Stone Office, Inc., a contract furniture dealership and warehousing provider in Northeastern Pennsylvania started in 1958, provides full-service office systems and office furniture, space planning, and project management. As a multi-line commercial furniture and modular partition dealer, they represent approximately 100 different manufacturers of fine office furniture and wall systems. Stone Office also stores clients’ inventory in their warehouse and offers distribution and logistics services to customers.
As Stone Office began to expand their facilities they were able to offer warehousing services to clients in need. However, they did not have an efficient system in place to track inventory, manage shipping and receiving orders, and provide up-to-date information to customers when they needed it. When it was time for an inventory, it became a scavenger hunt for the warehouse employees. Recorded by pencil and paper, Stone Office employees would hunt for inventory in different warehouse locations searching for a request. Stone Office needed to cut inventory time and increase their accuracy tremendously in order to respond quickly to customer demands. When a major client wanted to expand their relationship with Stone Office from furnishing their facilities to storing, managing, and shipping their inventory, Stone had the space, staff, and a 20 year business relationship they intended to support. However, they lacked an effective warehousing system. For Stone Office to act as a third party logistics provider it was necessary to employ a cost effective management system so they could continue to provide the customer service they were known for.
Their next challenge was to find the best system for their warehouse. Stone Office was no longer solely storing and tracking furniture. They needed to track an extensive inventory of equipment and finished goods. With 2200 to 2700 pallets circulating through their Dickson City warehouse, it was imperative to know what each pallet contained and where it was located at all times. In addition, each pallet required its own inventory. Some pallets contained up to 36,000 small items where others consisted of one large item. To determine the best system for the job, Stone Office called upon a friend and system consultant to evaluate several software solutions that would enable them to expand their services.
A prior relationship with an IntelliTrack Sales Manager started a discussion with Stone Office about a new IntelliTrack product offering, IntelliTrack 3PL. At the time the software was completed, but had not yet been installed at a customer site and could only be offered in its beta form. If implemented correctly, IntelliTrack 3PL had the ability to greatly benefit Stone’s warehouse and provide support for their clients’ needs. IntelliTrack 3PL is an addition to IntelliTrack’s warehouse management software, IntelliTrack WMS.IntelliTrack 3PL provides web based inventory views, order and task management, and advanced billing capabilities in addition to basic warehouse functionality. With this system in place Stone Office would have the ability to provide up-to-date information to clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Stone Office had their consultant evaluate IntelliTrack’s 3PL software in addition to the other software applications previously selected. The consultant concluded that the beta version of IntelliTrack 3PL was as good if not better than the other software solutions evaluated. Based on an existing friendship and thorough evaluation, Stone decided to move forward with IntelliTrack 3PL and the beta process of installing the newly developed software application.
With an initial system requirements study, where all IntelliTrack warehousing solutions begin, IntelliTrack was able to determine Stone’s warehousing processes and business procedures. After a thorough analysis, IntelliTrack WMS RF was installed to perform base warehouse functions while moving through the first installation of IntelliTrack 3PL software. IntelliTrack 3PL’s beta process began during the summer of 2007 and lasted several months.
Beta projects are very difficult by nature and the challenge facing both Stone Office and IntelliTrack centered on an untested software package. It was often difficult for both companies to remain on the same page due to the range of Stone Office’s specific customer requirements compared to the needs perceived by IntelliTrack to standardize the software. In many situations like this, a logistics provider’s customer requirements often dictate just what the solution will be.
In resolving these issues, IntelliTrack invested significant hours modifying reports and making minor changes. This resulted in adding features to the IntelliTrack 3PL offering that would benefit Stone Office and future IntelliTrack customers.
IntelliTrack often conducted work with the software application that was unseen by Stone Office. While these delays contributed to a level of frustration on both sides, the ultimate product delivered was uniquely suited to Stone Offices customer. By December 2007, Stone Office was fully functional with IntelliTrack 3PL and had upgraded to IntelliTrack’s WMS RF Professional to provide and support additional warehousing functions.
In addition to tracking office furniture, Stone Office is now using IntelliTrack to store raw materials for fulfillment of a large manufacturer in the customer service and medical industry. Stone’s client is able to see into their warehouse through a web portal for updated information on their inventory at anytime. They can receive on demand information regarding shipping, orders, and tasks performed in the warehouse each day. IntelliTrack 3PL software allows warehousing personnel to perform physical inventory, move and change item and inventory locations, manage order entries, and easily pick and receive items for shipments. IntelliTrack’s system has also made it effortless for customer service representatives to obtain warehouse information and pass along details to a client.
The Bottom Line
Without IntelliTrack’s Warehouse Management and 3PL software, Stone Office would not have been able to support their clients’ needs. Now fully operational, Stone has been able to expand their offered services and increase business with their current clientele. Stone Office’s Vicki Krause, now knows instantly where items are located and no longer has to search the grounds to identify their existing inventory. In addition, Stone’s clients can now sit at their desk and obtain information regarding any of their inventories in the warehouse at anytime necessary. With IntelliTrack, Stone Office’s warehouse has the ability to handle large orders and shipments when required, saving them time and increasing accuracy tremendously.
With IntelliTrack’s software solutions, Stone Office has been able to grow a customer and grow their business by expanding their service offering. Going forward, they plan to offer inventory, shipping, and long-term storage of office furniture, inventory, and resources to new and existing clientele.