DHL Special Services aut omates warehouse management with bar coding and radio frequency technology based on Progres s OpenEdge®.
CHALLENGE Legacy applications lacked the ability to scale to support business growth, and adding new features was timeconsuming and expensive. SOLUTION The Progress OpenEdge®-based Warehouse Management System (WMS) from Progress® partner WICS. WHY PROGRESS® SOFTWARE DHL selected Progress because it wanted an open systems environment that would be economical to manage while providing the ability to both easily build its own applications and select best-of-breed applications from Progress Partners. BENEFIT In the first few months of deployment, DHL improved its receiving operations by nearly 25%, improved stock picking accuracy, and now has an estimated accuracy of 99.7%. Based in the Netherlands, DHL Special Services provides distribution services of pharmaceutical and veterinary goods throughout Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Some customers utilize the distribution division of the company, and others also outsource logistics to DHL Special Services and utilize its warehousing services. These customers outsource the logistics of their supply chain to DHL Special Services, which warehouses and stocks inventory and distributes it overnight to fulfill customer orders. This business is information intensive. Since DHL Special Services ships drugs and other regulated goods, information must be carefully tracked on each lot. While some lots must be stored in refrigerated compartments, others must be stored in secure areas. The strategic use of information technology is essential in this market, since DHL Special Services not only has to continuously improve its own business efficiency, but it also has to provide updated information to its customers and ensure that drugs and other regulated shipments are managed in compliance with government regulations. The company originally managed logistics using an off-the-shelf warehouse application running on a legacy minicomputer platform. By 1998, management recognized the need to develop new logistical systems to improve operations. Legacy applications lacked the ability to scale to support business growth, and adding new features was both a time-consuming and expensive process. DHL Special Services selected a packaged general ledger application and the Progress OpenEdge platform for building custom applications in-house. Guus Knoops, Program Manager for DHL Special Services explained, “The business had gone as far as it could possibly go with our legacy applications, and we needed a scalable and reliable database platform that would allow us to track and store shipping, receiving, and customer service information. We have a small IT staff, so we needed easy-to-use development tools that would allow us to quickly build applications. We selected a solution from Progress because we wanted an open systems environment that would be economical to manage while providing us the ability to both easily build our own applications and select best-of-breed applications from Progress Partners.”
“We selected a solution from Progress because we wanted an open systems environment that would be economical to manage while providing the ability to both easily build our own applications and select best-of-breed applications from Progress Partners.” — Guus Knoops Program Manager
By 2004, management recognized the need for a more robust warehousing application that would be able to meet the company's unique business requirements. “We wanted to improve our operational efficiency by using bar coding to mark and track all the lots of inventory throughout our warehouse and distribution operations,” said Knoops. “But in addition to the need to carefully track information for our distribution network, we also have to capture and report detailed information to the governments of the countries in which we operate, particularly for the...