Nine Line Apparel is a clothing brand manufacturer and distributor co-founded in 2012 by two brothers and U.S. Army veterans. Their vision was simple: to create a high-quality clothing brand to be enjoyed by patriotic Americans around the globe. In recent years their brand has grown exponentially. The challenges included lack of system visibility, difficulty in finding material, tracking work-in-progress (WIP) inventory, streamlined put-away efficiency, and warehouse capacity utilization. The Nine Line Apparel team looked at a handful of WMS solutions. WiSys won them over with its level of customer dedication, on-site evaluation, and a quick rollout.
In his presentation at Biz.One this year, Jordon Nearhoof took us through Nine Line’s WMS journey, why they chose WiSys and how WiSys has helped their company grow.
What is Nine Line Apparel?
Nine Line apparel is a screen print manufacturer based in Savannah, Georgia. They started as a home business with all manual processes. Since then they’ve grown to a small business with 250 employees and just-in-time manufacturing processes. This helps them keep inventory levels very low while still meeting customer demands.
Jordan Nearhoof was an Armor Officer in the United States Army, where he spent a lot of time in the planning and execution of operational base logistics. After that he worked for a fortune 50 company in the warehouse and fulfillment industry doing everything from floor operations and inventory control to quality assurance and production control.
Jordan’s Story About Nine Line and WiSys
I joined Nine Line in 2018 as the Director of Fulfillment. When I came on board, Nine Line had been using SAP Business One for about a year and had also been using a basic type of warehouse management system.
One of my initial goals was to expand our capability in 2019. I could see the challenges the company was struggling with and I had a good vision on what we needed to accomplish to be more successful. A big part of that was WMS.
Without a warehouse management system, we were basically using tribal knowledge as we called it. We had to organize the goods by garment type, design, color and size so that the team could pick the right item based on a customer order. It was pretty complex. We were producing thousands of production orders each week and managing those accurately became quite challenging. The team did an amazing job, but they weren’t set up for success.
From a marketing standpoint we were also limited. We couldn’t expand or scale because we didn’t have a system in place to quickly add new products, fill them correctly and track where they were going.
That is where WMS became a big part of the conversation.
We had a WMS system already, but we wanted something better with more customization to meet our very unique needs in our business.
So, we started looking for a WMS partner. We wanted to find a system that could move quickly, integrate into SAP Business One, and be tailored to fit our needs.
With WiSys, we found that they delivered a solid product. In SAP Business One, we liked all the different fields to map against as well as the user defined fields. What impressed us with WiSys, was that it could integrate directly into SAP B1 seamlessly and also incorporate our own tables as needed. That opens up the doors for a lot of customization.
Knowledge and Service
More importantly, we received a high level of service from WiSys. Don, Scott, Todd, and Jim came on site in September of 2019. They took a tour of our facility, looked through all our processes, and really impressed us. With all their collective knowledge, it really showed that they had a really solid product and they knew what they were talking about. We developed a great relationship with the WiSys team that helped us work through implementation obstacles together.
WiSys satisfied our requirements for customization. We are incorporating features such as production order tracking and label control.
We went live about a year ago. We opted for an onsite implementation, which was extremely critical. We knew that a rollout this large was not going to go flawlessly. All the minor hiccups were handled very quickly by Todd and Jim so they did not delay the process.
After the implementation, we were able to start leveraging the WiSys warehouse management system almost immediately.
Benefits and Results
WiSys delivered on the typical WMS benefits that you would expect. We saw better efficiency, accuracy, inventory control, and we saved time and money through better processes.
But we saw other benefits we didn’t necessarily expect.
Team Member Empowerment
Our team members got the training needed to use the tools effectively, which allowed them to grow and develop as employees that were invaluable to the company.
System Focused Processes
There are a lot of safety measures in place to minimize errors and follow the processes, which is very valuable.
Printing can be a real challenge. Now we have the ability to print labels (item labels, barcode labels, pallet location labels) to stationary printers. We can also print out production orders and purchase orders. Our team can print to wireless devices out on the floor, which really gives them the ability to get what they need when they need it.
Accountability is a great thing because it helps identify training gaps. It allows us to provide feedback at a very targeted approach to that individual. And it helps us maintain focus on what we are doing. That focus is obviously important to the customer, so it’s equally important to us.
Thank you to Nine Line Apparel for sharing their story with other SAP Business One users!