WCS is a dedicated provider of comprehensive supply chain execution technology, services and solutions that range from warehouse management, billing, procurement through to voice, labour management, POD, asset management and analytics.
Engineered to be future proof, the company’s flagship product CSnx is a next generation warehouse management platform that offers organisations easy-touse, flexible, scalable out of the box capability that will automate, diagnose and seamlessly manage today’s complex Omnichannel supply chain operations.
Headquartered in the UK, with offices in North America and South Africa. The company was founded in 1969 by grocer Charlie Fitzmorris, and today services many of the industry’s top tier grocery retailers with its innovative warehouse management system. WCS has an international reach that focuses primarily on the grocery wholesale distribution and retail sector but also supports DIY, pharmaceutical and manufacturing operations.
WLN – As a top Warehouse Management Systems supplier, what have conditions been like in the past year for your business?
We have continued to face pressure in the last year from customers who are expecting more from their supply chain technology solutions. These customers, primarily grocery retailers, are continuing to find their market increasingly competitive and demand for WMS solutions is strong, with the effects and demands of omni-channel contributing to customers investing significantly in technology. These customers are implementing leading edge, digital and e-commerce enabled technology that allows for smarter warehousing to ensure success in their given markets. Ecommerce continues to impact and shape our customers world, and their survival very much depends on strengthening their technology whilst navigating the ‘land of e-commerce’.
Retail, grocery, wholesale and 3pl verticals have been very active within our customer base and in securing new customers. Over this year we have been working very closely with our customers to bring them up to date with their supply chain, technology solutions. Our flagship WMS solution, CSnx has received excellent customer performance benchmarking due to its architecture strengths, its performance on large numbers of users and transactions (handling well over 1000 users) and its integration capabilities. Its performance in terms of BYOD, real time capabilities and functionality have all been called out as excellent by customers with the platforms ability to meet the demands of today’s multi-functional DC.
As a business we continue to innovate by listening to our customers, and CSnx has enabled our customers to get a very quick ROI. We have built our business on reacting to the needs of our customers, and we will continue to do that into next year.
WLN – How have recent international developments affected you and how have you responded?
At this point in time, we have not been affected. We continue to grow as a business, and have invested in people this year with a 50% rise in personnel across the UK business to support our growth internationally.
WLN – What are your flagship products and services?
Our flagship product continues to be our WMS platform CSnx, however this year we have taken to market CSnx as a cloud and transactional-based on-demand WMS tool, to support small to mid-sized third party logistics businesses. A first of its kind in the industry, this aims to support start-ups and growing businesses where ERP systems, and MS Excel-based solutions simply won’t satisfy the complexity of their customer demands. With on-demand access to the full modular version of CSnx, they have access to the full gamut of functionalities that a tier one WMS provides but via a transactional-based model this becomes more affordable. As the business scales, they can add more functionality and all of this is available via the Cloud as a SaaS-based model.
WLN – What makes you the ‘go to’ supplier in your category?
As the original creator of warehouse management systems, WCS has pioneered multi-technologies like stockless warehouse. We were one of the first to implement a voice solution both in the UK and US and have a fully integrated offering of purchasing, warehousing and labour management which is unique globally. With the recent release of our next generation product CSnx, we have all our existing functionality and much more to meet today’s business needs and beyond.
WLN – How do you help customers improve their business performance?
We offer our customers an efficient and reliable WMS that’s functionally-rich and gives them a competitive advantage. Our ethos is to grow with our customers, working hand in glove to support their growth and offer solutions that fit any stage of their business.
WLN – How have you changed your offering to customers in the last 12 months and why? Have you added anything new?
As mentioned earlier, we have recently announced the availability of an on-demand product, which gives 3PL’s specifically easy access to a full version of our flagship WMS CSnx. It aims to help these types of businesses compete better by offering their customers the efficiency and reporting skills of a larger WMS for a fraction of the price. Using CSnx, 3PL’s will be able to integrate into customers’ existing ERP systems, or operate stand alone. As well as achieving greater stock visibility, traceability and accountability, the 3PL will be able to improve space utilisation and gain more efficient use of the warehouse as well as fewer picking errors and returns.
WLN – Which markets are your customers in? Which ones are growing fastest?
We primarily focus on grocery wholesale distribution and retail sectors however we also support pharmaceutical, DIY and manufacturing operations.
WLN – Can you name some of your major customers and tell us what do you do for them?
Our customers range from those with virtually no internal expertise who need a high level of support to those who have large, experienced teams who need only occasional support. In all cases, we offer
implementation services, business and technical consultancy and all on-going support required to our customers to successfully manage their operations. Our systems are highly configurable and meet our customers’ exact needs.
We have long standing customer relationships that go back over 24 years, customers like Bozzuto’s Inc. who we’ve worked with since 1997, a total service wholesale distributor based in the US. The company has used the wide range of our tools over a number of years, and they feel that using the WCS system has enabled it to grow and improve its customer service throughout the whole supply chain. It views WCS as a strategic partner, and not just a supplier. Jamie Wright, Director of Industrial Engineering at Bozzuto’s Inc. recently said, “In 15 years we have quadrupled in sales volumes and have quadrupled again in SKU product ranges. Within a few years we have gone from a $1.7bn business to a $2.1 billion operation from the same sized DC. The only way we could achieve that was through the implementation of smart technology from WCS.”
WLN – What’s been your most memorable recent project?
• Musgrave Retail Partners in Ireland has achieved significant ROI on its voice implementation recently and the company continues to see a return of around 660k Euros a year with high levels of accuracy and productivity gains of around 9%. The system implemented earlier in the year integrates seamlessly with our warehouse management system, with all voice-based transactions allowing for real-time maintenance of inventory levels and better synchronization of replenishment activities. Accuracy and productivity are critical in modern distribution centres, and the use of voice technology delivers this by utilizing hands-free, eyes free communications.
• Haul & Store Ltd, a Surrey-based 3PL is our first customer of the new transactional-based cloud model for CSnx, and the company is already seeing real value in their ability to compete competitively against larger 3PL’s. As they progress and integrate the system further into their business, they will get some powerful ROI that we’ll be able to report on next year.
WLN – What were your other major achievements in the last 12 months?
• WCS has recently been shortlisted by CIOReview as one of their 100 most promising IBM Solutions Providers in 2015.
• WCS has been recognised as one of the “30 Fastest Growing Companies Of The Year 2016” by The Silicon Review.
• The Musgrave and WCS partnership took plaudits in the OPERATIONS LARGE (500+ EMPLOYEES) and WAREHOUSE EFFICIENCY categories
WLN – Are you branching into any new areas, targeting new customers and taking on more people?
The last 24 months have seen huge growth for our organization – we’ve grown our talent pool by over 50% and will continue to do the same in the next year. The opportunities we have worldwide, will lead to an expansion of our current skilled staff base. With the introduction of our on-demand product, we’ll take CSnx to a new market of small to midtier businesses that we hope will increase revenue across the business as a whole.
WLN – How important is staff development and training to your growth?
We’re working internally to evaluate training opportunities for existing staff, so we can enhance their skills in line with latest industry techniques and similarly with new talent we take on; we want to help them to innovate by providing the necessary training infrastructure to make that happen.
WLN – Looking ahead, what factors do you see affecting your business? How are you turning these into opportunities?
NISA Retail is one of our key customers, Dave Morris, as Head of IT at NISA commented: “A main challenge is to constantly innovate to look for competitive advantage in an already technologically saturated marketplace. There is an expectation that all elements of the distribution lifecycle are available to the retailer 24/7 via mobile and tablet systems and it is becoming more of a challenge to keep ahead of the game.”
He continued, “The retailer wants smaller, more frequent drops of product to serve their customer. However, this is a challenge to the distribution network to maintain the level of service, keep costs down whilst keeping the retailer happy.” “There is a plethora of data produced, which gives great insight into all elements of the supply chain. However a challenge is disseminating this information to gain meaningful results that can maintain competitiveness and profitability in an Omni-channel global landscape.”
Consumer demand is still having a huge impact on retail groceries today, businesses are being forced to drive product through their organisations more quickly and to more locations. Analysis of the data produced across the supply chain is now more readily available, however there is a need to simplify this and make it translate into real competitive advantage.
Legislation is also having a large impact in food industries, the farm-to-fork compliance requirements of having a preventative food safety plan and supporting systems will be business critical this year, and CSnx caters for full date and lot management so will support that challenge. Employee turnover continues to be a key challenge for our customers, so our labour management system comes into its own for these customers. It allows employee incentives, and can readily track performance to lessen attrition rates.
WLN – Which major trade shows and other industry events are you involved in over the next year?
Our plan isn’t 100% finalized but we’ll have a presence at all the major trade shows during 2017.
WLN – What headline news from Worldwide Chan Stores can our readers look forward to seeing in Warehouse & Logistics News in 2017?
The main news will be the growing customer base and announcements around several new customers using the new CSnx platform. Our business is focused on technological innovation, so we’ll be making lots of mobile adaption and continuing to make functionality more retail time and automated. Allowing visibility across the business will also be key, so those outside of the warehouse can easily measure performance and effect.
WLN – And finally, in our social media age, if you had to sum up your company in a 140-character tweet what would you say?
Customers are at the very core of our business, we work together to deliver solutions that impact not only the bottom line but offer valuable ROI.