Oxford University Press slashes order fulfilment costs

The world's largest university press has increased efficiency and slashed order fulfilment warehouse operations costs with new workforce management software.

As a major academic publishing house, Oxford University Press (OUP) operates a 240,000-square-foot UK warehouse that handles 24 million books, 40,000 titles and 26,500 pallets a year.

OUP wanted to increase the service capacity of its warehouse and boost the efficiency with which it deals with the 15,000 order lines it manages and the 3,500 orders dispatched each day.

The new workforce management (WFM) software from RedPrairie was integrated with OUP's existing warehouse management system (WMS) from the same vendor.

In the first week alone, order throughput rose by 19 per cent, with the result that the cost of fulfilling an order fell by 27 per cent over one year.

In addition, OUP was also able to save 100,000 from its annual budget for warehouse staff, as it was able to handle orders during peak periods using less resource.

Elwyn Roberts, OUP's infrastructure manager, said fully involving staff in the project was the key to success.

"We gave them ownership of their productivity and the chance to contribute ideas so that all the changes made were their own," he said.

"This proved to be a catalyst to re-energise the team and showed them a wealth of new opportunities, or what we call light bulb' moments small things that make a big difference. Given the choice, no one would go back to the old way of working."

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.