Visibility in the warehouse is a necessity for the modern supply chain

Visibility in the warehouse is a necessity for the modern supply chain

In an environment where inventory is constantly moving, accurately tracking stock can be difficult. To gain visibility and control warehouse operators have turned to electronic scanning and digital systems to monitor all actions. Skilful deployment of this technology is providing companies with a major competitive advantage.

Warrens Warehousing & Distribution is a shining example. A £27m a year business, Warrens specialises in the storage, despatch and delivery of bakery products. Given the time sensitivity of the goods being handled, it is not unusual to see the products that go into Warrens’ depot being moved on to trailers almost immediately.

These demands led the company to replace ‘big stock books’ and become early adopters of the warehouse management system, Access Delta. Warrens’ IT Manager Antony Glenn said: “We took a massive leap from the dark ages into one of technology.”

The system has allowed Warrens to provide its clients, which include Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Morrisons, with advance notification of consolidated orders. “Other hauliers may make it work for full pallets of one product but not for multiple products and purchase orders to one pallet. That makes us trail-blazers in the sector,” said Antony.

The success of the system has worked so well for Tesco – which orders 96% of its cakes and bakery through Warrens – that it has flown visitors in from the United States to observe how it works.

Another key advantage for Warrens is that if products ever need to be recalled, the company can track exactly where each case has been delivered. With more and more retailers demanding full traceability of goods throughout the supply chain, however, this technology is becoming more than an advantage – it’s becoming a necessity.