Appleby Westward Group

Appleby Westward Group (AWG) is one of the UK’s top 20 delivered grocery wholesalers. Part of the BWG Food Group and SPAR food distributor for the South and West of England, AWG services 300 SPAR stores across the region as well as exporting to NAAFI stores around the world. 

The Challenge
Computerised for years, AWG used RF scanning technology for Goods Receiving, put-away and replenishment, but still picked orders using manual pick-by-label. However, this was subject to human inaccuracy. AWG was keen to improve warehouse picking accuracy, provide a better service to customers and reduce the substantial costs associated with incorrect deliveries.

The Solution
Witnessing the success of Voice technology at fellow SPAR distributors, James Hall and C J Lang, AWG decided to invest in the same Accord Voice Warehouse Management System (WMS). Their investment encompassed the complete Accord Voice Directed Picking solution, including software and hardware. We worked closely with AWG to install the system in phases in order to build up in-house experience and minimise disruption.

The Results
Within six months, picking at their Saltash distribution centre was completely converted to Voice. Although initially sceptical, all the pickers have adapted to Voice Picking quickly, finding it simple to learn and adopt. Picking accuracy has improved significantly with error claims reducing by over 97%!

Philip Brewer, AWG Operations and IT Director said “This alone represents a saving of £2000 per week in additional sales and customer stores are benefiting from the greater accuracy with the right products in the right place at the right time.”

Since the initial investment, AWG has introduced Directed Replenishment of the pick face. Stock levels at the pick face are monitored in real-time so fork lift truck drivers can be directed to replenish items. Warehouse service levels are now 98.33%, an improvement on the manual ‘flag’ system.

Philip Brewer concluded “Improvements have certainly exceeded expectations. We’re delighted with the accuracy improvements and the capital this is releasing will contribute significantly to a rapid payback on the project.”