Cintron Quenches Thirst For Order Management System
A Web-based OMS provides a shot of energy to Cintron's inventory and order management processes.
Philadelphia-based Cintron Beverage Company manufactures and markets a line of Latin-inspired energy drinks, energy shots, teas, and juices. Since its 2006 launch, Cintron logged a 20-percent growth rate year over year, sapping the energy from its order fulfillment process.
From 2006 to 2008, Cintron relied on spreadsheets and faxed reports to manage inventory and move product. But relying on a paper-based solution and manual data entry led to discrepancies between what Cintron thought it had in inventory and what was actually there.
Cintron CEO Richard Wyatt knew there had to be a more streamlined way to gain inventory visibility. That solution was right under his nose: a Web-based order management system.
Spreadsheets Had to Go
Cintron operates a primary warehouse in Philadelphia, and maintains production locations in New Kensington, Pa., and Indiana. The company has a presence in South Africa, and is focusing on Central America and the Caribbean.
With just 12 full-time employees, coordinating shipments, pickups, and dropoffs using paper spreadsheets grew overwhelming, especially as transportation volume began increasing from a few truckloads each month to daily shipments.
"Discrepancies arose between what the facilities were storing and what we thought they were storing," explains Wyatt. "We frequently performed physical inventory counts to determine what products were actually in the warehouse."
At the time, Cintron was moving two truckloads per week out of any given facility. Outbound trucks were sent to retailers' distribution centers or to warehouses maintained by DF Young, Cintron's third-party logistics provider. Less-than-truckload inbound shipments occurred about twice per month at the Philadelphia location to transfer product from a production facility or handle returned items.
"Inbound shipments affected inventory levels, as did outbound shipments," explains Wyatt. "Managing inventory accurately was becoming nearly impossible. We needed an easier way to bring visibility into the process, so we began to search for a system."
Having worked with DF Young for about one year, Wyatt was aware of its order management system (OMS). "I thought it could streamline and make our process more efficient," he says. Thus, Cintron began and ended its OMS search right then and there.
Berwyn, Pa.-based DF Young provides end-to-end supply chain services and global inventory visibility using SuperviSES, an order management system from Pearl River, N.Y.-based Superior Technology Software Solutions. DF Young began working with Superior Technology in 2007, in response to its customers' need for end-to-end order management tracking.
"We provide event-by-event information in real time, so Cintron knows what shipped and when; if a product is on back order; if a shipment was short; cargo value and quantity; and any bumps along the way. They never have to wonder if an order was delivered," explains Betty Reynolds, vice president of sales and operations for DF Young. "Cintron gets a true picture of its orders, sales, and product stream from raw materials to finished product delivery."
To achieve that level of visibility, DF Young and Superior Technology first discussed Cintron's needs and problems, then developed a tailored solution that includes management and tracking of product by expiration dates, phone and tablet order and inventory management, full electronic data interchange (EDI) integration, and global geographic visuals of orders and revenue.
"We mapped out processes and made sure we took all factors into account so the system met Cintron's needs, and DF Young could manage those needs," says John Luludis, president of Superior Technology Solutions.
A cloud-based ERP platform, SuperviSES allows full automation and control of the product lifecycle. The application manages the entire process from product planning to distribution. Its EDI capabilities enable communication with suppliers, bottlers, distribution partners, and retailers. The Web-based OMS automatically receives orders, creates inventory, and prepares product for shipment.
In August 2008, Superior and DF Young were ready to test the modified order management system for Cintron. Mock inventory was fabricated and input into the OMS to see how SuperviSES performed.
"We made a few tweaks until we were comfortable introducing the solution in a real-life situation," says Wyatt. "Working with Superior, we added and altered certain functions to provide the most specific and relevant sales information possible.
"The OMS provides the ability to dissect sales numbers down to a specific SKU in any given region or state, or by customer," he adds. "Through the dashboard feature, we can view the top-performing SKUs, regions, and customers on one screen, in real time. This functionality has been invaluable."
The OMS was also integrated with Cintron's accounting system, and the EDI capabilities were tested to interact with Cintron's customers. Once all parties were satisfied with the test results, Cintron performed a physical inventory count to load accurate information into the system as a starting point.
The System Does It All
Since going live with the OMS, Cintron has reaped significant benefits. The tailored solution provides complete visibility to all Cintron's sales, from purchase order to billing. Warehouse personnel can log into one screen that breaks down all sales by region, customer, volume, and SKU.
"It's a totally interactive solution for all our raw materials, production, inventory, and sales," says Wyatt. "Having the most up-to-date sales information for each SKU allows us to better understand how specific marketing efforts affect a particular marketplace, more accurately forecast demand, adjust levels of a particular SKU produced at a specific facility, and understand which segments of the population prefer which products."
Efficiency also improved because the more accurate information in the OMS required fewer people to manage the inventory process. "Because our warehouse personnel used to get bogged down trying to figure out where inventory was, they lost their focus on the customer," explains Wyatt. "Now, however, our ability to plan and manage inventory—as opposed to reacting to order problems—has improved about 95 percent."
Most importantly, Cintron always knows what inventory is available and where it is. "By knowing what inventory is on hand, we can fulfill orders immediately, and automatically deduct the inventory from the OMS," says Wyatt.
"The system provides visibility into the operational cycle and monitors Cintron's product," says Luludis. "Orders are processed, they get automatically picked, the shipping department gets notified, orders are shipped and delivered, and an invoice is created—all without Cintron having to press a button."
"With the exception of selling the product for us, the OMS is capable of just about everything," adds Wyatt.