Ornua Foods (Formerly, the Irish Dairy Board) is Ireland’s largest dairy products exporter. It ships Irish dairy products to over 110 countries via 15 global subsidiaries and generates sales of over €2.5 billion. Global brands managed include Kerrygold, Pilgrim’s Choice, Horlicks Farms and Adams. The company is the UK’s largest buyer of British cheese, supplying over 40% of the hard cheese sold by UK retailers. It operates one of Europe’s largest state-of-the-art cheese cutting and packing plants located in Leek Staffordshire, employing over 650 people.
The Irish Dairy Board (now Ornua Foods) packs all cheese formats from deli blocks to pre-pack consumer blocks, sliced and mini-portions, grated, speciality blended cheeses and wax cheese. The company supplies cheese and butter to UK food retailers and independent/convenience stores, wholesale and foodservice businesses. Brands supplied include Aldi, ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose. It also offers a contact packing service to UK cheese producers without their own storage and packing facilities.
The company owns and holds large stocks of butter, cheese and milk powders. At project commencement it utilised over 80 refrigerated storage locations across Europe. Sales orders and stock movements were fully controlled from head office, with direct instructions being sent, at any time, 24/7, to the various sites holding stock on its behalf. Managing dairy products can be complex with up to 150 attributes per pallet load. Daily pallet movements totalled approximately 7,000.
Full, Real-time Visibility and Traceability: Apart from cheese types, and other varying attributes like fat content, some cheeses are matured gourmet products while others are essentially commodity foods. All are tightly regulated and quality controlled. Unlike other food items, the significance of the original production date varies greatly in the storage and distribution. This means that it is essential that the business has full, real-time visibility of all of its product stock and locations.
In addition to the controls, essential for business efficiency, there are mandatory requirements for complete product traceability by the US FDA, the EU and other global food safety authorities.
ERP Integration: A headline brief was to give each warehouse automatic, and real-time, controlled access to the existing Movex ERP system. Instructions from company and stock movement reports from the warehouse management systems could then be exchanged automatically and in real-time, or near real-time.
The Irish Dairy Board (Ornua Foods) also mandated adherence to the AS2 protocol as applied in global Supply Chain and Distribution. This provides secure Internet transmission, compressed and certified, with no value-added network costs levied on any party.
The chosen solution, In-DEX WMS Warehouse Management Software, quickly delivered definable user benefits. Cold stores now worked online, directly with the distributor, resulting in reduced data entry. Real-time stock information is now shared with the company and improved product traceability is evident throughout the supply chain.
Faster and Automatic Payments: Any transaction queries or discrepancies are flagged in real-time for immediate resolution. There is no extra data input by the stores and In-DEX WMS users are largely unaware of automated transactions between the systems, other than items like new picklists directly related to their working roles.
Reduced Truck Turnaround: Warehouse and logistics partner feedback confirmed that average truck turnaround times were reduced because the relevant data is usually on the In-DEX WMS system in the warehouse sometimes even before a truck has arrived.
“As far as we are concerned they did an excellent job in a very short timescale. The warehouses using In-DEX were very easily and smoothly integrated into our Movex ERP system. After the first short period of testing and familiarisation there have simply been no software issues.”
Kevin Woods, Business Analyst, Irish Dairy Board
Pallet Control Reduces Errors: In-DEX WMS provided an error-reducing feature in that, post deployment, it was no longer possible to despatch the wrong pallet because orders generated via the Irish Dairy Board to the new system feed through to the pick list.
Increased Operator Efficiency: The on-screen warehouse stock display is filtered displaying only the items involved in current transactions. This means that the operator does not need to scroll down to find each item so resulting in greater efficiency and reduced OpEx.
WMS Software 3PL Food Warehouse Optimisation: Results:
“No paper, no emails, the whole operation is streamlined. Errors are almost eliminated compared to the tedious chore of transcribing information from masses of documents, which in fact was a bit of a nightmare at peak periods. We hold up to 6,000 pallets at any time, with maybe 200 or so moving in or out daily. So the automated links between IDB and our In-DEX system, which in turn is integrated with our Sage Line 50 ERP, have significantly reduced the clerical working hours needed.“
Eoin Hennessy, Managing Director, Orchard Warehousing & Cold Storage