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Founded in 1972 in Japan, Roland is a world leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of professional audio equipment, multimedia products and music accessories. Roland Corporation U.S. manufactures and distributes electronic musical instruments, including keyboards and synthesizers, guitar products, digital recording equipment, and other devices. It has annual sales of $200m through 3,000 dealers. Every day, Roland U.S. ships over 1,100 parcel and 30 truck shipments. To deal with its volume of 135 transactions per hour, Roland U.S. needed a shipping solution that was fast, flexible and stable.
"We were dedicated to the iSeries platform," said Kim Wright, operations manager at Roland U.S. "We knew the iSeries was not only a work horse, but was very stable, easy to maintain, and could support the future growth of the company. Having our shipping system on another platform would have cost us valuable time, money and IT resources to reintegrate a new PC-based shipping solution with our iSeries-based IBS enterprise resource planning solution."
Roland U.S. was also looking for a solution that provided the flexibility to ship small parcel and less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments more efficiently and accurately, a technical support staff that was available 24 x 7 x 365, and most importantly, a company dedicated to the iSeries that would work with Roland not just as a vendor but as a partner.
To top it all off, Roland U.S. was on an extremely tight timetable. The company was about to attend its largest trade show of the year, which took 50 percent of the staff out of the office, as well as provided several million dollars in orders. Roland U.S. had to have a solution that could be implemented quickly and was easy to learn and use so shipping staff could fulfill this volume of orders timely.
Wright researched industry contacts for recommendations, and Varsity's name came up over and over again. At the annual IBS Users' Conference, Wright attended a Varsity presentation and was impressed by the capabilities of the ShipSoft solution set. Roland U.S. selected the Varsity solution, and Wright says that the implementation was fast and smooth thanks to Varsity's on-site reps.
Because Roland U.S. had such a unique supply chain environment, the company required system customization. For instance, Varsity combined the pack and ship process (typically two separate processes) so that picks are packed and shipped in one step with automated validation of item uniform product code, quantities, and serial numbers.
Additionally, Varsity and IBS worked together with the Roland U.S. team on the shipping/ERP interface to accommodate the mass of data being passed between the two systems.
"We don't do just batch picks at night, we also print picks during the day," says Wright. "We have a pick consolidation process that determines the routing based on the aggregate weight of all the open picks. The system searches the data to see if there are any other open picks that can be consolidated, and then reselects the best carrier. That kind of highly developed level of automation is absolutely invaluable to us. It enables Roland U.S. to service our clients faster and more accurately, and that gives us the competitive edge."
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