Lees of Scotland started creating iconic confectionery in the 1930s. Now a £20m a year business, Lees implemented Indigo WMS warehouse management software into a very busy warehouse that was previously managed using paper. Latest figures show profits at Lees have increased by 5% to £1.3m.
“One of the best things about working with Indigo is their wealth of experience in the food industry. Their consultants are highly knowledgeable and have applied the best insights from client projects to benefit our operation. We have made huge improvements to stock accuracy, traceability and efficiency, future proofing our business for years to come,” said Steven Purves, Supply Chain Director at Lees of Scotland.
How is Indigo WMS benefitting Lees?
Standardised processes for goods handling
Raw materials and finished goods are managed efficiently, eliminating mistakes and all data is real time.
“Using Indigo we saw an immediate improvement to stock management and traceability. It used to be difficult to isolate products but now we can pull off a set of labels and track goods to a few pallets in the warehouse,” adds Steven Purves.
Putaway is now a seamless process
Operators scan barcodes relating to finished goods on the works order sheet and specify the quantity. The system generates a label and suggests putaway locations, allowing the operator to assign an override code and have the put away rules amended if needed.
Reduction to stock picking errors
By eliminating stock picking errors, Lees could grow its business without needing to increase headcount in the warehouse. Raw materials are efficiently managed As shipments arrive, operators scan raw materials purchase orders, creating a unique pallet reference. Storage rules for allergens are followed and a suitable location is suggested, marked with a unique pallet ID.
End to end product traceability
Traceability is an essential capability for Lees, who supplies major retailers and independent stores across the UK. Now they can respond quickly to audit requests, with automated reports set up to gather the data required.
Five Factors affecting the Warehouse of the Future
The pace of change in warehousing and logistics has never been faster and having a huge impact on warehouse design and operations. Here are five trends we’re seeing:
Location isn’t always important
Having a warehouse in a central location won’t be essential, provided your company’s processes are efficient and you have access to appropriate transport links and pallet / parcel networks to increase coverage.
Rising labour costs
Warehouses are already seeing the impact of wage inflation as a result of the shrinking labour pool. Management need to identify ways to work more efficiently and limit exposure to increasing labour costs.
Stock is moving up the supply chain Inventory is being pushed back up the supply chain and its good business practice to avoid holding large amounts of stock – £1m in stock held over a year can mean £150K in servicing costs.
Increasing focus on sustainability
Companies are keen to improve environmental performance and those that put the environment at the heart of decision making will benefit from brand differentiation.
IT systems are more important than ever More now than ever, given the economic pressures, IT needs to be at the centre of all the decision making in a business, because this is the best way to identify a great process.
Industry 4.0: What should warehouse managers know?
Industry 4.0 innovations – Internet of Things, analytics and big data – mean greater efficiencies can be achieved by integrating otherwise disconnected systems. How can companies create their own strategic plans? Darren Baxter, Group CEO at Indigo Software outlines what warehouse managers should know.
What are the key technologies in supply chain digitalisation?
Digital transformation involves using analytics, AI, robotics and the Internet of Things to integrate disparate systems – ERP, WMS, sales and operations planning plus demand forecasting – collecting, processing and sharing information more efficiently to support faster execution. By anticipating or preventing problems more easily, companies can make better operational decisions, like suggesting order processing schedules to reflect anticipated demand. Workloads become more streamlined, allowing management to focus less on fire-fighting and more on strategic activities.
What are the first steps when implementing supply chain digitalisation?
Companies often believe technology will solve their problems and make them more efficient, but when they implement, they fail to see the expected returns. This is because key supply chain processes needed revamping in the first place.
Before starting a digital supply chain technology project, companies should complete a full operational review, examining where processes need changing and how existing datasets need to be integrated. Establish a long-term vision of the ideal scenario and then work backwards to assess the organisation’s current state. The resulting road map will outline how to get to the end result, plus what changes and investments are needed, including resources, talent and technology.
A technology partner such as Indigo can help you review key processes and prepare for digitalisation. We have a deep understanding of warehouse operations, expert integration skills and have been supporting customers with advanced WMS solutions for over thirty years.
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