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Witwood Food Products Ltd

Overview of Witwood

Witwood Food Products Ltd

Founded in 1982, Witwood is a multinational company manufacturing innovative batter mixes, breadcrumbs, seasonings, pre-dust and dry mix marinades for the frozen and chilled food markets of Europe, Australia, Asia Pacific and North America. Witwood has become the market leader in its field, responding to changes in the food industry which have placed increased pressure upon suppliers to get products right, quickly.

They pride themselves on fast, reliable service, world class manufacturing processes and extensive quality control which have led major national and international food companies to entrust Witwood Food Products with critical product development and the ongoing supply of ingredients for their internationally branded food offerings. Their commitment to remain at the forefront of technological innovation has led to a significant investment in their IT infrastructure.

Establishing Quality Service and Innovation

By 1999 the company’s UK-based factory (one of the largest independent ingredients factories in Europe) had out grown its small scale ERP system. A replacement was required that would support Witwood’s move towards more complex manufacturing processes, enabling Witwood to continue to deliver unrivalled customer service backed by the highest levels of technical excellence, and facilitate the rapid introduction of 100-150 new product concepts every month.

Brian Day, Managing Director
“To achieve these goals, we needed a manufacturing-focussed system that would integrate the individual areas of our business and provide flexible, speedy management reporting. The Sanderson-Belgravium solution was ideal because of its specialist food capabilities, which meant we didn’t inherit the usual complexities associated with more general, sales-led, ERP systems.”

Belgravium authorised partner Sanderson is one of the largest and most experienced UK-owned providers of software and IT services and has been established since 1983.

Through the modular design of the Sanderson software any or all food distribution and manufacturing processes can be automated, from sales order processing, production, purchasing, warehousing, quality control, MRP/CRP and costing to accounting. A key consideration was the necessity to have two-way traceability through to customers and suppliers. A flexible architecture allowed Witwood to develop the basic system to support its R&D operations.

Warehouse Management

Automated warehousing using Radio Data Terminals

The Sanderson solution has been integrated throughout the business from goods in right through to despatch. Previously, receiving goods in was a manual process which was open to errors and stock often took 48 hours to appear on the system. With the introduction of the Sanderson solution, there is only one point of entry and stock can now be seen immediately. On arrival of the goods quality control is automatically alerted by email so that they can test the products straight away without delay making sure the quality conforms to Witwood’s high standards.

Storing available stock quantities on the system, combined with the use of Belgravium handheld and forklift truck-mounted Radio Data Terminals (RDTs) which link into the Sanderson solution, enable raw materials to be immediately located within the warehouse and made available to the production line.

Using RDTs to automate further warehouse processes means quality is controlled right up to the customer’s door – in fact since automating despatch not one credit note has been issued for incorrect documentation, products or quantities.

Having scheduled an order, stock rotation is automatic based on a series of inbuilt rules and parameters set up in the Sanderson-Belgravium solution to the customer’s specification. When loading the lorry the warehouse operatives’ management system ensures that all pallets have been picked and loaded on to the lorry correctly. Efficiencies have been improved in process despatch as a result of tighter control. Delivery notes & invoice paperwork is 100% accurate. Before RDTs if stock was wrongly picked the delivery note could reflect incorrect stock, leading to possible short falls in delivery.

Using the Sanderson warehouse management software and RDT’s, the delivery note now reflects what has actually happened, and what quantities are actually included on the pallet. So there is no opportunity for errors, inaccuracies or wrong invoicing.

Michael Rolfe, Warehouse Manager (Witwood Food Products)
"Installing the Sanderson-Belgravium solution was the smoothest implementation I have seen in 25 years of using computerised systems. The inevitable teething problems were minor and dealt with immediately. Some warehouse operatives had concerns about using a sophisticated computerised system, but within an hour they had become relaxed with it. Additional data input is needed in some areas, but is far outweighed by time savings in others. Our previous procedures gave us good stock control but at the cost of considerable input and management time. The new system delivers near-perfect accuracy, with a huge reduction in effort. Previously, the warehouse was controlled from the office, now it is controlled from the floor in real-time. Our warehouse personnel have been truly empowered."

Background Notes on Warehouse Management

i. Belgravium
The Belgravium RDTs are derived from both extensive experience and a forward looking approach to marketplace analysis. The RDTs are robust enough to maintain performance levels in the harshest of warehouse conditions, including the sub zero (- 26 degrees) temperatures of a cold storage operation. Most RF units will only operate to -4, the food industry demands true cold-store capability (- 26 degrees).

ii. Benefits of the Sanderson solution & Belgravium RDTs

  • Increased traceability
  • Less paperwork
  • More productivity
  • Fewer manual errors
  • Less product recalls
  • Perpetual inventory management
  • Improved space utilization
  • Flexibility and control
  • Improved customer service
  • Cash flow benefits