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Advanced Intralogistics System From CSB-System Speeds Up Food Factory Order And Picking Process
An advanced intralogistics system devised by CSB-System International for leading Swiss cheese producer Züger Frischkäse AG in Oberbüren has automated the company’s stock control process while delivering a 50% time saving in picking speeds.
Züger Frischkäse produces a range of cheeses including mozzarella, feta, ricotta and mascarpone. The company’s production is already characterised by a high degree of automation and fully integrated information technology, and CSB-System was asked to modernise its intralogistics to provide seamless link to the picking and replenishment processes.
The CSB-System solution combines high bay storage with mobile picking. Every pallet in the high bay storage is linked to the system with its minimum sell-by date and lot number. This ensures that bays are filled according to the first-in, first-out principle.
In addition, the system provides an extra degree of control using master data from the ERP software. For example, the pallet height and the maximum weight can be checked. The master data can also specify whether the item first needs to be forwarded to a quick freezing position, and in which segment of the warehouse and at what height it is stored.
The inventory management computer communicates with the CSB-System via defined interfaces to handle the automatic removal of pallets for replenishment during the picking process.
Picking itself is paperless, using wireless technology to directly transmit to touch panels on the electric forklifts. The screen shows in which area of the picking zone the pallet with the required product can be found.
Using Bluetooth scanners, the pallet label is scanned, the corresponding number of items removed, and the pick quantity confirmed. If a pallet is emptied, a new one is requisitioned automatically from the high bay storage, ensuring ongoing replenishment in the packing zone and that customer orders can be processed very quickly and efficiently.
Overall Züger reports a 50% saving compared to its previous operation while the error rate has been minimised.
“We have elevated this area to a completely new level,” comments deputy CEO Markus Züger. “Today we are in a position to respond quickly and flexibly to customer demands.”
Oakland Cold Pallet Storage Gets Green Light For Expansion
Planning permission has been secured by Oakland International to increase their existing cold pallet storage facility at Redditch via a £1.2m investment which will extend their existing frozen food storage capacity by 2,000 pallets and construct a 26 pallet blast freezer by September 2014.
Oakland International MD, Dean Attwell, stated: “Our expansion plans are substantial considering the current size of our frozen business. We have a clear focus to deliver strong organic growth with our existing clients and really focus on our customer service while keeping close to our retailers. The demand for increased capacity has been driven by our focus on providing additional tempering contracts and the rapid growth of our retail platform models.
“In addition to expanding our cold store we have now put in a planning application for a new 60,0000 sq. ft. of extra ambient and chilled storage with construction planned to take place during 2015, creating between 60 and 90 more jobs over the next 18 months to support our retail, discount and convenience sector activity.”
Working with around 200 suppliers to deliver product into the multiples, discount and convenience sectors, Oakland added a further 15,000 sq. ft. of chilled space to handle the Christmas rush and first quarter activity of 2014. Alongside this they also invested heavily in co-packing lines, adding five more packing lines to support their Christmas party food tempering and coding operation; a total investment of £200K.
“The growth of our business throughout the economic downturn was a deliberate risk strategy intended to support our customers by extending service offer through increased destinations, whilst driving efficiency through critical mass, enabling Oakland to hold our prices. Alongside this we have also been undertaking significant investment in energy efficient chillers, LED lighting and solar PV panels, with over 300kva solar power generation now in operation on our roof in an engaged drive to retain control of energy costs.” added Dean. “The new cold store will feature the most energy efficient construction materials, lighting and equipment and will add a further 350kw of solar capacity through roof-mounted solar panels.”
Oakland’s latest development follows a £2.6m investment made over the last two years to increase their ambient and chilled capacity by an additional 50,000 sq. ft. and in the last three years the company’s workforce from 110 people to their current level of over 210 people in the UK and Ireland.
NFT Valued At £60m As Private Equity Snaps Up Tasty Business
NFT Distribution Operations Limited, the UK market leader in chilled food distribution, has announced that the business has completed a deal with new private equity investor EmergeVest, valuing the company at over £60 million. The transaction includes integrated debt funding of up to GBP 42 million provided by Investec Growth & Acquisition Finance.
EmergeVest has acquired the entire shareholding of NFT’s original private equity backer, Phoenix Equity Partners, and alongside Investec is injecting additional capital to further grow the business in the UK and overseas. The current management team at NFT will remain with the business and maintain a significant shareholding in the company.
NFT is the vital supply-chain link between chilled food and drink manufacturers and the retailers. The distribution of products has to be expertly managed under strict temperature-controlled conditions and to very short timelines from the point of production to the supermarket shelf.
Since the MBO from Northern Foods in 2006, the business has seen sales increase 49 per cent, from GBP 114 million to GBP 170 million in the latest year to March 2014. The company runs seven strategically located sites at which it employs 2,000 full-time staff.
Commenting on today’s news David Frankish, CEO of NFT, said: “We have been diligent in our search for a new investment partner and are really pleased to be working with EmergeVest who have exhibited a great understanding of our market and a passion to help NFT fulfil its potential. They are keen to back management’s plans for growth based on innovation and continuous improvement to our service offering delivered by a highly skilled workforce and leading edge systems. With the additional financial backing of Investec, I am confident this deal is great news for our customers, employees and the wider logistics environment.”
Heath Zarin, Managing Director of EmergeVest, added: “We are delighted to establish this relationship with NFT, the UK market leader in chilled food logistics services. We believe the company is well positioned to expand its service offering within the UK and to enter new overseas markets. We have been very impressed by management’s ability to execute and their plans for developing the business further. We are also pleased that Investec participated in the transaction and will provide ongoing support to NFT through an innovative and flexible financing package. Overall, we are very excited about NFT’s growth prospects and ability to provide an ever-expanding suite of leading edge services.”
Richard Daw, Partner at Phoenix Equity Partners commented: “By investing substantial growth capital and by working hard alongside NFT’s excellent management team, we have together succeeded in establishing NFT in its market-leading position. We wish David Frankish and the management team every success in the next phase of the company’s development under their new ownership.”
Paul Rablen of Investec said: “We are partnering with a first class management team in a compelling business. We look forward to providing ongoing funding to underpin the next chapter of NFT’s growth under EmergeVest’s ownership.”