We knew we needed to automate, and once we had the budget, choosing Vuetura was easy. We looked at three vendors and the decision was simple for us. Vuetura offered the exact solution we needed at the right price. On top of that, they proved through months of discussions leading up to our decision that they would be a vendor we could count on for any support we might need.
— Mark Burch, Fred Hutch Materials Operations Manager
Facts at a Glance:
- Products: VueturaTrac Application Framework, VueturaTrac for mobile devices, VueturaTrac Workstation Client, VueturaTrac WebTrac
- Professional Services: On-site operational review, SC optimization, lean techniques, System implementation, staff and manager training.
- MMIS System: PeopleSoft
- Items per/day: 400 +
- SC Profile: Complex handling receiving and delivery issues, live, Time sensitive, radioactive, small, very expensive, compliance requirements. Wide variety of special delivery issues.
The problems with the manual and paper based system at the Hutchinson Center began at the receiving dock. According to Mark Burch, Director of Materials Management, “Without an efficient way to count and document each package as it came off a truck, the receiving staff came to rely on the delivery driver’s record of the packages delivered. While this count was usually accurate, there was no proof. Thus, our system had no integrity from the very first step.” This led to a variety of problems, especially if a package was missing. If it never arrived, there was no proof of that, so countless hours could be wasted looking for a package that never arrived, not to mention the cost of replacing the item, because there was no proof that it was never received.
Once packages were received at the dock, inefficiencies continued in the recording and addressing of the packages. The paper-based system required eight employees approximately two hours each day to record incoming packages and prepare them for delivery (approximately two minutes per package). This was not only time-intensive; it also offered no efficient way to maintain a current list of internal addresses, leading to further inefficiencies as packages were often misrouted—and sometimes lost along the way—due to employee movement.
Before Vuetura, I had to budget $15,000 per year to cover the packages that were lost each month or that expired due to misrouting delays.
Package alerts and notification requests were also a challenge to fulfill. If someone needed to be notified of a delivery, they would call the mailroom. Whoever answered the call would write the request on a piece of paper and tape it to the wall. This was not only ineffective; it created extensive clutter across the receiving area.
Even the process of addressing each package created problems. A sheet of paper containing the vital package and delivery information was taped to each package. Time, tape and paper were wasted, and returning packages to vendors was difficult since the tape often damaged the original packaging.
Once received and addressed, it took eight employees another six hours to deliver the packages (approximately seven minutes per package), and many days the staff struggled to get all the packages delivered by the end of the day. Additionally, without integrity across the chain of custody or visibility to know the location and history of each package, between four and six packages were lost each month. Burch states, “Before Vuetura, I had to budget $15,000 per year to cover the packages that were lost each month or that expired due to misrouting delays.”
In addition to the cost of lost packages, there were up to 60 misrouted packages every month, which resulted in a significant number of hours, spent responding to “Where’s my package?” calls and searching for packages across the facilities. Previous to Vuetura, there was an average of 10 such calls per day. Each call usually required multiple calls to resolve, adding up to about 2.5 hours each day both on the phone and physically tracking down packages across the campus.
According to The Hutchinson Center’s Materials Operations Manager, “Before Vuetura, ‘where’s my package?’ calls were a nightmare. First, we couldn’t prove whether or not we had received the package. We also had to go through hundreds of pages of delivery forms in the day’s file to find the form for the package in question. Often, that was made exceedingly difficult due to illegible signatures. These calls often took up to 30 minutes and, even if successful, rarely resulted in a satisfied customer.”
Record keeping and Management:
Inefficient and Limited
As a paper-based system, recordkeeping was limited to a file cabinet filled with delivery sheets, filed by day. There was also no effective way to run any reports to monitor operational efficiency, individual worker proficiency, or vendor use nor was there any way to truly measure the performance of the receiving staff.
Packages are processed twice as fast and delivered in 33% less time using fewer people.
While limited in its capacity, the recordkeeping also wasted both financial and natural resources. Because two sheets were printed for each package, approximately 192,000 sheets of paper were used each year to record the receipt of packages, resulting in an annual cost of over $1,300 per year and the environmental cost of approximately 23 trees per year.
The Receiving Area: Chaotic and Stressful
These inefficiencies and gaps across the chain of custody took a toll, not only in time, labor, and the cost of lost packages, but also on the reputation and stress level of the receiving staff as they struggled to complete deliveries every day and resolve issues that arose from an inefficient system.
- Dockside to Routing: Inefficient, manual paper based process takes 8 staff 2 hours to record deliveries.
- Lost, Incorrect Deliveries: 48 man-hours per/day to deliver to recipients. Struggle to deliver same day of receipt. Many are lost and replaced—very expensive.
- Proof of Delivery Inadequate: Paper documents attached to parcels, bad internal address, no standards for high-cost items.
- Limited Customer Service: Alerts and notifications difficult to fulfill, no standard service levels, outdated staff address system, calls tie up staff for hours each day, limited accountability.
- Recordkeeping and Management Inefficient and Limited: Record keeping limited to a file cabinet filled with delivery sheets, no reporting, no accountability, limited
- Chaotic and Stressful Receiving Area: Reputation low, stress level of the receiving staff high, struggling to complete deliveries every day and resolve issues resulting from an inefficient system.
- Poor Sustainability: Excessive reliance on coping equipment, paper intensive, long term storage of delivery documents is costly, inefficient and wasteful use of energy
Benefits of using Vuetura
- Packages are processed twice as fast and delivered in 33% less time using fewer people.
- Automated alerts and notifications ensure the accurate fulfillment of special requests.
- Complete online history of every package from loading dock to proof of delivery.
- Increased customer satisfaction due, quick delivery, delayed items are resolved quickly.
- Timely and accurate management reports. Clear understanding of SC operations.
- Enhanced job satisfaction of the receiving and internal delivery staff.