Cycle Force Group designs, builds and distributes bicycles, bicycle parts and accessories. Located in Ames Iowa, the company has been in the bike business since 1998. It is well established as a driving force in the industry, selling directly to consumers and to retailers.
In addition to its own Mantis line of bicycles, Cycle Force Group manufactures Kawasaki, Polaris, Head and Hollandia bikes under license. Their inventory includes a wide range of designs, styles and prices that fits something for every taste, ability and budget.
Cycle Force Group’s 30 employees are kept busy each day processing hundreds of orders. The main warehouse has approximately 30,000 square feet of space and the overflow facility a few miles away measures about 15,000 square feet. With growing demands, plans for new warehouse space are underway to keep pace.
About five years ago, as the company steadily increased its sales, the inefficiencies in accounting and order management became obvious. Cycle Force Group has always used Sage Business Works (SBW) so it was a natural next step to build on that software’s functionality to resolve the emerging issues. The solution was integration software that allows the automatic download and processing of all orders into SBW through electronic data interchange (EDI).
- Distribution orders for retail customers such as Amazon and Overstock, dealers and 3PL customers.
- Direct orders from consumers.
- As the orders increased, so did the urgency in meeting the company’s commitment to a 24-hour turnaround for shipping.
The leadership team at Cycle Force Group was proud of the automation. As an accounting system, Sage Business Works worked well from its installation and continues to do so. However, Sage did not prevent what had become ongoing issues, including:
- Stock shortages
- Wrong products shipped to customers
- Backlogs of orders
- Customer complaints
The team at IntelliTrack weighed all the options available before recommending the Warehouse Management System (WMS) RF Professional, including integration with Sage Business Works. They knew this software solution would provide all the tools necessary to address the primary issues at Cycle Force Group, especially the picking process. The WMS package features include:
- Inventory tracking: Shipping, receiving and picking
- Barcode labeling
- Batched order management
- Management queries
It was also important for IntelliTrack to include functions for:
- Including item details such as wheel size, color and category
- Wave management to grouping sales orders for more efficient picking
- Validating SKU against tracking number
- Labeling pallets with ID as part of the receiving process for use in aging the inventory
- Capturing serial number during the shipping process, but not in inventory
The initial installation included three workstations and five mobile computer licenses. A server was needed to run the IntelliTrack SQL data, license service and RF server software. The main warehouse needed wireless infrastructure installed. It was decided not to equip the overflow warehouse as transfers could be made from either the workstation or a mobile computer.
The WMS system went live in November 2012, ready to support Cycle Force Group’s busiest season between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even with the glitches typical of implementing any new system, and with 20% more orders to process than the previous year, employees did not have to work late or on weekends. There was an even smoother process in 2013 with the number of orders still higher. Overall, IntelliTrack’s WMS RF Professional software immediately began proving its excellence and continues to do so.
The only ongoing challenge is making sure all employees use WMS as it was designed. It is not a lack of knowledge as the system is user friendly with most employees trained in less than an hour. Occasionally, though, there are employees who move a skid and forget to scan it, but the number of such incidents is steadily decreasing.
The positive impact of implementing IntelliTrack’s WMS RF Professional is foundational to Cycle Force Group’s future growth. This customized software solution provides a stable operational framework. Company leadership now has the confidence in its basic operations so it is ready to plan the acquisition of new warehouse space and build its market share. A bonus from IntelliTrack is the scalability of WMS; it is robust and flexible enough to grow with the business.
When asked about the main impact of installing WMS RF Professional at Cycle Force Group, Graham Watkins was quick to reply, “Obviously, the inventory tracking is important, but the benefits really show in the speed and efficiency with which we can do day to day tasks. And, of course, it’s easy to use.”