As part of a major reorganisation of its facilities to optimise customer service and operational efficiencies in a changing marketplace, Musgrave Wholesale Partners (MWP), supported by IT partner BCP, has successfully completed a centralisation project which sees all delivered orders managed via the Accord IT system, fulfilled from two key depots and the foundations laid for successful multi-channel fulfilment.

Prior to the Centralisation project delivered services primarily operated out of warehouses in Ballymun, Robinhood, Tallaght, and Cork with supporting delivery services from an additional four depots in Galway, Limerick, Waterford, and Sallynoggin. The food service focused warehouses at Ballymun and Tallaght were previously the only warehouses using voice technologies, with all other depots still paper-based. The new centralised distribution model has all customers serviced using the same distribution network utilising system driven processes, including voice picking, to ensure best-in-class service to all our customers in retail and food services.Blanchardstown Dis for Barry

The project was initiated to improve customer service and increase operational efficiencies by centralising all delivered operations at two key depots, freeing up other depots to focus on cash & carry customers. Barry Minnock, IT Director, MWP: “It was clear that by centralising our delivered operations we would be able to offer our delivered customers a much wider product range than was possible when they were serviced from individual cash & carries and that in parallel it would increase consistency and accuracy of service using the benefits of voice technology and system-driven processes. Centralisation also enables our business to drive efficiencies by leveraging economies of scale to maximise utilisation of our supply chain network.”

While the Accord system could handle the new centralised operating model, migrating to it required detailed planning to manage the complex movement of physical stock and the system data associated with goods, customers, accounts, etc. IT partner BCP was involved from the outset to help develop the most effective transition procedures. Various alternatives were discussed, but ultimately, the two depots designated as dedicated Delivered facilities were Tallaght (acquired as part of the Allied Foods takeover) and Blanchardstown (formerly an MRP depot) – both on the outskirts of Dublin. The former to be a frozen facility and the latter to stock ambient and chilled lines and to operate as the Central Distribution Centre, consolidating orders from both depots ready for dispatch and invoicing.

A 12 month phased migration to the new model was planned to ensure service to customers was not disrupted, BCP working closely with Musgrave throughout, developing interim programmes where necessary to ensure customer orders could always be fulfilled even when the stock from their current supplying depot was being relocated to the new depots and their data to the central Accord server at the Ballymun Head Office.

The first phase involved the movement of Accord Voice systems to the two new depots and the migration of stock from existing foodservice depots, together with stock information and customer data, sales ledger accounts, call schedules, routes etc.

Then followed a phased migration of stock and data, depot by depot, from the cash & carries to the centralised operation.

The project completed successfully in January 2016. All delivered orders are now processed through the central Accord system at Ballymun. Chilled and ambient orders go directly to the CDC; frozen orders go to the frozen depot for picking separately and are then trucked to the CDC for consolidated invoicing and onward distribution.

Delivered customers now have a choice of over 10,000 SKUs, more than double the previous range, and Telesales operations are centralised at Head Office, utilising Accord’s powerful telesales system to effectively manage telesales schedules. All orders – online and Telesales – are handled by Voice throughout the warehouse, ensuring accuracy and productivity are optimised.

A new Just in Time Multi-order Voice Picking process facilitates efficient batching and picking of multiple orders by route, enabling optimum stock collection per trip around the pick walk. Large store orders can be easily handled alongside smaller Foodservice orders, seen as a positive step towards the fulfilment requirements of a multi-channel supply chain.

Peter Slevin, Head of IT Strategic Projects, MWP: “BCP worked closely with us to ensure the success of the project and I feel we now have the foundations necessary for operating successfully and delivering first-class customer service focussed on an omnichannel marketplace”