Otter House



Otter House warehouse runs swimmingly with MiniPick

Otter House are a leading publisher of calendars, cards and gifts for charities, retail and mail order. In 2010 they acquired an existing Aspin customer, Images and Editions, who had been using its AMSolve, MiniPick and PixSell systems for a number of years.

The aim of the acquisition was to move Otter House decisively into the greeting cards and stationery market, and this was shortly followed by the business relocating to a larger premises and warehouse.  Both these factors combined were the trigger for automating their warehouse and display management systems.

Aspin spoke to Dave Mayes, Otter House’s senior systems manager, about their MiniPick system, their new Janam handhelds, and why they had decided to continue working with Aspin to integrate their software with Otter House’s Dimensions system.

“We had looked at Aspin over the years, specifically at MiniSell, as our sales reps had been urging us to give them a handheld system for order processing. We had a good long-standing relationship with Access so wanted to stick with Dimensions but the out-going management at Images and Editions had sung Aspin’s praises so we were happy to work with them to replicate the warehouse picking and display management functionality that the AMSolve-MiniPick system had provided for them.”

In order to achieve this, Otter House implemented Aspin’s MiniPick mobile order picking solution alongside its Visual Planner display management software, whilst simultaneously providing its field sales team with MiniSell handhelds.

“In the early stages of integrating the Images business into Otter House, we were running AMSolve and its MiniPick system in a parallel to Dimensions; however, this was not particularly efficient. At this stage, we were using older scanner devices which we’d inherited from Images in the warehouse but they had seen better days and had started to develop battery issues. Moreover, our pickers had commented that they found the gun handle style scanners to be incredibly bulky.”

Having considered a number of different devices to run MiniPick on, Otter House eventually opted for the Janam XM66W: “It goes without saying that one of the main draws of the Janam was that it was competitively priced. However, our warehouse team have commented that the best thing about them is that they’re compact and sit nicely in the hand… From an IT point of view, the device’s battery life is good, especially when compared to some other Pocket PC devices, and we’ve found its Wi-Fi connectivity to be consistent and reliable.”

“Even before introducing MiniPick, we’d always prided ourselves on being able to meet our customers’ demands accurately and punctually. In spite of this, one of the best improvements to have come out of implementing MiniPick is that it’s enabled us to have a rolling stock take which provides us with exceptional reporting.  Not only has this made our stock figures more accurate it also means that we no longer have to bring the warehouse to a halt in order to do the stock take, which could take up to a week or more. We’ve also really benefitted from the individual picker performance reports that MiniPick provides.”

“We’re now considering expanding the scope of MiniPick and introducing additional handhelds by automating stock transfers between our bulk and picking areas as we look to make greater use of our increased warehouse space.”