Founded over 40 years ago with just five staff, the Krieng Thai Watana Group (KTW Group), leading importer and distributor of high quality industrial equipment in Thailand, has evolved from a small distributor to a large scale enterprise with more than 500 employees and a product range covering over 50,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) of industrial equipment.
KTW Group is the distributor for a host of high profile global brands including Bahco, Irwin, Karcher, Makita, Mitsubishi, and Stanley. Its ambition is, “to be the most efficient distribution channel of comprehensive industrial and construction tools [in Thailand], creating the highest satisfaction for our business partners and end users through high quality services and products.” KTW plans to achieve this lofty goal by building a corporate culture based on courage, high quality business relationships, integrity, customer service, teamwork, and social responsibility.
Exploding SKUs strain manual system and customer relationships
As KTW Group continued to grow, the number of SKUs held in its warehouses exploded, requiring the company needed to transform its warehouse operations. While an order fulfilment rate of 94% with a manually managed system was a tribute to the dedication of its staff, for KTW to realise its goals, it needed to move to a highly-automated system of operation for its warehouses.
KTW Group director Supanee Waiwitlikhit says, “As the business expanded using the old style manual warehouse operations, we experienced many problems such as shipments going missing and not being able to give a delivery date to a customer because we didn’t know where a shipment was once it left the warehouse. This had a big impact on customer satisfaction and we knew that if we didn’t find a solution it would have an equally large impact on our business.”
SAP software already in place
The company was already using the SAP ERP application and was very impressed with the capability of both the software and SAP as a company. Employees were already familiar with the SAP ERP interface, so implementing the SAP Extend Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) application was the most logical solution to KTW’s warehouse management challenges.
Waiwitlikhit says, “We needed a system that could support SKU growth, improve order fulfilment and stock accuracy, and also reduce the cost of warehouse labor and manual record keeping in the future. SAP EWM also had the distinct advantage of being able to integrate with SAP ERP, avoiding issues with different interfaces and the need for additional IT resources to maintain various applications.”
Successful change management
Once it decided to implement SAP EWM, KTW Group conducted education workshops on process and system changes six months before rolling the system out. This drove buy-in among key users and eased user acceptance – a highly successful approach which resulted in employees welcoming SAP EWM as a new, more efficient way of doing things.
Huge increase in productivity
Some of the real productivity benefits following the implementation of SAP EWM at KTW include:
- Fewer manual tasks and greater productivity by automatically allocating tasks and suggesting locations for pick and put-away at the bin level
- Automatic processing and recording of transactions via handheld device, providing information for better planning to properly align resources with workload
- Greater inventory accuracy and a faster physical inventory count process
- Complete visibility and tracking of orders to ensure 100% order fulfilment
According to Waiwitlikhit, these achievements have led to a 50% increase in worker productivity, 75% faster inbound processes, and 100% order fulfilment. “SAP EWM has enabled KTW to realise its ambitions by increasing customer satisfaction to more than 90%. This is because we can now fulfil their orders as committed. And with the warehouse efficiency gained from SAP EWM, the company is able to grow its business while maintaining the same number of warehouse employees.”