Load King deploys ScanWorks

lk-industries-blIn 1943, Load King Founder James Merrill Chupp began supplying equipment to the supermarket and foodservice industries. He founded Load King Manufacturing Company, based in Jacksonville, Florida in 1973.

LK Industries™ (LKI), a division of Load King, provides turnkey store packages including millwork, fixtures, equipment, designs, and services to the supermarket, retail and foodservice industries worldwide. Working with clients such as Cold Stone Creamery®, Einstein Bros. ® Bagels, Smoothie King®, and Starbucks®, LKI has installed nearly 2,500 store packages throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Airports, college campuses, shopping centers, shopping malls, supermarkets and truck stops are all included in LKI installations.

In fall of 2005, LKI, a rapidly growing business, required more from their IFS information system. They needed to improve customer service, streamline manufacturing, improve inventory accuracy, and improve distribution operations.
A bar code data collection system was mandatory if they were to capitalize on all these functional benefits from IFS. Obtaining accurate and timely data in and out of IFS was the key to better use.

Unaware of the ScanWorks product, LKI purchased a competitive offering. After a long and troublesome implementation, LKI now had two problems: a bar code solution that did not work and a business desperate for information to solve serious inventory and shipping problems. After a year of trying to fix the system problems, LKI contacted eNSYNC, having learned that another Jacksonville area company GE Aircraft Engine, was using IFS and ScanWorks® with great success.

eNSYNC had to show that ScanWorks not only could meet 100 of the functional requirements but prove the underlying technology was reliable, provided real-time transaction processing, was easy to use, and was lower in cost to modify and maintain.

Given past headaches, LKI was skeptical of data collection systems and required eNSYNC to deliver a pilot implementation so that the ScanWorks system could be thoroughly tested and benchmarked. After a site survey to determine actual requirements, eNSYNC agreed to a 30 day, no charge pilot program. Six standard ScanWorks transactions were delivered for the pilot. The software was installed and users trained in just three days.

LKI’s evaluation criteria for the ScanWorks pilot focused on the major shortcomings found within their current system. These included:

  • Architecture – this was very hard to keep running, unstable, with frequent crashes.
  • Data Integrity – LKI was never were sure if data was written to IFS. Transaction data was often lost and had to be re-keyed.
  • Ease of Use – GUI interface required the use of a stylus, which was cumbersome for operators to navigate.
  • Mobile client applications and operating system required frequent RF scanner re-boots and server response time was very slow.
  • Static and unchanging data had to be continually re-entered
    Multiple screens were required per transaction and there was poor transactional flow.
  • It was expensive to amend or modify transactions.

Each of these issues was addressed in the pilot. eNSYNC’s in-depth IFS product knowledge helped LKI better understand how bar coding is best deployed to leverage the strength of IFS both functionally and technically. ScanWorks’ use of native IFS APIs for real-time integration solved the problems LKI experienced with reliability, data integrity, and high cost to modify transactions.
After a successful pilot and additional customer reference checks, LKI elected to move forward with ScanWorks.
The following ScanWorks Transactions for IFS were delivered and are now in use:

  • PO Receipt
  • Issue to Shop Order
  • Receive to Shop Order
  • Change Inventory Part Location
  • Issue Inventory Part
  • Picking-Reserve, Report Picking
  • Finished goods label reprint
  • Generic label reprint

eNSYNC Solutions worked with LKI to utilize previously purchased Intermec RF scanners and printers. ScanWorks is hardware vendor independent and eNSYNC does not require the customer to purchase hardware with the ScanWorks licenses.

Previously warehouse personnel had to manually check part numbers, serial numbers and inventory locations from IFS terminals to ensure proper parts are picked. They then had to go back to a desk to key in all movements after the fact. RF Scanners really improve mobility and efficiency. Today inventory is maintained at its highest degree of accuracy while clerical work has been vastly reduced. Efficiencies gained from ScanWorks™ have improved employee productivity.

A simple, but powerful example is ScanWorks’ ease of use from “smart” transactional flows. When picking a quantity of the same but serialized part for the same order the previous system required the worker to scan and input Order, Line, Release, Part, and Serial Number for each item over and over again. ScanWorks requires only the Order, Line, Release, and Part be scanned once then prompts for the individual serial numbers at the end of the pick. This has been a huge time saver and smile-maker for the operators!

eNSYNC Solutions really stepped up to help LK Industries in a time of need. It was certainly a difficult environment, given the frustrations and skepticism we had for bar code data collection. ScanWorks is a well-designed and engineered product and eNYSNC’s experience with ERP and bar code data collection was very evident from our first meeting. What makes ScanWorks a great product are eNSYNC’s great people who really know IFS – knowledge that was really lacking with our previous vendor.
Rob Wyatt, Engineering Manager, LK Industries