BLUE HORSESHOE & FORNEY INDUSTRIES

The Client

Forney Industries is one of America’s longest operating family-owned welding and metal working product companies. The company, founded in 1932, introduced the first publicly available arc welder in the 1940’s. Today, Forney sells and markets over 5,000 metal working products nationwide, servicing hardware stores, auto shops, farm-and-ranch stores nationwide. Headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado, Forney operates multiple sites and employs 300 personnel across the United States. Forney’s sales force services over 15,000 customers, ranging from small family owned stores, to multi-state warehouse operations. Forney is committed to providing the best product mix and most personal support services possible. For additional information about Forney Industries, visit www.forneyind.com

Their Challenge

Operating an outdated and functionally disparate system, Forney was looking for a state of the art solution to better manage their accelerating growth and their move into new distribution channels. A tightly integrated system capable of providing real-time information across the enterprise was needed to support daily and strategic business decision-making.

Forney’s executive team wanted better access to information. Report generation, the ability to easily extract and manipulate data, and real-time dashboards were all part of the system selection criteria. The company’s rapid growth demanded a scalable enterprise solution. Forney introduces new products every year. Plans to enter a new business sector and to introduce e-commerce capability via a web store were in place to augment their existing business. A flexible system capable of enabling new process creation was needed to support these plans.

The company had solid operations processes in place, and the desired system would need to support next generation improvements to those processes. System availability and consistency is a must because the company operated on a 24-hour order fulfillment commitment to their customers. Access to real-time information on process status, visibility into discrete inventory location within the warehouse and the requirement for product transformation via work orders were all requirements for the new system. The company operates a global supply chain, so an integrated material requirements planning module was critical.

Forney also wanted to transition from paper picking and stationary terminals to embedded radio frequency (RF) operation. Handheld RF devices were to be used for receiving, inventory movement, picking, and replenishment of pick locations.

The Solution

After identifying these key requirements and the evaluation of other industry solutions, Forney selected the Microsoft Dynamics AX platform, along with Blue Horseshoe’s Supply Chain Suite for Dynamics AX as the best solution on the market to achieve their goals.

Working side by side with the Forney team, Blue Horseshoe developed a comprehensive strategy to deploy the Supply Chain Suite for Dynamics AX, including WAX (Warehousing for AX) and TRAX (Transportation for AX) in conjunction with the company’s Microsoft Dynamics AX enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The products within the Supply Chain Suite for Dynamics AX embed industry-specific functionality directly into the business layer of Dynamic AX’s architecture, offering identical performance, processing and file structure as Dynamics AX. These powerful solutions extend the base functionality of the Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP system; eliminating the need to synchronize, batch or reconcile data, and providing “One Version of the Truth.”

Both WAX and TRAX provide a real-time global view of business operations with extended functionality for Dynamics AX in order to accomplish warehousing and transportation tasks more easily and efficiently.

WAX (Warehousing for AX), a Certified for Microsoft Dynamics (CfMD) solution, adds the best possible fulfillment services without the need for a separate Warehouse Management System. WAX provides Forney with full warehouse management functionality including streamlined order flow and processing. As orders are being entered into the CN3 device by the field reps, the orders are integrated into AX via the AIF and an automated batch job releases orders that are ready to be processed to the warehouse. Orders are now created in WAX with shipments and are ready to be processed by the Operations team.

TRAX (Transportation for AX), also Certified for Microsoft Dynamics (CfMD), embeds advanced transportation planning and execution capabilities seamlessly into new or existing Microsoft Dynamics AX systems. TRAX provides a global enterprise transportation solution allowing for centralized freight planning across the business, or separate planning at the site/warehouse level. Inventory is reconciled immediately, which now provides Forney with an accurate snap-shot of (on-hand) inventory. TRAX provides improved inventory visibility and fulfillment planning (leveraging MRP for Warehouse Transfers and Replenishment for Fixed location) to meet the 24 hour turnaround demands.

With enhanced outbound procedures, the system is able to provide guidance to pickers as to which packing station the products should be handled. It also leverages the WAX Anchoring process to keep products from being separated within the shipment. WAX also has built in “reusable container” capabilities to handle the limited amount of physical picking containers within each warehouse. Additionally, WAX provides automated document printing such as custom shipping labels, standard shipping labels, UPS shipping labels, Bills of Lading and Packing slip.

By managing all enterprise functions within a single agile system, these solutions are designed to allow Forney the ability to react to customer requirements quickly and provide a higher degree of customer service in the market.

The Results

Leveraging Blue Horseshoe’s proven BluePrint Methodology, the Supply Chain Suite for Dynamics AX was delivered successfully with minimal business interruption. The project remained within the budget and project scope. Forney is now successfully operating a tier one solution that provides:

  • Real-Time, global view of business operations
  • “One Version of the Truth”
  • Significantly improved warehouse processing accuracy and productivities
  • Higher order throughput and support for new business growth without an increase in workforce
  • Paper-less warehousing process using Radio Frequency (RF) solution
  • Up-to-date / immediate inventory visibility
  • Seamless and immediate integration with the parcel web service embedded within TRAX to accommodate the high-volume parcel shipping requirements
  • UPS Shipping integration
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction
  • Provides the efficient distribution backbone to support the new eCommerce channel introduced by Forney

“Our business goal is to double in size every five years,” said Kyle Pettine, chief operations officer at Forney Industries. We’re going to the next level. We needed a system that could keep pace. WAX and TRAX complement Dynamics AX and give us the right solution to support our growth.”

“We chose Blue Horseshoe because of their vast experience with the supply chain and with implementing supply-chain solutions,” said Rob Lakatos, purchasing manager at Forney Industries. “Blue Horseshoe was very knowledgeable, and their team’s experience made the decision very easy. In addition, the implementation team Blue Horseshoe sent out here was great.”