Working for a Better Warehouse
Senator International faces the challenges of a complex, dynamic logistics industry head on with its integrated warehousing solution.
Ask Oliver Kulbach what he loves about warehouse logistics, and he’ll tell you it’s the reward of overcoming the complex challenges of a dynamic industry. With 30 years of logistics experience to his credit, Senator International’s IT manager is no stranger to finding solutions on a global scale.
When Senator’s warehouse operations began to expand worldwide, Kulbach faced his latest challenge: making sure the company’s operational efficiency grew in unison with its success. For Senator, this was a crucial issue. Among its many high demand, high volume customers, are big-name automobile manufacturers; one delivery mistake from Senator, and a customer’s entire production line can grind to halt. With no room for error, Kulbach had to find ways to ensure efficiency and reliability would never be compromised, and the key to providing consistent efficiency was better worldwide integration. “We wanted an integrated solution where every branch has centralized access to our global data,” says Kulbach. “At the time, we had a different logistics system in nearly every country. All data between branches had to be sent by email and re-keyed into another system. As we opened more offices worldwide, this was hurting our efficiency.”
Examining the problem, Kulbach saw that tighter integration with the end-to-end supply chain process would also increase both automation and productivity. For Senator, this would mean faster, more efficient operations and services that would remain competitive as they increased in quality. “Warehouse operations need to be highly productive to compete in the market, and that’s only possible by cleverly utilizing an integrated software system to its full extent,” says Kulbach. “Our system must-haves included a global database, integrated modules, a hosted environment, and high levels of functionality.” In the end, this led Senator to search for a new technology platform.
After successful implementation in the UK, Senator rolled the system out across its European warehouses and used it to assist in the setup of a new site for a significant new contract. The success in Europe led to system requests from other Senator branches, each wanting the increased visibility and higher automation to meet demands. “Working with CargoWise One allows us to offer services that we couldn’t deliver before,” says Kulbach. “In addition to better automation through automated workflows and scheduled reporting, we can now offer 100 percent visibility from fully integrating our scanning technology and integrating data with customers’ systems. With the improved integration, we can now give our global customers centralized access to multiple warehouses worldwide and can tailor solutions to fit their exact needs.”
But for Senator, a successful warehouse system needs more than just functionality. It needs to be intuitive. With its warehouses now supported by more efficient technology, all of Senator’s warehouse staff – from project managers, to clerks, to the workers on the warehouse floor – have to work with the system’s well-defined processes to ensure the best possible results. “They love how straightforward it is to operate and how working on a single-platform system doesn’t leave room for errors. The combination of good, qualified personnel and a reliable, easy-to-use software solution has been essential for our success,” Kulbach says.
In addition to a system that works with staff and not against them, Kulbach wanted a system that wouldn’t drain IT resources. He knew that a system developed by an in-house IT team could never deliver the same results at the cost of a cloud-based system from a dedicated developer.
“Developing, running, and maintaining a complex system like CargoWise One requires many different technical specialties, so for us it makes more sense to have all technical issues handled by the developer. They know their software inside-out. They can test new applications in a dedicated environment, and they have the necessary monitoring tools to detect problems before they occur. We would never be able to create a similar system ourselves.”
Now, with the integration capabilities it needs, Senator International will continue its commitment to delivering flexible, reliable, and lean services that can support even the most demanding warehouse customer. For Kulbach, he’s risen to this challenge and, undoubtedly, will be looking forward to overcoming the next.