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Following a period of growth and investment in two new warehousing facilities at its main distribution centre in Nottingham, Pedigree identified the need for a warehouse management system (WMS) to help fully utilise the new facilities. However, following a 24-month review of various options and systems it decided to implement a completely new distribution solution and selected BCPs Accord to integrate activities across its whole business.
Key to selecting Accord was its powerful Telesales features and fully integrated, Voice activated WMS, which outclassed specialist stand-alone warehouse offerings. Initially, we were looking for a WMS to complement our existing systems, but my preference was always for a fully integrated and proven system, explained Brian Mellors, Pedigrees financial director, who added: We were so impressed by Accord that we decided to invest in a completely new solution. Accord was implemented in two main phases and is now used by 90 employees, 32 of whom are dedicated warehouse operatives.
Stage one involved the implementation of core Accord modules, including Purchasing, Stock Control, Telesales and Financials. The second phase saw the expansion of Stock Control into full warehouse management with the implementation of Accord Voice WMS in the Bulk Warehouse in Nottingham where bulky, low-value goods are stored. As warehouse operatives are handling large and heavy products the hands-free Voice solution is ideal. Implementation took place over several months starting with the installation of a radio frequency (RF) network, followed by RF Goods Receiving, then Voice functionality for Put-Away and Replenishment and, finally, for Picking.
Following the success of the system in the bulk warehouse and, in particular, the improvement in picking accuracy, Voice Picking was introduced into the accessory warehouse which stores 75 per cent of the company's products. Voice Put-Away and Replenishment completed the installation.
Pedigree has now increased control and efficiency across its business, with particular improvements in several areas:
Multi depot Stock control and replenishment Management of stock across Pedigrees depots had always been complex; with customer orders often satisfied from more than one depot, trunking of products between depots, central and depot level buying and the added complication that deliveries may be made to a depot from orders placed centrally and vice versa. Accords true multi-depot design has simplified this whole process, providing full visibility of stock and its movement and matching to SOP and POP so that Pedigree can fully control and monitor these activities across all depots.
Buying Accords flexible POP has delivered considerable savings by allowing Pedigree to rationalise stocks whilst reducing out-of-stocks, cut time spent on buying and to buy better using sophisticated demand forecasting, superior information and supplier performance statistics.
Telesales All sales are generated via Telesales so efficiency here is vital. Accord has given Pedigree greater control over the daily management of calls and improved overall effectiveness of the telesales operation, allowing operators to work more efficiently and proactively to increase sales.
Operations Voice WMS is the latest phase of the implementation, but is already delivering significant improvements and allowing Pedigree to better control and monitor warehouse operations and optimise use of warehouse space. Operations, generally, are now much more efficient, completing faster and more accurately. Previously, invoicing required manual input with up to five separate picking notes for each order. Now all invoices are produced automatically on completion of picking. Voice Picking is helping pickers work quickly and eliminating re-picks and waiting time due to empty picking faces. Picking rates have improved and accuracy is more than 99 per cent. Less obvious benefits have arisen in terms of faster training of new staff and flexibility to move staff around departments as product knowledge is no longer needed. We now have effective control across our whole business and are fully equipped to grow successfully and increase our market share, concluded Mellors. Looking ahead, Pedigree hopes to launch web ordering early in 2008 and, longer term, will be assessing the viability of introducing Voice picking at its smaller depots.