Infor Distribution FACTS | Carson-Dellosa Publishing Co.

Case Study: Carson-Dellosa Publishing Co
Company: Carson-Dellosa Publishing Co.
Solution:InfoR ERP
Product: FACTS, Warehouse Management
Industry: Media
Revenue: $50M U.S.
Country: U.S.A.
About the company
Established by Patti Carson, Janet Dellosa, and Steve Carson, Carson Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc. provides educational materials that "educate, motivate, and decorate" in classrooms around the world. Carson-Dellosa’s complete line of classroom decorations, supplemental books, and other resources feature bright artwork and sound educational principles designed to aid teachers, parents, and students from preschool through the eighth grade. Headquartered in Greensboro, NC, Carson-Dellosa takes pride in providing the best possible educational materials. In addition, Carson-Dellosa manages several subsidiary companies that focus on specific niche markets, including Wild Goose Science (science kits) and High Reach Learning (activity kits). Together, the Carson Dellosa family of companies is recognized as the market leaders.

Setting the strategy
To automate critical business functions such as accounting, sales orders, purchase orders, inventory, and more, Carson-Dellosa began by selecting Infor™ ERP FACTS. Earnest & Associates (E&A), an Infor business partner that has served as a critical participant in Carson-Dellosa’s implementation process, installed and set up the application. In time, Carson-Dellosa had grown to nearly 100 active Infor ERP FACTS end-users and was readying a new 130,000 square-foot distribution facility to accommodate future growth. As the company was preparing its move into the new building, Richard Lugo, vice president of Operations, and Juan Cano, vice president of Information Technology, began leading a team to evaluate systems to help the company maximize its use of the new facility. Specifically, Carson-Dellosa was interested in learning how a warehouse management system (WMS) might help improve throughput, efficiency, and accuracy across the entire organization.
After learning about the limitations of Carson-Dellosa’s homegrown WMS and the merits of an integrated WMS solution from an Infor representative, Carson-Dellosa looked at Infor ERP FACTS Warehouse Management. This application uses hand-held bar-code scanners to improve warehouse efficiency, streamline materials handling processes, and improve accuracy. Next, a business case for Infor ERP FACTS Warehouse Management was developed to include an estimated return on investment and a description of how the application might positively impact Carson-Dellosa’s inventory, shipping, and billing processes. A demonstration of the product and the accompanying return on investment deepened the company’s interest, but the selection team also wanted to see how the Infor application worked in the real world.

Getting business specific
Two critical concerns for Carson-Dellosa were accuracy and ease of use. Since Carson-Dellosa’s business is tied to the school year, orders are seasonal and concentrated in a few key months. The company manages these spikes in volume by hiring temporary laborers, who need to get up to speed as quickly as possible to maintain high productivity. “We needed an error-free system that could be learned quickly to help us efficiently process orders for our customers on a timely basis,” Lugo explains. During a visit to an Infor ERP FACTS Warehouse Management end-user, the Carson Dellosa team saw the application in action in a live environment. “We were handed scanner guns and we started scanning and picking orders immediately,” says Lugo. “We saw that we could rapidly achieve high performance in our warehouse operations with the Infor application, even during times when we rely most heavily on a relatively inexperienced workforce.” Meanwhile, Carson-Dellosa updated the new facility with computer equipment and fiber-optic cables before relocating. Ultimately, the value that the Infor application offered through its seamless integration with Infor ERP FACTS proved decisive. “Infor’s Warehouse Management product offered us a compelling benefit because it connects with Infor ERP FACTS,” says Cano. “We could implement the warehouse system without uprooting and retraining everyone, which would have been a huge endeavor.”

Results and Benefits
The implementation team quickly made a positive impression on Carson-Dellosa’s managers. “The Infor team was very knowledgeable about distribution and technology,and stepped up to take ownership of the process,” Lugo notes. Working closely with E&A, the Infor team reviewed Carson-Dellosa’s warehouse operations and produced a document with detailed steps needed to execute the project successfully. Tasks included verifying that prior modifications made to Infor ERP FACTS would be compatible with the warehouse management application. Work processes were designed into the warehouse management software that most effectively leveraged Carson-Dellosa’s existing Infor ERP FACTS system. Lugo and Cano also designed a process in which end-users could get acquainted with the system and provide meaningful input before going live. To that end, Carson- Dellosa created a task force representing all operational business areas. Team members met regularly to discuss the project. “The buy-in we received from employees helped build enthusiasm and support for the project,” says Lugo. “In fact, in the end the users were pushing the hardest to go live with the system,” he exclaims. Carson-Dellosa went live with the new system with remarkably few problems during the company’s busiest sales month of the year.
Infor ERP FACTS Warehouse Management has dramatically improved Carson-Dellosa’s distribution center operations. “Our improved inventory tracking with Infor Warehouse Management allowed us to reduce our inventory by 15 to 25 percent in only five months,” notes Lugo. Moreover, increased visibility in the warehouse has led to the recovery of misplaced inventory, creating tens of thousands of dollars in savings. “With Infor Warehouse Management, we have turned one of our biggest problems tracking thousands of pallet locations and inventory items into one of our biggest benefits,” states Lugo. He believes that the company will achieve a full return on its investment in only 12 months besting the original estimate by six months. Lugo explains that other major benefits accrue from Infor’s warehouse management application’s proactive management tools. The application tracks daily productivity in the warehouse and compares the information with incoming orders to create a report estimating the number of workers needed that week.
Infor ERP FACTS Warehouse Management ensures that all individual line items are in stock before releasing pick tickets to the floor, helping increase worker efficiency. “We can allocate the number of needed workers to handle our daily volume while ensuring all of our time is devoted to picking orders that can be completed and shipped that same day,” says Lugo. “This allows us to save warehouse space by eliminating hold areas while providing  a more accurate picture of how individual employees are performing.”

Doing business better
As anticipated, new Carson-Dellosa employees are learning to use the warehouse management system in record time. Only a few hours of training is required to teach workers about the warehouse schema and how to use the hand-held devices to scan bar-code labels and pick inventory items. Workers can become productive almost immediately while supervisors can rely on Infor ERP FACTS Warehouse Management reports to identify underperformers and take corrective action. “It’s amazing,” says Lugo. “Within one week of implementing the application, our warehouse was performing at a higher level. Individual employees pick more line items than before, with individual rates in excess of 600 line items per day and collectively in excess of 10,000 line items per day with almost no errors. We will continue to look to Infor to help us improve our processes because they understand our business.”
"Our improved inventory tracking with Infor ERP  FACTS Warehouse Management allowed us to reduce inventory by 15 to 25 percent"
Richard Lugo, V.P. Operations, Carson-Dellosa Publishing Co.

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