Manufacturing & Distribution

Warehouse management and inventory control. Communications to the floor and out to corporate and partner sites. Technology touches every point in the process- sometimes helping, too often not. Let us take a look at your current business process and technology solutions; there are often simple, inexpensive solutions that make a BIG difference. We can help.

Case Studies

Access Where You Need It

A manufacturing company needed to keep its managers on the floor to oversee operations, but the systems they used demanded that they be in their office to monitor production dynamics. Find out how we solved this conundrum.

Here?s What Happened
A local manufacturer implemented a Warehouse Management System (WMS) to manage the storage and retrieval of its product inventory. The computers that contained all of the inventory and daily production information were in the manager?s offices, not on the production floor. The company needed to find a way for floor managers to see what they needed from the WMS- while remaining on the floor to direct personnel and manage operations.

This Is Where We Come In
ClearWave created software to provide real time visibility of critical production and inventory information. Bold graphical representations were created to alert managers of system health (green for healthy, yellow for potential issues, and red for items needing immediate attention). The company installed large, flat panel LCD TVs around the plant, allowing managers to remain on the floor without concern for what “might” need their attention. Quick glances toward the monitors now allow managers to watch for color changes without initial concern for detail. If everything remains green, they continue their focus on personnel and operations. A yellow or red indicator warrants a closer look and the manager can view the associated messages from the floor and respond as needed.

We Can Help You Save the Day if any of these aspects of this organization’s story are true for you too:

  • Without realizing it, you?ve implemented a system that pulls your people away from their most critical tasks- leaving operations vulnerable
  • Personnel are required to spend time viewing very detailed data- just to find out that everything is fine
  • Your team adjusts to the software system, rather than getting the software to fit with how you need them to work

Improved Processes

Warehouse communications needed an overhaul to improve efficiencies and reduce errors. They called on ClearWave to help.

Here?s What Happened
A warehouse operation used radios to communicate between forklifts and warehouse management, requiring forklift operators to use their hands for communications. This made things difficult for the operators; requests to drivers often arrived faster than they could be fulfilled, requiring operators to either stop what they were doing to write down the requests, or rely on memory later. They also weren?t given advanced notification of pending requests, which kept them from efficiently organizing their patterns. Finally, the reliance on a dispatcher to generate each request to the operator placed an unnecessary step between warehouse management and the forklift operator.

This Is Where We Come In
Wireless flat panel touch screens were installed on all forklifts. Communications were routed directly from the warehouse management system to the drivers- without the need for a dispatcher. The inventory control system was modified to transmit wireless instructions to specific forklifts instructing them of product needing movement; multiple directives may be queued on the screen to generate a pick list. Drivers now receive instructions without interrupting their duties and may make requests directly from their forklift.

We Can Help You Save the Day if any of these aspects of this organization’s story are true for you too:

  • You have unnecessary layers in your business process, causing inefficiencies and complications for your folks in the trenches
  • You know there are better ways to do what you?re doing, but it?s difficult to see where the most valuable opportunities for changes lay- and the most cost-effective way of getting there
  • Current business processes force people to work around the systems- not with them- in order to get their job done

Expanded Capacity

A global beverage company needs more warehouse capacity – without building more space. Sound impossible? Have no fear?

Here?s What Happened
A global beverage company needed to expand its warehousing capacity. Rather than bare the high cost of building expansion, they chose to utilize robotics to implement an automated storage and retrieval system to better utilize existing space.

The challenge was that the project had to be completed in a very tight time frame to meet the company’s upcoming peak season production demands. The customer had purchased robotic hardware from a company in the US, but the software to control the system was written by another company in Europe. Customizing the software became problematic when they discovered that the software was not written in English and the company IT staff could not read the source code.

This Is Where We Come In
While the customer worked on building storage racks to squeeze extra capacity into the existing warehouse footprint, the ClearWave Crew took responsibility for managing the European code base and creating highly customized logic for product storage. We wrote language translators that parsed through the source code and translated the code, variables, and notes into English. Then, we customized the code to allow the operational logic to fit the client’s needs, maximizing product throughput and matching pallet-based product heights to appropriate levels and racks. Finally, the Crew wrote a full warehouse simulator to allow the client to work with the storage logic and optimize throughput and density before deploying to the live warehouse.

The simulator allowed the customer to observe their storage logic in real time and make adjustments in a few days- rather than the months needed previously. The customer can now run thousands of pallets a day through the system with robotic carts moving product in and out simultaneously without human intervention. Furthermore, they are able to exceed their density goals achieving an overall compaction of 93% and up to 99% in some rows.

We Can Help You Save the Day if any of these aspects of this organization’s story are true for you too:

  • You need to build warehouse space- and can?t solve the problem by building new physical capacity
  • You have some legacy code, but no one knows what to do with it
  • You need a software system in place now, in time to meet your peak season demands – not later, after it?s over and you failed to deliver what your company needed
  • You have good people working for you, but none of you can figure out how to create more hours in the day to get it all done- you need a system to help make the most of the resources already in place

Disconnected Systems

Disparate systems that rely on one another, but speak different languages, needed a ?translator.? They called on ClearWave to develop a software Esperanto, if you will.

Here?s What Happened
A large manufacturer uses SAP for its sales and financial management, but uses another company?s warehouse management system (WMS) for inventory control. Maintaining these two independent systems created several problems: double data entry, data inconsistencies, and time lags related to synchronicity of the two systems. When they added a 3rd system (automated palletizer) with dependencies on the WMS, the lack of system integration became unworkable.

SAP, the WMS, and the palletizing software were written on three different platforms and could not be interfaced without customization. Although the customer had access to customization vendors for both the palletizer and SAP, the associated costs were significant.

This Is Where We Come In
Since the WMS was at the center of the supply and demand requirements, the ClearWave Crew implemented interfaces for the WMS and added the ability to “listen” to both SAP and the palletizer systems. In this way, all three systems were able to exchange data in real time with only one of the three systems requiring any customization.

Double entry, associated entry errors, and synchronization problems were all eliminated. Labor costs were reduced and system efficiencies increased overall personnel productivity.

We Can Help You Save the Day if any of these aspects of this organization’s story are true for you too:

  • Disparate systems that rely on one another, but can?t work together, are costing you a lot in personnel time, system downtime, and data problems
  • Current business processes force people to work around the systems- not with them- in order to get their job done