Gordon & MacPhail

Whisky specialist and wine and spirits merchant, Gordon & MacPhail, has claimed that since the implementation of our Accord Voice WMS at their warehouse in Elgin, Scotland, they have seen improvements across their whole operation, including productivity increases of 50%. The company is one of the UK’s leading independent specialist wholesalers and distributors, stocking over 4,500 products, including an extensive portfolio of wines, spirits and UK specialist beers and ciders.

The Challenge
The company was using a paper-based system in the warehouse and looking to modernise, improve efficiency and visibility and to have the capacity to effectively handle future growth of the business. Heading up the project was Neil Urquhart, Director of Logistics & Facilities, who explained: “The main driver for bringing in a Voice system for our business was looking at service excellence within our wholesaling operation.”

The requirements at Gordon & MacPhail were complex as the wholesale operation supplies a range of different products to a range of different customers across the UK.  This could be one bottle of wine to a pub on a high street development, a pallet of one product to a national distribution centre, or a pallet of 250 different items, cases and bottles, to a specialist wine & spirit wholesaler.

The Solution
The company undertook an intensive selection process but choose our Accord Voice WMS system because of its flexibility and functionality. They were won over by its ability to provide integrated warehouse management with Voice functionality. Neil Urquhart said “Accord WMS software was a big plus for us, but we also considered BCP as a company.  Was this a company we wanted to deal with?  Was the culture right?  Did they understand us?  Did we understand them?  Could we forge a good working relationship?  And obviously the answer to all those questions was ‘yes’.”

The Results
Following implementation, Neil Urquhart said “we needed a system that had the flexibility and functionality to accommodate our complex offering. and Accord has proven well up to the job. Having the new functionality and visibility gives us the efficiency we need to deliver exceptional quality of service.”

One of the main benefits realised from the implementation of Accord Voice has been increased productivity – a 50% increase in the number of cases picked per person and a 43% increase in the number of lines per person – which Urquhart says, “has been really significant.”

Picking accuracy was already good, but this has improved further so now there is only the occasional inaccuracy. As Urquhart, explains, “with the Accord system we now have full visibility of exactly when there’s an order picked and who picked it so if we do have picking errors occurring we can quickly identify exactly why they happened and go back, retrain and minimise that happening in the future.”

The Accord Voice system has also allowed Gordon & MacPhail to streamline operations across the whole warehouse.  The previous paper-based picking system had been in place for quite some time and quite a few exceptions and specific workarounds had been introduced for handling particular orders.  Urquhart explains: “The new Voice system made us actually challenge all of those exceptions, their relevancy and validity. The structure that comes with the Accord Voice system helped us streamline our processes, work more effectively and ultimately deliver a better service.”

The system has also allowed simplification and streamlining of administration behind the scenes and reporting on all the orders that have left the business so that Invoicing can be done promptly to improve cash flow.  Savings on paper costs alone are running at £2,000 a year.

Staff have really bought into the system and user acceptance is very high, illustrated recently when the company asked the acid test question ‘if the Voice system was switched off would you like to go back to paper?’  The answer was a categoric ‘No’.

Urquhart sums up, “Accord Voice WMS was a significant investment for us as a business, but we were wanting to embrace technology in order to deliver excellent service. The system is definitely meeting our expectations and delivering that platform for the future.”