Global Manufacturer Partners With Open Sky Group to Standardize North American Warehouse Operations

standardize warehouse operations

The Challenge

A multibillion-dollar, international health, hygiene, and nutritional products manufacturer of familiar consumer brands had multiple company-owned distribution centers (DCs) operated by various outsourced 3PLs in 2018. That year, the company decided to implement a Blue Yonder SaaS/Hosted deployment of Blue Yonder’s Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Labor Management (LMS) platforms, to standardize distribution operations on a single software platform.

A key driver for the decision was the fact that each of the 3PLs involved utilized their own IT systems to operate the facilities, making it difficult for the client to gain visibility into warehouse operations or influence standardizing operational processes across their network. The Blue Yonder WMS and LMS solutions would be the enablers to effectively help them standardize operational processes across all DCs as well as establish network-wide visibility to productivity.  The Blue Yonder Solutions would also be fully integrated with their multiple corporate ERP and Transportation Management Systems (TMS), giving them control over the IT function across their expanding supply chain footprint in North America.

The Solution

The project kicked off in 2018 with Open Sky Group and the client partnering together to support the North American WMS transformation strategy to implement the Blue Yonder WMS and LMS applications on Blue Yonder Hosted/SaaS infrastructure, starting with a pilot project involving two DCs. Each site required its own scope of work utilizing the Open Sky Group templated approach and no/low modification approach to standardize operations and enable quick deployments.  Increasing the project complexity was the fact that the two sites selected were operated by different 3PL providers.

Open Sky Group facilitated envision workshops with the client to identify business and technical requirements and any deltas and gaps between critical operational requirements and standard system capabilities leading to an acceptable solution design. Once the solution design was completed, the team quickly moved forward in the next phase of the project to build the solution using an agile methodology that delivered incremental results in sprints.

Additional key project phases and deliverables included:

  • Test Support
  • Solution-specific job aids/work instructions
  • Training provided in a “Train-The-Trainer” based methodology
  • System and data conversion
  • Post implementation support

Throughout, Open Sky Group emphasized their no/low modifications approach to mitigate initial coding costs and ongoing maintenance costs and preserve system integrity across the network.

Once the system was integrated and deployed, Open Sky Group transitioned to testing and training, leading to system go-live.

The Results

After just seven months, the pilot sites proved successful. The partnership team then expanded the deployment program across the client’s five remaining existing sites and three greenfield DCs in the U.S. and Canada. Key focus areas included:

  • Integrating to multiple ERP host systems
  • Integrating two separate TMS environments
  • Integrating two parcel manifesting solutions
  • Deploying Blue Yonder WMS and LMS SaaS, along with engineered labor standards

Business-specific templates were created and validated to help accelerate the roll-out, resulting in standardized processes and interfaces across the network. Over the last four years, all 10 sites have successfully been brought onboard along with a major Blue Yonder WMS/LMS version upgrade as well, to keep current with application features and functions.

The client effectively gained control over their IT governance. The warehouse operations teams are now all on the same page with standardized processes and have network-wide visibility across a single platform to enable performance management and continuous improvement. Additionally, Open Sky Group is now providing managed services on a 24/7 basis to keep the client focused on what matters – delivering world-class service, consistently and efficiently, while greatly reducing risk.

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