Arla Foods UK reduces delivery timeframe for new warehouse management systems

By Dale Benton
Arla Foods UK, the farmer-owned dairy company, has used the SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) blueprint and template developed byRocket Consulting...

Arla Foods UK, the farmer-owned dairy company, has used the SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) blueprint and template developed by Rocket Consulting for its distribution centre in Hatfield in 2013 to rapidly roll out two new SAP EWM systems for the dairy food company.  

Adopting a template approach enabled Arla’s distribution centres in Leeds and Bristol to benefit from proven systems that could be reproduced within a short timeframe and at minimum cost to deliver significant return on investment.

Benefits include transportation cost reductions, achieved through smarter stock consolidation processes and accommodating deliveries for multiple suppliers on a single pallet. At the Bristol operation, workforce efficiency and management has improved through improved labour and task allocation across ambient and chilled processes.

The project is part of Rocket’s ongoing work as a strategic SAP partner, which saw it drive the implementation of EWM technology at Arla’s ‘dairy of the future’ in Aylesbury and a distribution centre in Hatfield.

“The Aylesbury implementation saw Rocket Consulting work with Arla to roll out the latest technology while also helping us to futureproof our business by developing a roadmap for further upgrades that enables faster delivery and reduces risk,” explains Colin Fearon, senior solution consultant for warehouse and distribution at Arla.  “Key to the project’s success has been Rocket’s focus on sharing its technical knowledge and empowering our people so that we are not over-reliant on continual consultancy.”

The successful operation in Hatfield was also used to demonstrate the new distribution centre technology working in practise.  This enabled ‘process champions’ at the Bristol and Leeds depots to see the benefits first hand and communicate these to their teams, further smoothing the roll-out.

The new Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) enabled by SAP’s EWM technology improve the efficiency of the distribution centres in Bristol and Leeds due to better handling and increased visibility and traceability of inventory processed and stored.  Hand-held mobile devices, redeployed from the previous system, ensure the workforce is mobile, connected and working in real-time and enable high operational accuracy and productivity, from stock receipt right through to pick-pack, load and despatch for a wide range of Arla’s retail customers.

Lewis Marston, CEO at Rocket Consulting, comments: “Our initial work with Arla ensured that it derived maximum benefits from state-of-the art technology, which enabled it to be a pioneer within its industry.  At the same time, we laid the groundwork for Arla to underpin its business with continual innovation and further implementations that could be deployed quickly at a lower cost.”


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