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1996 FIN – Darling: Paperless Distribution is Already Here

September 26
00:00 2009

1996 FIN – Darling: Paperless Distribution is Already Here

October 16, 1996 FIN – The paperless fastener warehouse is not just a theory. It is already functioning, Bruce Darling of Porteous Fastener Co. told the Southwestern Fastener Association conference in Houston.
“The challenge we have is to be bold enough to try and to use it,” Darling said.

Porteous has almost completely made the transition to a paperless warehouse. “We still have a sheet of paper on the pallet, but we hope to eliminate that within a year.”

Electronic distribution starts with E-mail, Darling said. E-mail “is going to take faxes out of the system,” he predicted. “You can E-mail for the cost of a local telephone call. E-mail works seven days a week, 24 hours a day.”

Bar coding and EDI are cutting costs, Darling said. “Computers virtually eliminate picking errors. Computers send the picker in sequential order to save time. We know where everything is. It may be in the location labeled ‘truck’ or in ‘scrap,’ but we know where it is. Some incoming stock is never even placed in inventory. The computer has the ordered stock placed directly on a truck.

Partnerships with vendors or customers save additional money. Darling said there “are items I don’t stock, I don’t want to stock and we don’t have to stock,” because of direct computer links with manufacturers, such as Lake Erie Screw Corp.
The system can be adjusted to any customer’s own bar coding or format,” he added.

• Doing business on the Internet can be secure. “Customers can have a password to enter programs with stock and prices and the system is secure,” Darling explained. “I have a record of who has been there. If he’s not buying then we can shut him out.”

• The Computer virtually eliminates the need for conducting costly annual inventories. The computer knows what is there. When Porteous does conduct its annual count, the entire 50 million-pound inventory can be verified in three shifts.
One verifier checks with the hand-held laser reader. A second verifier then counts and, if both agree, the inventory is locked into the computer.

• It is easy to identify obsolete stock. With warehouse space being tight and expensive, “it allows us to grow our business while using the same amount of space.

Today the computer can compare prices on individual items from Taiwan, china and Korea. “We used to wait a week and a half and set out the bids on the conference table to compare,” Darling recalled.©1996/2009

Related Links:

• Porteous Fastener Company

• Southwestern Fastener Association

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