Customer success: ArcherPoint Streamlines Warehousing for Medifast with WMS Framework Integrated with Microsoft Dynamics NAV
Since 1980, Medifast has been the leading easy-to-use, clinically proven, portion-controlled weight-loss program. Medifast’s clinically proven approach to weight loss focuses on meal replacements coordinated with medical practitioners and health advisors. In 2012, the company was named one of the Top 10 Best Small Companies in America by Forbes Magazine, number 5 on FORTUNE’S 100 Fastest Growing Companies in 2011, and numerous other “top” lists. Medifast sells its products and programs via four unique distribution channels: the web and national call centers, Take Shape For Life personal coaching division, medically supervised Medifast Weight Control Centers, and a national network of physicians.
Medifast has three production and shipping plants serving Medifast Weight Control Centers throughout the U.S. The company continues to grow dramatically, and with tens of thousands of individuals as customers, it generates 3,000-4,000 orders per day on average in its 3 plants, plus 8,000-10,000 recurring orders each month, 90 percent of which flow through the company’s website. With this volume of transactions, the company began to experience bottlenecks in various areas. Orders were slow to post, shipments might be held up while another process was running, and as a result, the efficiency of shipping was affected. In short, warehousing needed to be streamlined.
The company had been using Microsoft Dynamics NAV since 2001 and had been pleased with its performance as a business management solution. At first, however, they considered starting over with a top-tier ERP system. After closer analysis, they determined that they would not get the ROI from one of these systems that they had been getting and would continue to get from NAV, particularly with its flexibility and ability to accommodate growth and integration with other systems. Instead, they determined that a WMS solution—specifically, a pick-to-light system—integrated with NAV, which was working perfectly as the company’s ERP solution, would resolve their issues.
Dynamics NAV already had the capability to integrate with all four of the top-tier WMS products under consideration, so integration was a non-issue. Once Medifast had made a selection, the next step was to get the solution implemented and get it talking to NAV. Medifast called on ArcherPoint for help. Ric Derdeyn and Michael Heydasch were called in to develop a framework within NAV for the WMS to accommodate the interface methods. It was important to make the system easy to use, but it also needed to do several important jobs:
- It needed to trace transactions, making it easy to find exceptions.
- It needed to automate sequential processes, and the design needed to support an interface that needs constant monitoring.
- The framework also needed to be robust enough to accommodate any number of scenarios. “There are any number of ways you can ship an order and in any combination—partial shipments, varying quantities, different times, from different distribution centers,” said ArcherPoint Solution Developer Michael Heydasch. “We needed to make sure our processes were as flexible as theirs and could also handle the volume.”
The ArcherPoint team collaborated with the Medifast IT team to complete the framework, and the integration was successfully completed. The distribution center in Texas went live in June 2013, followed by Maryland in November 2013.
The framework handles many types of transactions, including synchronizing customers and items, bin locations, and inventory transactions, such as negative and positive adjustments. All of these transactions are bi-directional (initiated on either side), yet the systems are kept in synch.
The framework was designed to be flexible in a number of different ways. Medifast has the ability to tweak different parameters to streamline the integration and make it as efficient as possible.
The ArcherPoint framework ended up taking on an unexpected role as well.
“When the new WMS system was implemented, it was the intent to have all web orders (90+ percent of all the company’s orders) go through the WMS system,” said ArcherPoint Project Manager and Business Analyst Ric Derdeyn. “However, now, NAV manages that traffic flow, complete with error-checking routines, so Medifast’s business process did not have to change.”
The cornerstone of the new framework, however, is its ability to capture data. Medifast is now able to keep checks on shipping and invoicing. “For someone to see an exception is amazing, and that it can be easily traced is even more amazing,” said Heydasch.
At first, the framework handled shipping, but it has now expanded to both shipping and invoicing.
Aydan Golaszewski, Lead ERP Analyst at Medifast, was extremely pleased with the results and with her experience working with the ArcherPoint team. “They drew on their vast experience with NAV, integrating with other products, and designing solutions to make them extremely user friendly,” said Golaszewski. “It was a pleasure working with them.”
The ArcherPoint team gives credit to the Medifast team for the pivotal role they played in the success of the project. “Aydan and the Medifast team are some of the most active and aggressive users of NAV we have ever encountered,” said Derdeyn. “They always have a ‘NAV list’—looking for new and better ways to use NAV.”
Since 2002, ArcherPoint, Inc., has been specializing in helping customers to replace disparate systems with fully integrated, end-to-end business solutions using the depth and breadth of Microsoft technology and built on a foundation of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, formerly Navision. Best of breed applications join together in a single, easy to use solution, tailored to the unique needs of businesses from manufacturing to distribution to retail and at an affordable entry point, giving growing companies access to world-class solutions that will grow with them. For more information on ArcherPoint, contact Suzanne Scanlan at 866.343.4517, ext. 7133 or visit www.archerpoint.com. For more information on ArcherPoint’s Retail Solutions, visit www.dynamicsretailsoftware.com.