Pedigree Wholesale Ltd improved efficiency and control across its business, following investment in a 90 user multi-depot Accord ERP system, including Web Ordering and Voice WMS, for its entire distribution operation.
Headquartered in Nottingham and founded over 40 years ago, Pedigree is one of the UK’s key pet products wholesalers serving the independent sector. It operates from a network of five strategically located depots, servicing 2000+ accounts across England and Wales. Customers include pet shops, garden centres and specialist outlets.
Key to selecting Accord were its powerful order taking features and fully integrated Voice WMS whose functionality outclassed specialist stand-alone warehouse offerings.
Accord was implemented in phases: first core modules – from Purchasing to Financials – going live across all depots over the course of a single weekend, then Voice WMS at Nottingham and, finally, rollout of Voice to satellite depots.
Accord gives Pedigree the power and flexibility to operate the business effectively with the most modern IT facilities, providing easy access to key sales, product and buying information, as well as effective warehouse control.
The company now has increased control and efficiency across its whole business, in particular:
Multi depot stock control and replenishment – Management and control of stock had always been complex with customer orders often satisfied from more than one depot, trunking of products between depots, central and depot level buying, and the added complication that deliveries may be made to a depot from orders placed centrally and vice versa. Accord’s true multi-depot design has simplified this whole process, providing full visibility of stock and its movement so that Pedigree can fully control and monitor these activities across all depots.
Buying – Accord easily accommodates Pedigree’s requirement to buy both centrally and locally and has delivered considerable savings, allowing them to rationalise stocks, reduce out-of-stocks, reduce time spent on buying and negotiate better deals.
Order taking – Efficient Telesales is vital for Pedigree as the majority of sales are generated this way. Accord’s Telesales system has provided greater control and improved effectiveness of the Telesales operation, allowing operators to work more efficiently and proactively and increase sales.
More recently, Web Ordering has proved enormously successful, giving customers more flexibility in ordering, increasing loyalty and reducing the costs associated with handling orders. More than 20% of Pedigree’s orders have now moved online. Chris Laud, Pedigree Financial Director: “Customers find web ordering easy to use and like the flexibility and independence it gives them. If they want to order late at night or on a Sunday for next day delivery they can now do that. An increasing number of customers like to order in this way and it’s really important that we’re able to provide this service. The fact that taking orders in this way is also very efficient has allowed us to grow our sales without having to take on additional staff.”
Key to the success of the whole order taking process is close integration and true transparency across the operation. Telesales data, for example, is updated to show when an online order has been placed and planned calls rescheduled. “This is where the truly integrated nature of Accord comes into its own,” says Laud. “Telesales operators have complete visibility of on line activity so they don’t waste their time or customers’ time calling when a customer has placed an order on line.”
The conversion from manual, paper-based operations to real-time, wall-to-wall voice control across all five locations is delivering major efficiency improvements.
Pickers now work faster and more accurately from pick faces which are automatically kept replenished by the system, optimising the use of both FLT drivers and pickers and eliminating re-picks and waiting time due to empty picking faces. Picking rates have improved by up to 20% and accuracy is at 99.9%. “Order fulfilment ‘right first time, on time’ is always our aim and we’re virtually there now,” says Laud. “The whole warehouse just works so much more efficiently.”
Stationery and administration savings have been significant. Invoices, which used to require manual input with up to five separate picking notes for each order, for instance, are now all produced automatically.
Less obvious benefits have arisen in terms of faster training of new staff and flexibility to move staff around departments as product knowledge is no longer needed.