Award Concepts is a New Zealand-based distribution company, supplying major retail chains bathroom ware, household products, chemicals and cleaning products. To manage their processes, Award Concepts used an outdated, heavily-customized version of Microsoft Dynamics AX. They decided to upgrade to AX 2012 and replace their current barcoding solution with RF-SMART.
Award Concepts was founded in 1987 with the intention of supplying products suitable for the DIY category to major retail chain. Today, Award Concepts sells their products through chains such as Mitre 10, Bunnings, Placemakers and Briscoes. Knowing their software was more than 10 years old and unsupported by Microsoft left them in a risky position of using software that was unstable and unsecured.
At the same time, Award Concepts was using a third-party solution to manage its radio frequency (RF) systems, which let it pick and move stock using electronic scanners. This had the potential to lead to errors, which would mean the company couldn’t fulfil orders on time for customers.
“Award Concepts could not continue using the old technology,” said Annmaree Talbot, financial controller at Award Concepts. “Errors were starting to filter through, and if nothing had been done about it, the old software could have caused the business to come to a grinding halt. If we don’t meet customer deadlines then we don’t get paid. So it was essential to upgrade our systems.”
While the Award Concepts project team knew it would be possible to upgrade to the latest version of Dynamics AX, it was important to take the opportunity to ensure the company had the best possible solution. Following an extensive selection process, Award Concepts chose UXC Eclipse to implement Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3, as well as RF-SMART to replace their previous barcoding solution.
Outcome and Benefits
Fulfilling orders on time is exceptionally important to Award Concepts, so much of the business is dedicated to understanding what orders are in the pipeline and how to fulfill them. “The way RF-SMART integrates into Dynamics AX is incredible,” Talbot said. “It’s made picking orders simpler and refilling shelves much easier. The guys in the warehouse used to wander around, refilling shelves when they saw empty ones. It was an ad hoc process that wasn’t very efficient. Now, they have laptops in the forklifts and are able to check a screen regularly to replenish shelves according to priorities. It’s much more efficient.”
At the same time, Award Concepts’ team can now report daily to relevant team members by using the business intelligence functions of Dynamics AX. “This has meant that our sales reps, managers, all the way to the owner of the company, knows how we’re tracking against our budget on a daily basis. And this helps us stay on track,” Talbot said. “In addition, because we can see in plenty of time when orders need to leave the warehouse, we can plan more effectively,” Talbot said. “We are no longer missing delivery requirements. Instead, we’re able to fulfill orders correctly, on time. As a result, customer delivery metrics are better than they’ve ever been.”
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