UCLES is a part of the University of Cambridge. It has three streams; Oxford Cambridge and RSA examinations (OCR), Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and Cambridge English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). UCLES has three distribution centres (DCs) in the UK handling examination assessment products. The DCs, located in Birmingham, Coventry and Cambridge, distribute 15 million exam papers to 12,000 assessment centres each year, as well as supply materials to individual candidates.
The Manhattan Associates solution will be implemented in two phases, with each phase being rolled out simultaneously across all three warehouses. The goods in stage will be completed in the autumn of this year, followed by goods out in 2005. The Warehouse Management for Windows solution will link into UCLES in-house applications, including its Exam Processing System, which manages details of examiners, examination centres and candidates. At the distribution centres, radio frequency (RF) scanners from Symbol Technologies will enable real-time data exchange between the warehouse floor and system operatives, allowing the Warehouse Management for Windows solution to optimise the flow of materials though each facility.
The examination system depends on a number of extremely complex processes, said Andy Boyd, programme manager at UCLES. Whereas a traditional warehouse aims simply to turn orders around very quickly, we work on a long timescale, inside which there are very specific deadlines. For example, a single examination will have a number of triggers. In one scenario this might be the registration of candidates in January followed by the despatch of papers in April, while for another these two events might be much closer together. For all of the exams we administer, security is crucial throughout the process.
UCLES went through a full tender process to choose Manhattan Associates. Our key selection criteria were high degrees of security and flexibility, as well as lowest total cost of ownership. Manhattan Associates solution won on all counts, continued Boyd. Being built with Microsofts .NET technologies also means the solution will enable us to freely exchange information with other systems, both internal and external. In the examination process, many people need to know the despatch status at any one time and this has in the past been very time consuming. It also means we can provide our partners, as well as our own employees, with access to some extremely useful tools such as the solutions highly configurable document management tool. This provides users with an extremely flexible and easy way to make changes to document or label formats.
Well be measuring the success of the new Warehouse Management solution against a number of criteria, including savings in storage, labour and purchasing costs and improvements in service levels - all of which will be scrutinised carefully by our board. Weve set ourselves a target of five years in which to achieve payback, but we already think that were going to manage this much sooner.
Jeff Baum, senior vice president of international operations at Manhattan Associates said, Were thrilled to have been chosen by UCLES and look forward to helping them provide an even more secure and efficient distribution service to their customers. Were seeing a significant uptake in demand for our Windows-based Warehouse Management solution, and we expect this trend to accelerate. This contract award provides further evidence of
our ability to provide powerful and robust supply chain execution technology to small and medium-sized enterprises at a competitive price point.
Manhattan Associates' Warehouse Management for Windows solution is robust, flexible and scalable and is designed for organisations with Windows platform preferences. The solution manages all aspects of DC operations from shipping to receiving, helping customers to reduce inventory and operations costs, shorten fulfilment cycles, increase inventory turns and improve customer service. The latest product release contains significant functional enhancements that include RFID-enabled capabilities.