IBVI Case Study

Industries for the Blind and Visually Impaired (IBVI) is a non-profit that supplies mission-critical military and government products from distribution centers and retail stores on military bases nationwide. IBVI’s mission is to employ people who are blind or visually impaired, with a core value to “Diversify and innovate business.” As part of this, IBVI looked to innovate with Oracle SCM Cloud & mobile inventory management.

Move to the Cloud

“Each area of our business had its own system, including our base stores, warehouse, manufacturing plant and furniture department,” said Theodore Williams, Director of Logistics. “This led to inaccurate data.” As such, IBVI looked for a solution that would serve as one system of truth for all their operations. They also looked for a solution that would provide opportunity for growth. Oracle SCM Cloud was chosen as the solution to unify their business systems. “The growth as Oracle SCM Cloud develops has proven to be an asset to our company,” said Theodore.

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Knowing they would need to replace their standalone WMS, IBVI implemented RF-SMART alongside Oracle Cloud and went live with both solutions across their company. “We selected RF-SMART due their knowledge and experience in the Oracle SCM Cloud space,” said Theodore. RF-SMART will also further the IBVI goal of solutions that provide growth for their business.

Functionality for Efficiency and Accuracy Across their Operations

Prior to using RF-SMART, IBVI was using paper pick slips and completing physical inventories. Not only were these methods inefficient, but their standalone WMS did not seamlessly integrate with their previous ERP, resulting in lost data. By using RF-SMART for receiving, put away, cycle counts, manufacturing work orders, picking, packing, shipping and inventory movement, Theodore and his team can see data across their entire operations reflected in Oracle in real-time.

While RF-SMART has brought the needed efficiencies and accuracies within their manufacturing operations (increasing overall line output by 15%), IBVI has gained the most with RF-SMART through shipping visibility. RF-SMART Ship Confirm enables tracking information to be seen in Oracle, functionality not previously supported by IBVI’s systems. This also allows IBVI to complete EDI transmissions to their customers with box count, packing information and tracking information, as well as accommodate customer requirements for package labeling. “It’s extremely useful to us because we’re able to see a lot more data than we could previously. That data flows to our accounting department and to our customers,” said Theodore.

RF-SMART allowed IBVI to solve another huge customer requirement: ASN data. “We spent months trying to figure out how to solve this, but one call to RF-SMART solved it for us,” said Theodore. “This helped us avoid a third-party system, and I am confident the ASN data will be reflected in Oracle. RF-SMART’s Pick Pack Ship function is important functionality that we needed.”

One last function that has made a big impact is counting. Before implementing RF-SMART, IBVI was completing time-consuming physical inventories. With a shutdown of all warehouse and distribution operations for two weeks, physical inventories negatively impacted customer satisfaction as all customers were put on hold.

Using RF-SMART, IBVI completed the full inventory count in three days. “I can’t put a dollar amount on how much time this has saved us,” said Theodore. “My users were able to complete the full inventory within RF-SMART, instead of toggling between screens.” Plus, IBVI can fulfill customer requirements instead of putting them on hold for two weeks, further improving their bottom line. While inventory counts show an improved accuracy of 99%, Theodore is hoping to capitalize on even more time savings by moving to regular cycle counts

One-Stop-Shop Solution Provider

“The full solution of RF-SMART software and hardware is key,” Theodore said. RF-SMART’s partnership with top-tier hardware manufacturers offers device options that are easy to use for all IBVI employees. With a team of visually impaired employees working the shipping operations, they are successfully using devices with large screens. The devices allow users to zoom in, and Theodore has customized screens to include default information and reduce scrolling. This team can complete their high-volume shipping to customers – Grainger and Wal-Mart among them – as well as small e-commerce orders with ease.

IBVI’s users benefit in several other ways as well. They appreciate devices with the familiarity of a smart phone look and feel. The forklift operators are more efficient with portable printers, no longer wasting time with multiple trips to stationary printers. Theodore has also installed Microsoft programs to allow for more collaboration and communication, as his employees are spread-out nationwide. “It works really well for us,” said Theodore.

Easy to Use & Configure 

“One of the biggest things I like about RF-SMART are the administration tools,” said Theodore. For example, Theodore has modified screens to ensure his users are capturing the correct input for Unit of Measure, something that was previously causing many errors. The largest benefit from modified screens is seen during inventory counts, as Theodore can customize screens to prompt users to count by specific parameters – weight, roll, by each, etc.

Theodore can also customize his user’s roles, right down to the printers shown as available. For an organization that has locations across the country, this ability has really streamlined and improved the user experience. “We are really benefiting from the ease of use,” said Theodore.

Recommendations for Success

Theodore believes you should know the full functionality of systems in place. To help him fully understand the range of RF-SMART functionality, he relies on the RF-SMART support teams. He also relies on their knowledge of Oracle SCM Cloud and its interaction with RF-SMART. “Working with RF-SMART has been really critical to the success of our entire operation. The RF-SMART team is stellar,” said Theodore.

“My biggest advice? Find a solution that can grow with your business,” Theodore said. “I need a system that can evolve with our business and RF-SMART and Oracle Cloud can do that. We’ve been able to handle a lot of new business opportunities, thanks to the functionality gains of Oracle and RF-SMART.”

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“I need a system that can evolve with our business, and RF-SMART and Oracle SCM Cloud can do that.”

Read how IBVI was able to reduce headcount while increasing output by 15% and order picking by 5%.

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