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Office Furniture Maker Expands ERP With Bar Coding

Iceberg_logoIceberg Enterprises is a manufacturer of office furniture and accessories, with headquarters and a main distribution center in Glendale Heights, Illinois. Their unique line of products is distributed through office supply giants such as Staples, Reliable, and Office Depot. Iceberg's manufacturing division, Penguin Plastics, operates a blow molding and assembly plant in Sturgis, Michigan.

Like many successful companies, Iceberg struggled to maintain high standards of customer service in the face of rapid growth. Orders increased in size and frequency, new products were introduced, and warehouse staff increased. All of this put added strain on Iceberg's back-office and warehouse operations. They began to investigate automated data collection systems.

"Then one of our largest customers, United Stationers, introduced a new requirement for bar code labeling and advanced shipping notices. We knew we had to do something." said Executive Vice President John Jepsen.

Iceberg had implemented ERP software from Expandable. "We wanted a complementary system that would help us meet our customers' requirements and make us more productive at the same time," explained Jepsen. "Our investment in Expandable ERP was paying dividends, and we were in no mood to change."

Iceberg turned to Purple Oak for help. Purple Oak's FELIX system uses wireless mobile computers to manage receiving, shipping, transfer, and physical count operations, as well as directed picking and put-away functions. FELIX is designed to work with a company's existing accounting, manufacturing, or ERP software, and it can be tailored to meet the unique needs of each business.

Iceberg's primary warehouse automation goals were in the area of order fulfillment: Picking and label printing. Hand held computersHandheld1 guide pickers as they fill orders, and scanning validates the right product and the right quantity for each order. FELIX automates the printing of carton and pallet labels, and lets Iceberg have a different label format for each customer.

Purple Oak tailored FELIX to meet Iceberg's exact specifications, and gave them the power they needed without the complexity and expense of other warehouse systems. Plus, Purple Oak's integration experience was critical: FELIX’s Sweeper module links the warehouse functions with Iceberg's Expandable ERP software, making the two systems work as one. "FELIX and Expandable share information in real-time, and they're always in sync," says Joe DeCarlo, CEO of Purple Oak.

Rick Fox, Iceberg's IT Director, noted an additional advantage: "FELIX has allowed us to continue expanding our operation," said Fox. "Last year we began scanning in Michigan, and this year we added a third site, with no software changes required. Our accuracy has improved, and we're meeting our customers' needs."

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Purple Oak, Inc.
PO Box 1057 Morton Grove, IL 60053