This case study is based on an interview with Fred Pritchard, Vice President of Golda’s Kitchen Inc. in February 2013
Golda‘s Kitchen (GK) is the leading Canadian on-line shopping site for over 13,000 quality kitchenware products — baking, cooking & measuring equipment; specialty cake decorating, chocolate & confectionery supplies; and a wide assortment of kitchen tools, knives & appliances. The company was having challenges keeping up with their growth using their older systems that were not integrated and selected Blue Link in the summer of 2011 to automate accounting, inventory, POS, purchasing and order processing.
Challenges and Resolutions
The biggest challenge in getting ready for a go-live is that all the data (inventory, accounts, customers, suppliers, open orders…) needs to be ready and staff need to be trained for the big day. GK thought that parallel testing would be too expensive and not practical given the need for in person transaction processing in the store. Customers would not want to stand there while you keypunch the sale into a second system. In addition, closing the warehouse and not shipping the online orders was not an option, so they switched off one system at 8pm one night, and turned on the new system at 9:00am the next day.
In addition, GK was in a hurry so that they could utilize the system efficiencies in time for the Xmas rush. So while not ideal, GK went live with the new system in the first week of November 2011. The first few days were interesting as they needed to develop new procedures to make the system work, but orders did ship and customers did shop in the store.
GK did have some unique requirements such as processing partial pick orders and then holding them for additional stock to complete the orders. Modifications were made to the software to customize the solution to meet the business rules in place.
Overall, you either sink or swim on the flip of a switch when going live with a new system. With Blue Link’s help and with hard work from GK staff who had experience with previous conversions and who had some accounting and technical backgrounds, GK did swim. In retrospect GK would have delayed the implementation until after Xmas to reduce the risk and their grey hairs.
GK is now much more efficient with order fulfilment than ever before. They don’t need to just pick one order at a time. They can now pick multiple orders at the same time with what is called wave picking. They also have the system automatically suggest transfers between inventory locations for both order fulfillment and inventory replenishment which saves a lot of time.
GK chose to have their solution deployed in the cloud which means that they can access it from anywhere. Another benefit of cloud computing is more security, which is interesting as in the early days of cloud computing, security was cited as a problem. For GK, the cloud provides better security than they could provide themselves. They also don’t need to take care of the computer infrastructure that supports the system.
GK is happy with their Blue Link solution. They found a solution that was not expensive compared to many mid-market ERP systems. They also found a company to support them that had the right experience in their industry.