Kepak Group is one of Europe's leading food innovators, engaged in processing and marketing a full range of meat proteins in varied formats and presentations. Offering a wide range of high quality, differentiated products for both the retail and food service trades, including brands such as Rustlers, Feasters and Speedy Snacks, the Group is comprised of three strategic business units, namely Kepak Meat Division (KMD), Kepak Convenience Foods (KCF) and Kepak Frozen Division (KFD). With a number of manufacturing facilities throughout Ireland and the UK, the Group also has sales offices in key European and International markets.
The success of the Group is founded on strong customer relationships and high levels of customer service, thanks to its focus on consumer insights, innovation, category and process investment and food safety and quality.
As a rapidly growing business, Kepak Group needed to sustain its commitment to providing its customers with the very best in quality, variety and value, whilst at the same time delivering even better returns for every link within the supply chain. Boasting an array of well-invested processing facilities strategically located throughout the UK and Ireland, the Group deploys the most advanced data capture systems in order to prepare safe, expertly crafted meat products with verifiable traceability credentials.
When it became clear that the Group needed to upgrade its M3 ERP warehousing software solution in order to enhance its ability to track the ever-increasing movement of raw materials around its factory, the Group contacted BEC in order to assist with this upgrade. The Group had already worked with BEC to install its original data capture solution.
Based in Blackburn, Lancashire, BEC is a specialist provider of future-proof and innovative automated data capture solutions designed to integrate seamlessly into any host ERP system to fulfil business and commercial needs. With a specific focus on the supply chain and manufacturing industries, BEC's level of expertise spans the complete spectrum of AIDC technologies.
Neil Richmond, IT Manager at Kepak, comments "Having worked with BEC on a previous occasion, we knew that they were the right company to work with us on this upgrade. As well as being experts in integrating their solutions into M3 ERP systems, they are very experienced and have a highly specialist knowledge of all things data capture. They gave us every confidence from our past experiences that they would be able to supply a revised solution that would meet and surpass all of our prerequisites and criteria."
After spending time with the Group to fully understand what they needed to gain from their new solution, BEC deployed its eSmart® Warehouse software, which was installed onto Honeywell CK3 mobile computers, CV30 fixed mount computers and SR61 industrial handheld scanners. As the UK's largest independent M3 integrator, BEC was able to seamlessly interface the entire solution into the Group's upgraded M3 ERP system.
Tony Hampson, Managing Director at BEC, comments, "Due to the rapid expansion of the business, it was proving challenging for Kepak to effectively track raw goods throughout the warehouse, making it difficult to plan production or rotate stock efficiently. Our eSmart® Warehouse Solution automates all warehouse operations, helping to increase productivity, maximise throughput and streamline business processes. The choice of hardware was pertinent too, as the near/far scan engine which is built into the Honeywell scanning and mobile computing devices allows for the capture of data at close range or long distance, so workers are now able to scan products directly at the point of contact or from a forklift truck. The CK3 and the CV30 also benefit from a rich, graphical user interface, making the user experience far more enjoyable and intuitive."
With the benefits of renewed real-time visibility of stock and traceability, Kepak is able to locate and track raw materials from receipt through to production and beyond. Production lines are now fed using lot numbers, so the oldest products are sent first, and lines are supplied with the correct components, ingredients and packaging.
Richmond comments, "The new solution has drastically improved the way we track raw materials, whether they be ingredients or packaging, around our warehouse. We now feel fully in control of all our product placement, since the entire production process is now completely traceable, which is something that is imperative within the food and meat industries. We have also received positive feedback from the users of the new system as they have found it easy and intuitive to use, and can definitely recognise the benefits of implementing an upgraded and improved solution."
"As far as BEC is concerned, we could not have asked for more. They have always been efficient and quick to respond to us, and thanks to taking the time to fully understand what we needed to gain from our new solution, they have done exactly what we asked for – and more."
Hampson concludes, "We are really pleased to have been asked to work with Kepak for a second time. The project has been a resounding success so far, and we look forward to the possibility of working with Kepak again in the future."