It’s Smart to Have Accurate Warehouse Data
rowth is good, although you
may begin to doubt that if your
partner is increasing its business
so much that it begins to pay
insufficient attention to your G
needs. And if that cold shoulder starts to
cost you money, it’s probably time to grow
yourself right out of that relationship.
That, in large measure, is what happened to Grayling Industries, an Atlanta-
based company that manufactures plastic
container liners for liquid and dry applications in industrial packaging, and a number
of other things used in asbestos abatement.
The polyethylene products are shaped
and formed in a 60,000-square-foot factory in
Juarez, Mexico, across from El Paso, Texas.
From there, the product line is shipped
worldwide. Sales are approximately $20m a
year, says Carlos Rubio, director of finance
and operations at Grayling.
Traditionally, raw material was brought
into Mexico for the manufacture of the liners and other products. Some suppliers didn’t ship across the border, however, so
supplies were generally stored in a warehouse in El Paso, operated by a large customs broker. When purchase orders came
in, inventory could be drawn down and
moved across the border to the plant.
“We would ship our inventory in there and
store it,” Rubio says. “The broker would send
us a report of material we had on the floor. We
would tell them what we wanted, they would
do the actual brokerage for us. We’d send a
3PL to pick it up and bring it into Mexico.
“Seems like a happy marriage, right?”
But the relationship’s split was coming
because the broker’s business was booming,
Rubio says. Grayling was far from its largest
customer, and the attention it needed suffered. “Orders started being put into the system late or not at all or incorrectly. We had
suppliers telling us that we weren’t performing within 30 days, and we started losing discounts – some of 2 or 3 percent. We’d lose
them because the broker captured the P.O. a
week late, and we didn’t know that. Or
they’d capture it incorrectly. We couldn’t get
the discounts we wanted.”
For a SMB like Grayling, losing $40,000
a year in discounts was no small matter,
Rubio says. “It became a nightmare for us.”
When inaccurate data led to shipping
the wrong product to China—which cost
Grayling another $22,000—Rubio realized
something had to be done.
It was decided that Grayling needed to
have accurate and real-time inventory management and just-in-time delivery of raw
material to the Mexican plant.