Parts supplier achieves WERC facility certification

Company assesses 114 processes, justifies replacement of homegrown WMS.

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The Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) has recognized as the latest “Best Practice Warehouse” after it completed the WERC Facility Assessment and Certification.

For the past four years WERC has recognized facilities that meet the standards of a best practice facility. According to a release, only a handful of companies in any given year will follow through on New Year’s commitments. WERC’s Assessment & Facility Certification is a voluntary program that requires each company to undergo an independent audit of 114 processes in eight core areas of warehouse operations. Only facilities that achieve a minimum score are certified and recognized by WERC.

Operating with a “home-grown” warehouse management system (WMS) that was no longer meeting the needs of the organization, had reason to believe they might not receive a passing score and the subsequent certification.

Stephen Webber, general manager said, “We knew our WMS wasn’t working for us and the plan was always to upgrade. However, going through the WERC audit identified opportunities that we didn’t realize, and when we share them with our supplier, the WMS implementation will be less taxing on our schedule and our budget. This was a worthwhile venture, and it’s rewarding to obtain the certification, which recognizes our team’s successes.”

The success in the warehouse mirrors their business success, which brought with it growing pains. These pains were a contributing reason for participating in the assessment. saw significant increases in the number of SKU’s they were handling, and anticipated further growth in 2015.

The audit revealed that the organization was more than capable and had implemented processes that met or exceeded the minimums. Still, opportunities for improvement were identified and will be used to upgrade the WMS later this year. The significance of those findings is that it will reduce the time and expense of the implementation.

The latest success story follows the news of the last certification of 2014, which went to Intermountain Healthcare in Midvale, Utah, one of the largest operators of hospitals and clinics in the Western United States. After the organization made a significant investment into building a consolidated distribution center in 2012, it began the WERC assessment program in December of 2014. While distributing medical and pharmaceutical supplies to 23 hospitals and more than 200 clinics, the company reduced costs and improved performance in its supply chain. WERC chief auditor Steve Murray called the new distribution center a “day and night approach to leveraging transportation logistics with warehousing systems and technology.”

“The WERC assessment enabled us to validate that the processes in place were world-class, and substantiate the return on our investment in self-distribution,” said Gordon Slade, director of supply chain logistics for Intermountain Healthcare. “While we continue to reinvest in our processes to maintain efficiencies and productivity, the results of the assessment not only confirmed that our efforts were a success, but allow us to confidently begin 2015 with focus on areas that can provide additional value within the supply chain.”

Additional information about the Assessment & Facility Certification Program can be obtained from the association’s website at .

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