When Delyn Warehousing opened for business on the first Monday of 2021 it took over a contract with a major industrial coatings manufacturer that utilised the Empirica warehouse management system from Chess Logistics Technology. In addition to conventional warehouse operations for the contract the system supports the on-site mixing and preparation of industrial coatings that is part of Delyn Warehousing’s total service for its customer.
“We were able to secure the contract because this system was in place,” says Lloyd Davies, Director at Delyn Warehousing. “We could not have done it without Empirica and support from Chess.”
Delyn Warehousing offers a wide range of services from its base in South Wales from basic pallet storage to end-to-end supply chain management including receipt and despatch, pick and pack, rework, cross docking, and other customer-centric services. One of its largest contracts covers the UK for an international industrial coatings manufacturer that supplies to sectors such as construction, shipbuilding, and engineering as well as selected retail customers. Faced with picking up an ongoing contract the company had to decide whether to continue with the Empirica system.
“The Empirica system was recommended by our IT team,” says Lloyd Davies. “It is a good system and does everything we wanted. For us it’s a time saver and an efficiency system as well as a stock management system.”
Delyn Warehousing offers a comprehensive service for the coatings manufacturer. Central to this it mixes paint to the manufacturer’s customers’ specification using equipment housed in a dedicated area of the warehouse. When they place an order customers can specify tints for any product based on RAL, BS, and other industry standards. Although there are relatively few base products the choice of tints means that many hundreds of different shades can be produced at any time. To track these for efficient stock control, and enable quality assurance and batch traceability, details of the transformation of each product must be logged onto the warehouse system. Delyn Warehousing’s business applications are integrated with the manufacturer’s own systems and Empirica to create a seamless environment to support information exchange.
The base products arrive on pallets from the manufacturer’s production facilities throughout Europe. Empirica manages incoming stock control processes and ensures items are allocated to suitable storage locations for optimum use of available space in the 41,000ft2 (3800m2) paint warehouse. Industrial customers place orders with the manufacturer with details of their requirements and specification. Once processed, information about an order is transferred to the warehouse and the preparation work is scheduled. In most cases orders are prepared the same day.
All stock movements and changes are managed using Empirica. In practice a number or separate actions are involved to prepare a product for the customer. As orders arrive the system identifies the appropriate base product in the storage area. These items are picked and handled to the tint room. The tints are added to the base product to meet the customer’s requirement.
The tint room team logs details of the changes onto the system to confirm the transformation that has created the new product. This is a critical step because it is only at this point that the product begins to exist and is therefore identifiable in the various systems. Colour standards are highly specific and Delyn Warehousing completes numerous quality control checks to ensure the final products meet customers’ required specifications. Information retained by Empirica in conjunction with Delyn Warehousing’s own applications can be used for batch tracing and quality assurance audits if required.
The new products are matched to the original order and released for return to the storage area or transfer to the warehouse’s order assembly area for preparation and for delivery to customers by third party carriers. In most cases there is no need to send the items for storage as the processes in the warehouse are designed to despatch items as soon as they are ready.
“We have to change the stock information on Empirica to reflect the new product,” says Lloyd Davies. “The tinting system is quite specialised so we needed something that met our unique requirement. The team at Empirica ensured their system and ours can talk to the manufacturer’s applications and allow them to place orders. This makes sure that their customers get exactly what they want even though the stock does not exist at the time.”
The manufacturer recently upgraded its own applications and this required its supply chain partners to ensure that their own systems would continue to provide a robust interface. Chess worked with Delyn Warehousing to make sure that everything was configured correctly and would work properly. In the event the transition was completed without any issues, which ensured continuity of service and avoided any potential disruptions to the operation.
“The feedback from the manufacturer was that they had also done this in four or five other countries and our upgrade was by far the easiest, working first time” says Lloyd Davies. “This solidified our relationship with our customer.”
Thanks to good organisation and supporting systems such as Empirica the service for the industrial coatings manufacturer is lean and efficient. The whole operation is run by a single person leading a team of seven with just two of those regularly using the warehouse management system. Although Delyn Warehousing is currently only using Empirica on the industrial coatings contract the company recognises the potential for other business should opportunities arise.
“We are comfortable that we could expand with Chess in the future without looking around which is a comfort to us,” says Lloyd Davies. “When you know something works why change it?”