Harland Simon has recently implemented its Warehouse Insight system (now part of the Vero Solutions suite) in one of Yeo Valley’s warehouses in Somerset in order to provide new KPIs for the company and a new understanding of how the warehouse operates.  The warehouse itself is a 40,000 sq ft chilled distribution centre for many of Yeo Valley’s dairy products which are supplied under their own name and for a number of leading supermarket chains.

In essence, Warehouse Insight is an indoor GPS system that monitors and records the movements of trucks around the warehouse to an accuracy of just a few centimetres.  Just as importantly, every pallet that is picked up is recognised by its barcode and its movements are then recorded until it is put down.

The system is based on a camera fitted to each truck and overhead position markers to calculate the truck’s exact position.  At the same time, a front-facing camera recognises the barcodes on pallets as they are approached by a truck.  The information is transmitted from each truck to the Warehouse Insight (Vero Solutions) server which in turn communicates directly with the proprietary WMS, which has now been changed to Microsoft Dynamics. Work instructions from the WMS are transmitted by Warehouse Insight (Vero Solutions)  to a screen mounted in the driver’s cab.  Once a task is completed, the WMS is notified and a new task is received.

Martin Morris, Supply Chain General Manager at Yeo Valley, says, “Just like everyone in supply chain and logistics, we’re always looking for ways to reduce our costs or improve performance.  After many years of operation, we knew that our warehouses were tightly run but it’s important to be aware of new technology that might bring something new to the table.  Harland Simon approached us with their Warehouse Insight (Vero Solutions) system and we were sufficiently convinced that we were looking at a ‘game-changer’ to let them into one of our warehouses even though it would be their first implementation of the system”.

Dave Snook discusses the system in detail here.

Almost a year has passed and Yeo Valley has decided to roll the system out to their other two warehouses at the site.  They have calculated that the savings brought about by Warehouse Insight (Vero Solutions) will deliver a return on their investment in less than two years.  Some of the savings have already been realised by eliminating trucks that were shown to be unnecessary and reallocating their operators to other tasks.  Many more savings will be generated using the new KPIs that have been introduced and making operating changes that have been highlighted by the new system.

Martin Morris added, “Some of the gains of the system are to be expected.  Once one starts to look closely at operator performance, for example, it will tend to improve.  Other gains are less obvious and without a system that gives you this sort of detail and presents it so clearly, you just won’t find those gains”.

Rob Watson, Sales Director at Harland Simon, said, “Naturally we are delighted to receive this order from Yeo Valley.  It’s very significant to us because it underlines the fact that we are offering the industry something new that really does work and can generate significant savings.  Now that we are able to publicise the Yeo Valley installation, I hope and expect that we will see many more systems introduced into UK warehouses”.

For further information, please contact Tim Young at our Milton Keynes Office.  Tel: +44 1908 276700.