Product traceability has long been recognised as in important and necessary part of most if not all quality assurance systems. After all, it provides the ability to clearly identify the history of an item at every stage of its manufacture, from raw materials to end user.
Longer and more complex routes from basic ingredients to point of sale obviously require more sophisticated and dependable systems to ensure that identity control is maintained at all times. And it is here where basic computer stock control systems often fail to deliver the goods.
Bespoke, software solutions are invariably required to absorb, manipulate, process and make available the necessary data in a format or series of formats dictated by various users at several points in the manufacturing and distribution chain.
Manchester based Per-Scent, a supplier of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) to a number of household names and independent stores in the retail sector, required a way to securely track their stock, combined with complete visibility and transparency of stock location at any moment in time using wireless, hand-held devices.
After speaking with Computerway, Per-Scent's Operations Director, Julian Holt agreed that the company's StorePal was the ideal solution, having been developed to meet the needs of the most complex product movement and traceability requirements.
Paul Sykes, MD at Computerway takes up the story. 'We were approached by Per-Scent, effectively the UK's number one distributor of a wide range of high value products through numerous outlets. Critical to the way Per-Scent operates is the ability to record stock movement throughout the supply chain, tracking back to the originating point. Some additional complexities occasioned by the need to prioritise orders at certain times of the year and the need to hold bonded stocks for Customs and Excise duty & VAT purposes also formed part of our brief.'
Praising the StorePal system provided by Computerway, Julian Holt adds, 'We were impressed by Computerway's attitude to developing systems which fulfilled our specific needs and delivered solutions against a tight timescale. The system was developed quickly and was highly configurable. We consider Computerway to be a technology-driven company committed to providing exactly what is required. We found them to be significantly more flexible than other potential suppliers and capable of discussing solutions with us at both technical and commercial levels.'
Describing the installed system in more detail, Holt explains: 'Computerway's StorePal system provides us with secure tracking, giving instant, complete visibility and transparency of stock location. StorePal permits us to have the same product organised by batch number as well as barcode, enabling us to deliver the right product to our customers in accordance with their preferences, legality considerations, service provisions and conformity requirements. With StorePal we can also defer duty and VAT within our own bonded warehouse facility, where goods are purchased from outside the EEC. Because our stock is precisely labelled we have gained a "high Grade" accolade for C&E's bonded warehousing purposes.'
'We have also determined that StorePal permits very effective use of warehouse space and minimises product movement, reducing the possibility of accidental damage. Also crucial to the long term viability of the system, we have found Computerway's post installation service and systems maintenance to be of the highest order. Finally, during recent upgrade work, the company added more functionality to the system, demonstrating a straightforward, successful and pragmatic approach to our system development needs,' he adds.
'The requirements of this client presented several interesting challenges that we were able to meet using our software in an environment where extremely complex product movements are the norm rather than the exception. We are as delighted as Per-Scent with the results achieved and look forward to developing the current system in line with the company's ongoing requirements,' concludes Paul Sykes.