ECONOFOODS, a highly successful provider of frozen and chilled foods plus a wide variety of grocery products, has selected leading warehouse management software (WMS) specialist, CQuential Solutions, to fulfil its warehouse management needs as it expands its distribution network.
ECONOFOODS currently has seven distribution centres and 27 retail outlets that span six provinces in South Africa plus a cross-border operation in Lesotho. “The company employs 1 500 people and services approximately 1 000 foodservice customers monthly from the distribution centres,” says Jan Hendrik Buchner Operational Financial Manager – ECONOFOODS Gauteng & Northwest.
He notes the company was founded in 1996 with the goal of supplying top quality products at wholesale prices and all accompanied by a superior service experience. “We required a state-of-the-art system that could optimise our warehouse operations, drive greater efficiencies and support our growth plans as we expand our distribution network. CQential’s warehouse management system (WMS) fulfilled all of our requirements and was deployed in our Johannesburg warehouse,” says Buchner.
He confirms the deployment of CQuential WMS will serve as a pilot implementation that will eventually see roll-out to all of ECONOFOODS warehouses over the coming 18 months.
CQuential CEO Shaun O’Brien notes the implementation has moved swiftly and successfully and they are now past the initial set-up stage. “We have now moved into a space where the WMS functionality is being tailored to meet ECONOFOODS’ specific requirements.”
O’Brien says the implementation was not without challenges, including:
The CQuential team proposed the following strategic approach to overcoming these hurdles:
Buchner confirms the relationship is ongoing. “CQuential is an integral part of our operation in Johannesburg and thus we view them as a business partner. Moreover, we are looking to build on it with further system developments. This requires frequent interaction between both companies as we continue to roll-out CQuential’s WMS to our warehouses throughout the country,” he concludes.
Source: IT Web
CQuential – part of the Argility Technology Group and a developer of leading supply chain and warehouse management solutions and services (WMS) – has partnered with integration and automation specialist Flowgear in a move that will better enable CQuential’s ability to integrate with customers’ enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
CQuential’s core business has always been in optimising clients’ supply chain and warehouses, says Daniel Schotter, CQuential Operations Executive. “To achieve this, we invariably must integrate with our clients’ ERP systems. Traditionally, this has proven to be a complex and time-consuming exercise that negatively impacted on the overall cost of implementation. Following extensive market research, we identified Flowgear, an up and coming integration as a service (iPaaS) provider that had the right adaptors and entrepreneurial approach to business that is fundamental to CQuential’s market operations,” says Schotter.
He confirms the company’s rationale behind this move was driven by a need to either develop an in-house ‘Enterprise Service Bus’ or partner with a service provider that could fulfil the interface requirements. “In the past, we partnered with other integration houses but found those technologies rather expensive and, as such, prohibitive. We wanted to focus on our core strengths and partner with a business that could remove this hurdle to market for us. Flowgear is an excellent fit for us, as it has so many synergies with our offerings with an environment that is intuitive and easy to use,” notes Schotter. He adds CQuential has already integrated – on behalf of/and with clients – various packages including, Netsuite, K-Motion WMS and VeraCore WMS to name just some.
CQuential CEO, Shaun O’Brien, explains Flowgear offers integration and automation, on-premises and in the cloud. “Flowgear enables companies of all sizes to increase efficiency and reduce cost by integrating their apps, services, APIs and databases. At a far greater pace, and reduced cost, we can now self-deploy new interfaces with our current and prospective clients and generate other opportunities on behalf of our customers, as well as onwards to their clients,” O’Brien concludes.
The customer: Fairfield Dairy
The industry: Dairy
The implementation: CQuential Warehouse Management System
The provider: CQuential WMS
In 2005, Fairfield Dairy moved to new and improved factory premises in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. The business is founded on a belief that technology and world-class health standards are of the utmost importance in the production of the highest quality dairy products.
Fairfield Dairy strives to provide the best quality milk and service to its customers as well as living up to being one of South Africa’s most trusted and respected dairies. Fairfield Dairy started from humble beginnings and places great importance on the well-being of its cows, as it is only through their comfort and happiness that they produce the best milk possible to make Fairfield’s dairy products.
“At Fairfield, we believe that innovation is the key to a successful future in the dairy industry in South Africa. Technology and world-class health standards are of the utmost importance to producing better dairy products,” says Fairfield Dairy Admin Executive Steven Fly.
Fly explains that Fairfield Dairy’s product shelf-life requires adherence to strictly mandated stock rotation cycles based on best before dates (BBD) – this is also often compounded by the fact that there are different consignees with varying BBD rules.
“Controlling stock rotation requires 100% picking accuracy. Moreover, temperature and quality control management with tight transportation schedules all prove challenging.
“Returned stock can quickly become worthless, which, of course, impacts on revenues. Traceability through the pick face is crucial and replenishment management is key to both traceability and efficiency.”
Fly says the company’s business challenges include short shelf life; batch and BBD traceability; food production guidelines/regulations; varying consignee rules; and supply chain optimisation.
CQuential Customer Services Executive Rina Redelinghuys says the warehouse management innovator originally implemented its WMS at Fairfield in 2010, at a time when Fairfield consolidated its production facilities and built a new cold room with racking.
“Over the years, CQuential has optimised a few features that facilitate efficiency improvements, including allowing operations to distinguish between replenishment tasks and full pick tasks, plus providing optimal prioritisation and reduction in delays. We also introduced a system of management of shelf life and batch dates; shelf life per customer; batch expiry calculations; and releasing short picks,” she says.
The CQuential WMS solution is hosted in a world-class data centre, which provides the highest level of availability, performance and security.
Redelinghuys confirms the relationship is ongoing. “There is always room for ongoing improvement within all businesses, especially when it comes to re-evaluating current processes, especially in light of continual changes in technologies, customers and workplace cultures. In the near future, CQuential and Fairfield plan to review operational processes within the warehouse to identify how to optimally improve according to best practices,” she says
Source: IT Web
Shaun O’Brien, CEO of CQuential WMS, says the shared venture was finalised late last year. “This development is all about improving visibility, throughput and efficiencies within warehousing and distribution. It is interesting to note that we already have a shared client account that both companies are working together to service the best interests of the client,” says O’Brien.
He adds that in the past businesses were blind to the value proposition that warehouse management systems offered. “Those attitudes have changed gradually as organisations have come to realise the enhanced efficiencies and competitive edge that results with the deployment of a best-of-breed WMS coupled with a strong implementation team.
“CQuential is uniquely positioned to respond to this market trend and we have decided to expand our opportunity window through an alliance with Forte who have all the right credentials for us as an SME with specialist knowledge in the supply chain and warehouse management arenas.
CQuential and Forte’s first combined project involves a third party logistics service provider in Ekurhuleni responsible for operating around eight warehouses on behalf of a large FMCG company. The first stage of the new WMS implementation roll-out is planned to take place in the next three months. “Our first goal and challenge will be going live successfully,” says Forte COO Renko Bergh. He emphasised that a successful WMS implementation involves consultative decision making and customer executive buy-in to ensure that methodical planning is undertaken with the client’s best interest being front and centre of all decisions.
“Firstly it is about using optimal processes to get our client’s data into the WMS, then seamless integration with their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, followed by dashboards for management and control. Only then can we start doing things with big data and building true value,” he explains.
WMS, which essentially means going paperless and driving warehouse excellence, can be quite disruptive and generally does not take less than three months to implement. “However, this should not be a barrier to WMS implementation – the benefits far outweigh deployment time issues,” says Berg.
O’Brien concludes: “We don’t just sell a system, install it and move on. Our customer service model is one of partnership – walking the journey with the client ensuring that we continually add value to their warehouse operations”.
Source: Freight & Trading Weekly