Hollister

New wireless network helps medical distribution center reduce operating and labor costs.
Hollister Incorporated, a major manufacturer of medical products, sought to improve efficiencies around its distribution center operations. Peak-Ryzex helped implement a WLAN automated data collection system linked to the company’s SAP system, significantly improving real-time inventory tracking and reducing costs.

Situation: Improving Inventory Tracking and Efficiencies

  • Industry: Manufacturing – Medical Products
  • Location: Midwestern United States
  • ERP System: SAP

Hollister is an independent, employee-owned business that develops, manufactures and markets healthcare products primarily focused on ostomy care, continence care, breastfeeding, wound care and hospital risk management. When it migrated from plant-based distribution to a central distribution center, management sought improvements in productivity, inventory efficiency and order fulfillment accuracy.

The medical distribution center was manually recording transactions via an entire system that ran on paper, meaning a high percentage of staff was dedicated to data entry. The company first sought to improve the efficiency of its ERP system, and would then utilize a new WLAN infrastructure for automated data collection - laying the groundwork for a comprehensive labor management system.

Solution

Peak-Ryzex worked with the facility's managers to provide warehouse personnel with Zebra mobile computers linked to Hollister's SAP system. Depending on the task at hand – everything from delivery of product to loading forklifts and trucks with pallets to arranging products on storage racks to shipping product to its end-location – users can generate and/or scan bar-coded labels that update the status of the product immediately in the SAP system, whether it be in-transit, in-storage or for-sale. This allows for real-time inventory visibility.

At pre-determined intervals, the ERP system also compares the amount of inventory to minimum and maximum levels, and automatically generates replenishment transfer orders while simultaneously updating the SAP system.

Featured Products

  • Zebra mobile computers
  • WLAN infrastructure/access points

Featured Peak-Ryzex Services

  • WLAN network implementation
  • Automated data collection / WLAN system implementation
  • Project management

Results

Thanks to the new WLAN network, Hollister's medical distribution center reduced overall operating costs by 6 percent and labor costs by 9 percent. The automated data collection system improved the efficiency of all material handling aspects by virtually eliminating manual data entry, reducing product hunting time and improving replenishment productivity. The company was able to eliminate two full-time positions that were required to manually enter incoming shipments and replenishment orders, and mobile computers virtually eliminate previously common errors of misplaced products.

Hollister also saw a 40 percent reduction in shippable backlog due to the improved speed of receiving, putaway and replenishment. Thanks to the new WLAN and mobile computing, the company has also improved the dock-to-order cycle by 50 percent (from 10 hours to five hours).

Fill rates and customer service has also improved, thanks to the near elimination of errors and immediate updating of inventory status in the SAP system.

Additionally, Hollister managers appreciated the collaborative approach to project management between the company and Peak-Ryzex, including the technical project plan that served as an ideal complement to the company's internal project team. The project was also completed on-time and on-budget.

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