C J Lang & Son

Founded in Dundee in 1919, C J Lang & Son is Scotland’s largest independent retailing and distribution company. The company services over 45% of Scotland’s independent market, including all of Scotland’s SPAR stores and its own chain of 82 C J Lang stores, NAAFI and VG stores. All are serviced from a modern, dedicated Retail Distribution Centre in Dundee. In addition, the company’s ‘Martex’ Cash & Carry depots service 7,500 customers a week as well as providing a delivered Food Service operation to hotels, pubs, restaurants, leisure outlets, industrial, healthcare and education catering establishments throughout Scotland.

The Challenge
C J Lang’s Retail Distribution Centre operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and stocks 6500 lines of ambient, frozen and chilled goods across its three warehouses. In order to retain its position as Scotland’s premier wholesaler, C J Lang recognised that its paper-based warehouse operations were becoming outdated and no longer offered the flexibility needed to meet the company’s requirements for the growth. They required a comprehensive solution that would be capable of covering the complete range of warehouse activities, including; goods receiving, forklift truck movements, order picking, pick face replenishments and perpetual inventory management.

The Solution
C J Lang decided on our Accord Voice Warehouse Management System (WMS) to control all aspects of warehouse operation at the distribution centre in Dundee. Following comprehensive design and development, the system was implemented during various phases which was crucial to C J Lang to ensure customers did not suffer during implementation. Throughout the whole process, we worked closely with the team at C J Lang to fine-tune the voice functionality and ensure the system matched their needs precisely.

The Results
Utilising Voice WMS has transformed C J Lang’s retail distribution centre and the company has experienced significant benefits in all areas of its warehouse operations, including improved accuracy, productivity, profitability and customer service. The feedback from staff has also been extremely positive, with everyone finding it easy to learn and deploy.

As anticipated, the biggest benefit for C J Lang has been the improved picking accuracy. Since implementing Voice, picking errors have been virtually eradicated and C J Lang has been able to achieve accuracy levels of 99.99%. The hands-free, eyes-free operation has improved workers’ concentration on their tasks and also their productivity, as they no longer have to stop what they are doing to collect new assignments from the office. Improvements to productivity have also resulted from the reduction in re-picking and less time being spent investigating stock discrepancies, thanks to a more efficient stock-checking process. 

The stationery and administration savings from the Voice WMS have also been significant. The use of paper lists and labels have been eliminated, along with associated administrative tasks such as printing and distributing picking documents, the re-keying of picking confirmation and order adjustments for out of stocks. The result has been a reduction of 5 man-days’ effort per week in Warehouse Management Administration, allowing the company to re-deploy administrative staff to more productive areas of the business.

Finally, safety in the warehouse has been improved. Eliminating paper has meant a cleaner, tidier and safer warehouse; as workers are now operating hands-free, eyes-free, they have a much better awareness of their environment, which leads to fewer accidents.

Graham Murdoch said “Voice technology is now integral to how we manage our warehouse. It has led to dramatic improvements, not just to our productivity, but to the overall service we offer to our customers.”