MTN builds state-of-the-art warehouse facility with Oracle

Mon, 2009/05/04

MTN has implemented a distribution warehouse process (WMS) that is a first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and will accommodate all of its distribution requirements for South Africa. This state-of-the-art facility is enabled by Oracle Technologies.

The warehouse gives MTN full automation of its distribution process,” says Fabio Caprin, General Manager of MTN’s Consumer Supply Chain business. “The warehouse is completely paper-free and uses RFID technology to create a pick and pack process. Not only does this warehouse reduce paperwork, but it has reduced the number of contracted staff required, namely security and courier staff by 40 percent and handles the distribution of stock from end-to-end.”

This stock mostly comprises cellular handsets that MTN must store before shipping out to distributors and retail outlets.

The facility allows MTN to get stock out to the market as quickly as possible. It even allows the company to do automated stock taking,” says Fabio Caprin. “When an order comes in stock is automatically zoned, the picking process automatically sends picking tasks from MTN’s Order Management function. This results in picking tasks which are sent via RFID to picking clerks. The handset is then scanned into a distribution process, which is routed via automation to picking shutes. These picking shutes are zoned by region and/or priorities. The picking and packing process is fully automated, resulting in a sealed carton, with invoice and contents not having to be processed by any courier functionality. Inventories and Trade customers’ debtor books are automatically updated and courier data is sent to the courier company via integration of systems and 3D bar codes. This is the first fully automated system that has been developed in conjunction with Oracle Corporation.

Historically MTN was using a time-intensive manual process to conduct these activities. With the new system MTN is able to distribute 110% more stock in the same working hours.

MTN was already using Oracle solutions for its supply-chain management and ERP requirements,” says Caprin. “So we favoured the use of Oracle solutions for the new warehouse process. Oracle’s applications and database have proven to be reliable, robust and competent enough to accommodate the huge workload MTN throws at the environment.”

Oracle also provided international resources to assist with the integration of its products for this deployment, including Oracle debtors, auto-management, reporting and stock modules.” Caprin says that MTN’s objective was to create a seamless, end-to-end warehouse automation process to benefit its trade customers, by ensuring telecommunication products are distributed into point of sale, efficiently and effectively for consumer availability with the intention to reduce customer turn around time, within the supply chain “And this has been achieved, thanks in part to Oracle’s enabling technologies,” he says.

Mohamed Cassoojee CMU director,  for Oracle South Africa agrees; “MTN’s amazing new warehouse really pushes the limits of what’s possible using modern warehousing and supply-chain technologies. Oracle is proud to be part of this solution that uses technology to achieve amazing results in saving time and money,” he says.

Whereas before MTN staff would have to work overtime to fulfil orders, this modern warehouse allows the company to actually save time and money, redistributing staff to parts of the organisation where they are needed more.