A SaaS or on-premise web-based warehouse management system.
NorthStar WMS is a .NET web-based warehouse management system (WMS) that can seamlessly integrate into most Accounting and ERP systems. This is accomplished through a standard API that will provide automated data collection, process management, and location control utilizing barcode and wireless technology.
This configurable WMS is available in either a cloud or on-premise platform at a disruptive price. Traditionally, the choices for small to midsize companies have been either off-the-shelf systems that lacked in functionality or a high end system geared towards large companies with big budgets. The two issues are a WMS that requires a one size to fit all approach and cannot be modified and the other is trying to put a square peg in a round hole in that the cost is so prohibitive.
The NorthStar WMS has successfully been implemented into the food industry, discrete manufacturing, ecommerce and wholesale distribution providing the following standard and configurable functionality:
The allocation functionality will show all of the inventory in your warehouse that has been allocated to a Sales Order. The listing will display by sales order # and include Item numbers, order quantity and p Picked quantity. The system will do both hard and soft allocation. A powerful feature of the WMS is the ability to Auto Allocate inventory. When you choose to utilize Auto Allocate, you are essentially assigning specific inventory to an order. This “hard” allocation will lock down the chosen inventory for a specific order and can apply to a single order or a group of orders as needed.
The Build Pallet functionality in the WMS essentially allows you to create a Pallet of Items and move them between warehouses, or locations within a warehouse.
Loads are received and sorted on the receiving dock and then per the WMS logic transferred to the outbound process thus eliminating put-away and storage handling.
An optional function, cubing is used when setting up your warehouse locations and can be defined By Volume or By Eaches. In addition, you provide whether the Cube is a specific Location, Container/Pallet, an Item, or a Box. The final information to be provided is the Dimensions of the Cube ID, including Height, Width, and Length, as well as the Unit of Measure.
Check and maintain accurate inventory and many companies employ rigorous cycle count programs as part of an overall strategy to move away from having to perform a physical inventory. Cycle Counts and Replenishment tasks can be generated and sent to the floor for action via the RF users.
The system allows for optimization per the storage of goods in your warehouse and putting inventory into the most appropriate location based on your business rules and pre-configured into the system.
The last module within the Pick/Pack/Ship section allows the WMS user to gain immediate access to tracking information for a package or shipment. A user can select the order to track, and receive the information back from the carrier. The Order Scheduler allows the WMS user to view orders that are due to ship on specific calendar dates. The view can be changed from Day to Week or Month based on user needs.
Once your Sales Order has been picked, it is now available to be packed and prepared for shipment. This activity is done via the Pack Order module and will handle cartonization, box count and all shipping documents and labels. The system has approved APIs to all the major carriers and allows you to set up all of the shipping methods that you plan to use to move product from the warehouse to your customers.
Orders are electronically sent to a handheld barcode scanner or voice for rapid and error-free picking. Utilize multiple pick logic per your business rules such as zone, batch, FIFO, Weight or wave
Set up logical and virtual locations for QA and quarantine requirements. if an item or order requires any QC, a check is performed during the receiving process and will display the necessary instructions.
This is a very specialized tool and should only be used in specific high volume piece picking orders. In essence, Quick Pick allows the WMS to “virtually” pick and stage or pick and ship a Sales Order.
The receiving process per the NorthStar WMS provides options for verification of receipts against Host-system POs, ASNs or blind receipts. Produce barcodes for pallets and cases when needed on receiving. Apply receiving and put-away logic per order and or vendor. The system comes with a receiving scheduler, a visual display of all inbound Purchase Orders scheduled for a particular day and showing arrival dates. The system exports the collected data from the receiving process determines what your accounting departments pays to your vendors.
The Operations Module is where the WMS user can manage various tasks within warehouse operations, such as a work order for pulling raw material into WIP or kitting. The system has multiple set-ups for manufacturing for tracking raw material to finished goods and building subcomponents to kits.
This is my first time starting up a warehouse operation and with NorthStars help we were able to accomplish setup and going live status in a small amount of time without hiring any outside help or consultants. We compared NorthStarWMS to 5 other companies and found NorthStarWMS to be our best option. We decided to purchase NorthStarWMS instead of leasing after watching a demonstration of the software. The warehouse statistics are presented to upper management by reports, KPI’s and charts, which is a big part of our companies decision making process. Anytime we want to improve a process, we contact customer service and after explaining what we’re trying to accomplish, we’re offered different options to accomplish the task. NorthStarWMS has been able to do everything we’ve asked for and more.
Continuous Improvements, Automations with scanners and printers, Intergration with Quickbooks, EDI, and Website. Options on Receiving , Pick ,Pack, and Shipping. Visibility of orders all the way to the customer. Visibility of inventory. Data gathering. We have never been on inactive status due to NorthstarWMS.
I don’t have any cons at this time
I like the fact that the same people that made the promises during the sales process are the same people we have direct contact with. Furthermore, they always answer or return our calls promptly. They have continued to customize our experience to suit our unique business needs. We are a wholesale distribution company and all of our shipments will go through this system to retail stores across the country and abroad.
After talking to Software Advice we looked at a number of warehouse management systems and came away with awarding our business to NorthStar Automation. This was a major technology purchase for us and we appreciated the effort the NorthStar team did to make this the right choice. Their project management team brought all of pieces together for integrating into our accounting system and our EDI partner, SPS. They also project managed resources for setting up the wireless network for the mobile barcode scanners and printers. The NorthStar WMS is a true pick, pack and ship system. Based on our business rules they set up the best pick logic and processes. At our pack stations we manage the packing process and best method of shipping off the same screen, also producing all shipping documents and shipping labels. The NorthStar WMS integrates to our carriers; FedEx, UPS, USPS and Stamps.com… In conclusion we are now using real-time and accurate data and we now have reports we never even thought of before that help us drive and grow our business.
A company changed its business model from a wholesale distributer of fasteners to an Amazon re-packager and a Omni-Channel fulfillment center. It is now managing a warehouse with over 110,000 SKUs and continually taking on new customers. The NorthStar WMS is picking, packing and shipping orders up to 4,000 line items.
Prior to purchasing, they came to our facility for 1 day and interviewed my people who would be using the software. After that they did a statement of work which detailed everything their software would do for us, implementation plan, the hardware required (label printers, mobile devices…etc), training process, all based on a fixed price. They showed up on a Monday morning to train and we started receiving live on Monday afternoon, Tuesday we were pick/pack/shipping and Wednesday all parts of the WMS were live. All features work as expected.
Great support, if they did not actually answer the phone when we called, we get a call back within an hour or less. Easy setup with lots of config options. Inventory control, lot tracking, recall reports. Great pick/pack/ship features. Both workstation software and mobile app are easy to use Connection to QuickBooks works great, imports/exports sales orders, sales receipts, work order, etc.
I have no complaints.
GFX International is a visual communications firm that designs, manufactures, and distributes a range of custom in-store décor and temporary in-store campaigns for retailers and brands. On a typical day, the Illinois-based distribution center processes 250-300 shipments of custom promotional materials. Due to the highly variable nature of the items the company produces, the number of items in an order ranges from 1 to 10,000 (though it typically averages around 30). Item size also varies significantly, which means that one collection of 10 items can be picked in 5 minutes while another collection of 10 items may take 1 hour or longer to complete.
GFX has partnered with NorthStar Automation going back to 2009. Over the last few years, GFX International has experienced significant growth. As the company continues to expand, the distribution operations team has needed to improve efficiency while using fewer resources. The two companies decided to look into voice technology with the overall goals of improving profitability by reducing costs and exceeding accuracy and efficiency demands across a broad spectrum of functions.
Finding the Right Distribution Technology
The mutual project management team considered multiple data collection technologies for their 121,500 square foot distribution center. To keep pace with rapid business growth, the GFX International distribution operations needed a solution that would achieve 99.9% order accuracy and improve efficiency while also enabling distribution operations to better adapt to the unpredictable dynamics of their business. The company’s item selectors needed to be able to meet both regular peaks during the first and last week of each month (when customers call to order items they may have forgotten during the previous month) as well as irregular peaks dependent on customers’ promotion schedules.
“If a company orders materials for 2500 stores, we might get calls from 600 stores who need extra or additional materials,” says Mauer. “Additionally, some promotions will last several months while others will turnover within a few weeks, which means that our team members must keep pace with constantly shifting circumstances.”
After deploying Voice with the NorthStar WMS, not only was GFX able to start using the voice automation technology much more quickly but they were also able to improve both accuracy and efficiency. “The team is able to fulfill items more efficiently, which has enabled the company to improve throughput without having to hire additional item selectors,” said Dan Hall, Director of IT Operations, GFX International. “When needed, we’re also able to get someone up to speed in a few hours and can transition them to expert mode quickly, too.”
Impact Throughout the Distribution Center
GFX International was also able to improve inventory management through the more efficient replenishment and primary pick location protocols. Adding voice technology to our NorthStar WMS encouraged us to separate replenishment from picking, which means that our item selectors no longer replenish items during the middle of a picking shift. This change has helped us improve our inventory control and has contributed to more efficient overall operation,” said Mauer.
Thanks to the NorthStar WMS / voice solution, GFX has been able to implement a distribution operations solution that improves accuracy, efficiency, and inventory management while also preparing the company for its future growth.
Goals and Objectives
Reduce miss picked items Improve operational efficiency Better manage rapidly changing inventory Enable more alert “hands free, eyes up” item selection
Business Value: Able to reduce training time for item selectors from 15 days to 1 day Expanded picking capacity without hiring additional item selectors “Hands Free, Eyes Up” solution results in fewer miss-picked items Improved cycle count accuracy Increased efficiency through more efficient replenishment protocols