management processes were obvious,” said Bard
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