From local business to global success, Ultimate Products is an international brand house managing consumer goods brands, across 12 product ranges including household names; Salter, Beldray, Progress and Intempo. Having experienced revenue growth across each of the business’ strategic pillars, Ultimate Products has seen particular strong performance on its ecommerce platforms following the recent surge in online shopping.
As a result of this growth, the Oldham-based business has seen a rise in its direct-to-customer order volumes, highlighting the requirement for a more streamlined pack and despatch process to increase efficiencies.
“Ultimate Products is an ambitious and expanding business. As we venture into new markets and explore new channels, the complexity of our distribution centre processes have also increased. Customer demands are sky high and complex time consuming and manual systems were adding unnecessary pressure to our operations,” says David Bloomfield, Supply Chain Director at Ultimate Products.
Heavily reliant on paper-based systems Ultimate Products, who works with over 300 retailers across various countries, set out on its search for a software solution that would simplify its system for meeting different retailer requirements and manage the sheer scale of parcels going through its warehouse.
The pain points:
- Time consuming and manual operational process
- Heavy reliance on paper based systems
- Managing large volumes of printed paperwork daily resulting in inaccuracies
- Errors from an evolving workforce
“Mornings in our warehouse were spent matching courier labels to invoices, then separating them by SKU, before we could even begin to pack the product,” adds Bloomfield. “The repetitive and manual nature of these tasks, meant there would likely be a higher margin for error. We needed to get rid of this complexity and administrative work from our warehouse operatives, so we could increase the number of parcels packed per hour.”
With a clear need to increase the number of parcels packed per hour, per operative Ultimate Products approached Breathe Technologies to provide a software solution that would achieve increased efficiency in their operations.
David notes that early on they realised a traditional ‘off the shelf’ solution wouldn’t tick all of their boxes. Flexibility was key to choosing a software automation partner.
“Initially we were drawn to Breathe Technologies because of their depth of existing customer experience, which gave us confidence in the proposed software solutions. However, the flexibility offered by Breathe’s software solution to meet our requirements stands out by far. The ability to provide a software platform that is hosted on our network, gave us confidence that even if the internet connection was lost our system would not go down. Likewise, another key selling feature was the company’s flexible license model; it is more cost effective solution for us in the longer term.
“Choosing a software solution that can handle the complexity of our operations and scale accordingly, will ensure we meet future growth targets,” comments Bloomfield.
Ultimate Products implemented Breathe Out: A software enabled process improvement solution from Breathe Technologies. Specifically designed for companies reliant on manual order fulfilment, Breathe Out ensures greater volumes and increased productivity, for flawless parcel delivery.
By implementing this solution, Ultimate Products was able to:
- Seamlessly connect systems, match items to orders and parcels, and allocate parcels to the right carriers.
- Accelerate data flows, guide operators, and increase the number of orders fulfilled per hour
- Automate fulfilment validation checks to increase carrier compliance rates and minimise manual processes, significantly reducing costs associated with customer complaints and returns
What are the measureable benefits?
Speaking about the benefits of the solution, David highlights: “The most obvious and biggest benefit we have seen is the productivity gain; 300% increase in the number of parcels that can be packed in any given day. Well above our expectations for the project and we’re delighted.”
In addition to this, Ultimate Products also benefited from:
- Reduced complexity: Staff training processes have been simplified making on-boarding time quicker and easier for operators to understand and execute the process
- Increased sustainability: Dramatically reduced the amount of paper used by removing the need to no longer match packing notes and invoices
- Error reduction: Errors have pretty much been eradicated from the system
Primed for the future
Amazon Prime is a key component of Ultimate Products’ online business strategy. Providing both Seller Fulfilled Prime and Vendor Central Fulfillment services, there is increasing pressure to ensure fulfillment processes meet Amazon’s stringent demands. Following the success on its online channel, Breathe’s software has now been implemented on the Amazon Vendor business.
“Amazon Vendor is the bigger side of the business we supply the retailer on. Breathe Technologies has enabled us to double the number of orders we fulfill; that’s a 200% increase in productivity gains. The technology has dramatically improved our ability to scale up that side of our business rapidly.
“We are now working with Breathe on a wider WMS system for our wholesale business. We have learnt lessons from the Amazon Vendor solution and we are happy with the productivity gains and the technology. We now plan to have a full WMS system delivered by Breathe,” concludes Bloomfield.