August 11, 2006, 12:00 AM

UK retailer Authentics sharpens inventory control with web-based system

Housewares and gifts retailer Authentics, using a web-based warehouse management system, has cut by 50% the time it takes its warehouse workers to pick orders while improving overall control of inventory, the retailer says.

Housewares and gifts retailer Authentics, using a web-based warehouse management system, has cut by 50% the time it takes its warehouse workers to pick orders while improving overall control of inventory, the warehouse manager Darren Creasey tells Internet Retailer.

“This April, we had our best-ever stock check,” Creasey says. “100% of inventory was accounted for. Under our older system, it would take five to seven days to do a stock check, now we can do it in two days or less.”

Authentics, which sells through catalogs and 400 partner stores and recently launched a retail web site at Authentics.co.uk, is using a web-based warehouse management system from Radio Beacon Inc.

The ability to better manage inventory, Creasey says, is crucial to expanding growth through its relatively new web channel while also increasing its exposure through catalogs. “The web is a fairly new concept to us, and we needed a new system to handle our growth,” he says.

The improved inventory management is supported by a Java web-based platform that integrates customer orders between a Radio Beacon warehouse management system and SAP Business One enterprise software for managing accounting and inventory records.

When orders are received in the Business One application on a headquarters-based Authentics server, managers click a file-transfer button to move the orders into the Radio Beacon warehouse management system. Warehouse workers can then print out order tickets containing customer addresses and barcodes. Using handheld scanning guns to read the barcodes, workers can view on their handheld screens not only the locations of ordered products but also the most efficient pick cycle for gathering the products, Creasey says.

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