Warehouse management system - DHL Supply Chain - Healthcare

DHL's European Healthcare Campus in Cherwell is the largest shared-user logistics centre in the UK, servicing the needs of the healthcare sector.

DHL supply chain - healthcare The Campus works in a very demanding environment, offering storage facilities, domestic distribution and worldwide export services to pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

OBS Logistics is helping the company to achieve tough service level agreements, including exacting Key Performance Indicators for accuracy. The approach is built around a Radio Frequency (RF) solution, integrated into OBS Logistics' warehouse management system installed at the DHL Logistics campus. The solution was implemented on time and to plan, including bespoke work to meet the specific needs of one of DHL's customers.

"We respect both OBS's technical skills and their partnership.... They understand the logistics marketplace and are used to the special demands of third party logistics. Most importantly, their systems are futureproofed"

DHL’s Healthcare Campus is a huge undertaking - three sites spanning multiple contracts and totalling 33,000 square meters of warehousing facilities. Inventory management of a wide range of ambient and temperature-controlled products, from pharmaceuticals, through high-value medical devices to diagnostic reagents, is underpinned by DHL's warehouse management system, developed and maintained by OBS Logistics. The system is implemented on a pan-European basis at the company's other healthcare campus locations.

DHL Supply Chain"Four years ago, we adopted a Radio Frequency solution for our warehouses," says Brian Smith, IT manager at Cherwell. "It was provided and implemented by one of the leading RF specialists but turned out to be overly complex and certainly wasn't futureproofed. After three years, the supplier withdrew support and we were faced with having to pay yet again for the earlier bespoke work that had been necessary to meet specific customer needs."

The company reviewed the marketplace for a replacement and selected a solution from OBS Logistics. "For some years we have enjoyed a good relationship with OBS Logistics and we respect both their technical skills and their partnership approach," Brian explains. "They built the warehouse management system that DHL has deployed around the world. They understand the logistics marketplace and are used to the special demands of third party logistics. Most importantly, their systems are future-proofed. Ongoing changes to functionality, necessary in a third party environment, should pose no problems. It wasn't a difficult decision to select an RF offering from them. As it stood, their solution was a better business fit and, of course, integration with our existing WMS was facilitated by OBS Logistics’ in-depth expertise as authors of the system."

"Whenever there is a stock movement, the system enforces a real-time balance check. Potential issues are picked up before they become history and before they become problems. ROI can be achieved within twelve months"

The operation went live supporting 34 users expanding to 52.

"Implementation was straightforward," says Brian. "At Cherwell, things were complicated by the need to develop specific end-customer special requirements. A similar implementation in London, without the need for bespoke work, was completed in a matter of days. The system is robust, easy to use and gives good control and visibility to the users."

The benefits of RF in the warehouse? "That's easy," according to Brian.

"Traceability and accuracy - particularly picking accuracy - is everything for us. We work to very demanding service level agreements; for example, we can be 100 per cent liable for stock that may go missing on certain contracts. RF gives us almost effortless perpetual inventory, with lots of inbuilt checks. Whenever there is a stock movement, the system enforces a real-time balance check. Potential issues are picked up before they become history and before they become problems. ROI can be achieved within twelve months."

In the UK, OBS Logistics’ RF solution is also implemented in DHL's sites at Whitwood near Leeds, Atherstone, Coventry and Lutterworth. The solution is also implemented at DHL's Nijmegen site in Holland, their Dublin site in Ireland, and Penang in Malaysia.

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