LINKFRESH Gives Moulton Bulb Co. Management A Clear Vision

Data Capture and reporting puts Moulton Bulb Co. Ltd in a position for growth

THE CLIENT

Moulton Bulb Co. LogoHeadquartered in Moulton, near Spalding, the company employs 300 staff responsible for grading, packing, labelling and distributing whole and prepared alliums supplied both from its own farm and a specially selected group of growers from the length and breadth of the UK.

Technology is at the forefront of Moulton Bulb’s operations and the company is focused on process innovation to improve quality and drive cost out of the business. In fact, the factory features the only fully automatic robotic onion peelers in the world.

THE BRIEF

In order to drive the business forward, the management team identified a need for greater visibility and easier access of management information and improved structure to the production process.

The company had been reliant on many paper-based processes which limited user access and created huge files. The comonionspany was using De Facto software for sales order processing and required a user friendly replacement which would be favorably accepted by employees.

Specifically, Moulton Bulb wanted to streamline its entire process to quicken traceability, produce more in-depth reports, modernize its produce booking systems and increase mobile visibility of factory performance.

Director, Robert Oldershaw Jr, summed up the brief:

“We wanted to capture similar information but in a more efficient way and bring all aspects of our process together. Our key driver was to get as much information out about the business as possible.”

THE SOLUTION

Data Capture

LINKFRESH captures data on inbound produce efficiently and in greater detail.

After attending a seminar by LINKFRESH, Moulton Bulb Company opted for whole site implementation of LINKFRESH ERP software.

The solution also provides for state of the art mobility applications for stock management, quality control, intake, picking, dispatch and label printing, as well as touch screen user interface.

The Results:

cutonionInformation about inbound produce is now captured more efficiently and in greater detail. Crop information such as growers’ accreditations, technical details, use of chemicals, field information, crop size and variety ensures the product is exactly as ordered.

Purchase orders for the vendors are automatically created and LINKFRESH generated labels include a batch barcode which ensures full live product traceability through the grading, packing, storage and dispatch process.

Bar codes are scanned every time stock moves and gives operatives instant information on the product history, identity, size, lot number, finished quantity and order details.

Moulton Bulb Company found LINKFRESH mirrored the existing process, in terms of information produced, but did so in an easier to use manner with the familiarity and renowned easy navigation of Microsoft. Reporting was also simpler and quicker to access.

In order to give the Moulton Bulb Company management total confidence, LINKFRESH was run in a live parallel simulated process to ensure the new system performed as required. This eradicated any risk when the new system replaced the old.

Reporting

Moulton Bulb Company already had analytics software which it was keen to continue using. The LINKFRESH system was fully compatible with the existing software and was able to provide a greater level of data more accurately and efficiently for management reports. Sales order reports were now accessible online, meaning business decisions are better informed and can be taken remotely. Sales orders can be tracked by days, weeks or years and split by department and product.

With 26 NAV and 35 mobile/touchscreens across the factory, shift and line performance can be analysed immediately and remotely. The data includes shift performance, production orders, outputs, consumption and downtime.

There are currently 60 LINKFRESH users across the factory, meaning all data is input in real time.

“I have … been impressed by user acceptance of LINKFRESH with the vast majority of employees finding it simple to use and helpful in their everyday tasks.”

Robert Oldershaw Jr – Director, Oldershaw Group

THE BUSINESS BENEFITS

Robert Oldershaw Jr is the director of Moulton Bulb with responsibility for IT and technology in the business. Robert explains the benefits LINKFRESH has brought to the company:

“LINKFRESH has brought everything together in our business. Our key driver was to get information out of the operations side of the business and to aid the physical process. Ultimately, we needed better visibility across our entire operation.

“Previously there was limited visibility of product on site which made controlling up to 1,000 bins of 50 different products across 20 warehouse locations difficult. Now we have live, real time stock location information which has solved stock rotation issues, reduced waste and greatly assisted stock control.

“The barcoding of every batch of product means we can’t out-load incomplete loads and the tracking software avoids disagreements with both hauliers and customers as we know exactly when every delivery was dispatched and what was contained. This information is now literally at our fingertips.

“We are more efficient in terms of production times and costs. With LINKFRESH we can immediately stop work pre-production if any issues arise – such as using a wrong batch of produce – rather than after production has begun. In this sense LINKFRESH has enabled us to be more proactive than reactive.

“We feel more confident that our management profit and loss account data is more accurate and having the ability to analyse each production line gives us the information we need to ensure we are working smartly and efficiently. We can quickly identify areas which are costing too much and put systems and processes in to manage these. With the ability to find cost saving measures becoming harder and harder, having the right information to hand is critical to success.

“We now have robust systems in place to ask questions of our own processes. LINKFRESH has pulled the business together and doesn’t let us be too departmentalized. It has given us a solid framework to better process overall.

“I have also been impressed by user acceptance of LINKFRESH with the vast majority of employees finding it simple to use and helpful in their everyday tasks.

“There are measurable efficiency benefits. Traceability of product, for example, can now be done in a quarter of the time and having information at the touch of a button recently helped us achieve an A+ rating in two unannounced BRC audits.

THE FUTURE

Robert Oldershaw Jr, Director of Moulton Bulb, also commented on how the application of LINKFRESH software would help allow his company to grow:

“The LINKFRESH team invested the time to really get to know our business and the phased implementation of LINKFRESH allowed us to tailor our requirements as we went.

“I now feel we are more professional and robust in our approach and our interaction with suppliers and customers and we’ve actually got to know our own business a lot better.

“The information we now have at our fingertips and systems we have in place will help us to grow the business.”

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Established in 1979, Moulton Bulb Company Ltd is one of the largest suppliers of onions, garlic and shallots to the UK market. The company supplies more than 1,700 tonnes of onions each week to customers including Asda, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Co-operative Food and Iceland Foods.
In order to drive the business forward, the management team identified a need for greater visibility and easier access of management information and improved structure to the production process.
  • The company had been reliant on many paper-based processes which limited user access and created huge files.
  • Information about inbound produce is now captured more efficiently and in greater detail. Crop information such as growers’ accreditations, technical details, use of chemicals, field information, crop size and variety ensures the product is exactly as ordered.
  • Purchase orders for the vendors are automatically created and LINKFRESH generated labels include a batch barcode which ensures full live product traceability through the grading, packing, storage and dispatch process.

LINKFRESH has pulled the business together and doesn’t let us be too departmentalized. It has given us a solid framework and a better process overall.


ROBERT OLDERSHAW JR
Director, Oldershaw Group