When it came time for Saudi distributor and manufacturer Binzagr to implement HighJump™ Warehouse Advantage WMS, the business had to proceed with caution.
Binzagr has 36 sites spread across 21 locations throughout Saudi Arabia with four supply chains – food, non-food, cold and auto – and partners with prominent brands like Kraft, Tyson Foods, Hershey’s, Dunlop Tires and Unilever. It moves 700,000-800,000 cartons per day across that network. All of the products it handles start in the flagship location in Jeddah, along the Red Sea coast, and are distributed to different locations from there. The scale of the operation means any disruption in business could have a significant financial impact and damage critical relationships with suppliers and customers.
With that in mind, the 181-year-old company spent much time prepping for the implementation, Senior Vice President Randy Brown explained during a presentation at HighJump Elevate 2017 last month. First, it extensively tested the solution to ensure it could handle any potential scenario. There was then a mock go-live at each site to prepare the staff for the real thing. It was a long process that required patience, but it ultimately paid off.
The go-lives had a minimal impact on business – three days after Binzagr began using HighJump warehouse management system, its order fulfillment levels were back to pre-go-live norms. That was well under the one-month timeframe the HighJump implementation team told the business to expect for those levels to normalize.
Binzagr has already seen its order fulfillment performance increase 36 percent, according to Brown. It did that without adding additional resources like employees, new warehouses, etc.
It rolled out the solution slowly, one site at a time. Each location has run countless simulations to catch any potential hiccups before they happen in a real-time business environment. It established IT and Operations Teams focused solely on managing the implementation, in addition to a change manager. The distributor and manufacturer has super users at each site who can contact IT when necessary.
At this point, Binzagr has gone live at about one-third of its 36 sites with a detailed scheduled for the remaining go-lives.
“We took a long time to prepare and a long time before our first go-live. The reason why we did that is we wanted to make sure that once we went live, everything was in place and we did not have any significant downturn in business,” Brown said. “We viewed the prep time as an investment – we didn’t view it as, ‘Well hurry up, you have to have this done by this date’ and deadlines. We felt we were better off to make sure that we got it right and we developed the processes accordingly.”
As the company continues to grow, with annual revenue approaching $2 billion, it has invested more of those earnings in logistics, Brown said. That includes spending more on both technology and the physical resources needed to improve efficiency. It has plans to add a state-of-the-art, highly-automated warehouse over the next two years and will start offering third-party logistics as well as on-site value added services when that expansion is complete.
Implementing a WMS was a true culture change for the Saudi company. It did not previously have a WMS and made a concerted effort to drum up excitement around this investment. That included creating posters with the tagline “Warehousing Made Simple” (WMS). The business also distributed a newsletter with more information on the solutions. Brown’s team created videos showing how to execute different tasks within the WMS and handed out vests to employees who finished the training program.
“We actually blew it out even more than what it was so by the time we got to the implementation, the company was very comfortable with it,” Brown said. “So again, culture change – not an update – and that needs to be communicated very, very clearly to everyone in the organization.
Binzagr invested more time and resources pre-implementation than most companies. However, it clearly paid dividends. That makes this an example that could help other businesses who follow it – using a WMS for the first time is often not such a seamless process for large organizations. It’s no coincidence that the Saudi distributor saw productivity gains quickly.