Zupplychain’s Stock Database is one of several unique elements in the Zupplychain proposition. It has been developed with two main aims – giving customers online visibility of their stock whilst it’s held in third party warehouses, as well as confidence that the right pallets will be picked and dispatched; and enabling those with spare warehousing space to offer it out for third party storage without investing in specialist systems to manage that stock. Currently our Stock Database is available to all customers and warehouse providers who complete an online transaction via Zupplychain.
The process is simple: once a customer wishes to dispatch stock to a third-party warehouse, they update their Zupplychain database with information about the pallets they’re dispatching. They can provide as much information as they like – from just a product code or product description all the way up to a full inventory breakdown, including weights, heights, BBE dates, unit types and unit quantities. Zupplychain then generates a unique reference number and barcode for each pallet – giving all parties the capacity to identify them accurately and quickly – and once the customer has finished, the warehouse provider can also view the imminent dispatch.
Zupplychain generates pallet-specific labels which the customer can then affix to the correct pallets, showing the URN and barcode clearly, the former in large enough print to be readable several rows high in pallet racking. The labels also contain product code/description information and pallet weight and height.
Upon dispatch, the customer changes the pallets to ‘in-transit’ status on the Zupplychain database. The warehouse then books them in upon receipt, using the URNs to note any discrepancies. When the customer requires some of the pallets dispatching, he specifies which URNs and the delivery details (date, destination etc.), which the warehouse then books out once actioned.
Whenever a dispatch request is made, an email notification is sent to the warehouse provider advising them of the instruction. And similarly, whenever a warehouse books in or books out stock, the customer receives an email to confirm this status change, along with a link to the new information on the database. At all stages, both parties can view the stock at the individual pallet level and its status. A warehouse can also record location if desired.
Zupplychain has developed the stock database to support our vision of making out-sourcing warehouse storage and logistics easier for small and medium sized businesses who have traditionally run their own warehouse and distribution facilities. In particular, if a customer is using multiple Zupplychain warehouse providers for storage, it can see all its stock across multiple warehouses on one screen, aggregated by product or warehouse or at individual pallet level, and move it between warehouses or to end customers.
The URN and barcode or at the heart of the Stock Database’s methodology and re-assurance. Each pallet is individually labelled, allowing for capturing unique elements such as BBE’s or batch numbers that might otherwise be difficult for a warehouse provider – when dealing with another party’s stock – to locate. The warehouse then confirms receipt of the pallets by printing out the pallet list from the Stock Database and referencing to the URN labels on the pallet, noting any missing or additional pallets. It can then book the stock in and record a location code against it. When a dispatch request is made, the warehouse merely needs to retrieve the pallet(s) by the URN, not needing to identify potentially complex product codes or descriptions.
An early adopter of the Stock Database was J Stell & Sons, a cardboard tubes manufacturer based in Keighley, West Yorkshire. When a potential new Scottish customer required a local solution, Stell found the warehouse on Zupplychain. After this, they discovered how the Stock Database could solve or simplify a number of issues: a process for requesting the dispatch of specific pallets; how to manage a product specification change using the same product code and description without mixing stock; and an audit trail for invoicing the end customer for stock deliveries.
Zupplychain continues to develop the Stock Database. Coming soon will be ‘Home Stock’ functionality – the ability to manage pallet stock in one’s own warehouse, irrespective of whether it will be dispatched to a third party, and to view ‘home stock’ alongside pallets in third party storage. Also, in its current iteration, the database is primarily designed for ‘full pallets in, full pallets out’; however, we are developing the ability to change the status of a pallet to ‘picking pallet’ and monitor the stock at unit level.
The release of this new functionality will be March 2017. In the meantime, to learn more about how Zupplychain’s Stock Database could help you – either as a customer requiring third party storage or as a warehouse provider – read more here or call us on 0161 705 4326.