February 28, 2005, 12:00 AM

Keeping the web’s eye on sensitive material in transit

Sportsman’s Warehouse, which operates 30 stores and SportsmansWarehouse.com, is using a web-based supply chain execution system that tracks information such as serial numbers, manufacturers and models of firearms to satisfy federal regulations at multiple checkpoints.

It’s hard enough getting customers’ orders packed, shipped and delivered on time, a chore for which web-based supply chain systems have proven their worth by providing shippers and customers visibility into order status.

But when the cargo is made up of firearms, ammunition and other products subject to government security regulations, visibility into shipment status takes on a whole new meaning. That’s why Salt Lake City-based Sportsman’s Warehouse, which operates 30 stores and SportsmansWarehouse.com, is using a web-based supply chain execution system that tracks information such as serial numbers, manufacturers and models of firearms.

The system, co-developed by HighJump Software Inc. and systems designer Q4 Logistics, is designed to let managers and dock workers enter and access information about shipments through the web, increasing the speed and accuracy of producing audits required by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “Productivity jumped the first week we turned the system on,” says Chris Utgaard, COO of Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Sportsman’s is expecting to grow its revenue 50% this year to $500 million, up from about $330 million last year, and it plans to open 15 stores this year, following 10 stores opened last year, he adds.

The HighJump/Q4 system captures data on each package, including the time a product leaves or arrives at a warehouse. Workers scan barcodes on warehouse racks, pallets and loading and receiving dock locations to produce records of how and when products moved from shipping warehouse locations to trucks to receiving warehouses. The result is a trail of information that lets managers view over the web reports on the specific route and amount of time products took in transit.

In addition, the web-based system automatically configures the most efficient means of packing mixed shipments of goods-which can range from firearms to binoculars and fishing equipment-in truck containers. After dock workers scan packages for shipment, they view on a desktop web page step-by-step packing instructions.

The HighJump/Q4 system serves as Sportsman’s Warehouse’s first supply chain/warehouse management system. In the past, Sportsman’s relied on paper records to track inventory movement.

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