Accellos, a leading provider of supply chain execution software solutions, has announced a new case study featuring Columbia Colstor. The Moses Lake, Washington-based company moves more than 60 billion pounds of dry, refrigerated, and frozen inventory each year for some of the most well-known names in the world.
With so many high-profile customers having needs as diverse as cross docking, packaging, repackaging, product stamping, and load scanning, Columbia Colstor needed a 3PL solution with strong out-of-the-box functionality. The company found that solution in AccellosOne Enterprise 3PL. Within just 30 days of installing the software at its first warehouse, inventory accuracy rates climbed to 99.999 percent and employee productivity increased 500 pounds per person per day.
With fifty million cubic feet of storage space, 460 employees, six strategically located warehouses, and hundreds of trucks and rail cars coming and going day and night it’s no wonder that Columbia Colstor was No. 16 on the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses 2012 Global Top 25 List. The privately held company prides itself on providing world-class customer service; all with the goal of helping its customers improve quality, productivity, and profitability.
In an effort to improve operations in 2006, Columbia Colstor installed a warehouse management system (WMS). In 2007, when industry consolidation resulted in the software company being acquired twice in the one year, Columbia Colstor’s operations began to suffer. Then, in 2009, the software’s new parent company introduced a new WMS making matters worse. In fact, Columbia Colstor was still struggling to get the software up and running three years later.
It was clear something had to quickly change. In March of 2012, Columbia Colstor launched a formal software review process. The competition went head to head, answering questions, providing data, and demonstrating their software. The disciplined, well-defined scoring system used by Columbia Colstor indicated a clear winner: AccellosOne Enterprise 3PL, a hosted, cloud-based solution. Columbia Colstor pays Accellos a monthly subscription fee, in return for the kind of technology that costs other companies hundreds of thousands of dollars. What’s more, the company converted its first warehouse in just two to three quarters, as compared to the two to three years it typically takes to implement most on-premise solutions. According to Lamb Weston, that warehouse’s largest customer, the conversion was a “non-event.”
Unlike other warehouse management systems, many of which were built for distribution and then retrofitted for 3PL, AccellosOne Enterprise 3PL was developed over 20 years by 3PL professionals, for 3PL professionals. As a result, the functionality multi-client 3PL companies like Columbia Colstor need to manage the complexity of their operations comes standard and includes billing management, document management, fleet management, customer visibility, supply chain intelligence, shipping, and EDI.
Columbia Colstor also installed AccellosOne eVista, which gives the company’s customers real-time, 24/7 online access to their data, thus reducing call volume and increasing customer satisfaction.
In addition, the two companies are working hand-in-hand to create “win, wins” such as a way to better manage electronic load diagrams and a new three-step put away process that enables Columbia Colstor employees to more efficiently move products from staging to drop zones to racks.
Colstor International Intermodal, the first Columbia Colstor warehouse to install AccellosOne Enterprise 3PL, has already realized an impressive return on investment. Inventory accuracy rates, always an industry-acceptable 99 percent, are now an impressive 99.999 percent. In addition, employee productivity has increased 500 pounds per person per day.
“If we see that level of improved productivity in just one warehouse after a month, imagine what we’ll see in a year when we’re running the software all our warehouses,” says Blake Barthelmess, Columbia Colstor’s director of global technology services and business process management.
Joe Couto, Accellos General Manager, agrees. “As Columbia Colstor can attest, our solutions deliver measurable results, often in as little 30 days. But the real value comes in having comprehensive data that’s easy to access, view, share and use to improve every aspect of a company’s operations.”