16 November 2018
Logistically well placed near Grantham, Lincolnshire, QK Coldstores (Marston) Ltd (QK) provide BRC certified storage and distribution solutions within the highly
competitive food industry. With a frozen storage capacity of over 28,000 pallet
locations they provide highly efficient blast freezing, defrosting, food
handling and ambient storage capabilities to meet customers’ unique
specifications and requirements.
Service and Flexibility
QK’s aim is to provide all their customers with a
comprehensive and efficient cold storage and distribution solution. With a
number of systems in place to support the supply chain requirements of their
end users, QK recognise the value technology adds to their operational
processes. Darrell Swain, Business Development Manager at QK comments,
“At QK we have over 120 trucks come through our operation every day, stock
turnaround is quick and we are often full to capacity which is really the key
driver in the automation of our warehouse and distribution processes”.
Using Empirica, the warehouse management software by Chess
Logistics Technology, QK integrated RF technology, designed to enable their end
users to access real time stock information from anywhere in the world. The
system had been in use for several years and QK were looking to upgrade the rugged
hardware element of the system, Darrell
continues, “support and reliability was the main factor in the decision to
upgrade our RF system. Maintaining reliable, efficient and real time operations
allows us to deliver the service and flexibility to our customers., We cannot
afford any downtime given the speed of turnaround required in our operation”.
Recommended by existing software
provider Chess, QK selected leading UK manufacturer TouchStar Technologies to
upgrade their existing RF. Following a period of in-house testing, QK selected
TouchStar’s in house manufactured TS8000 handheld and TS7000 truck mounted terminals.
Rugged and reliable, both devices fulfilled QK’s requirements for high speed
scanning and data capture throughout the full spectrum of warehouse operations.
Darrell adds, “TouchStar provided a
competitively priced and fully supported solution. Not only that, their track
record and the strength of their relationship with Chess really gave us
the confidence that we would be investing in a rugged solution that
dovetailed with our existing operations.”
The upgrade also required a full Wi-Fi site survey from which TouchStar made a number of
recommendations to improve connectivity and future proof the operation, Darrell
continues, “We worked closely with TouchStar and planned a staged rollout with
respect to the infrastructure upgrade. Not
only were we impressed with the smooth rollout, we have already been able to
easily extend coverage into two new areas within our operation”.
upgrade has delivered numerous advantages to QK. Successful integration with
Chess’s Empirica software enhances the functionality specified within the
automating a lot of the manual processes, the system has streamlined the end to
end supply chain operation. For goods in, EDI interactions with Chess’s
Empirica software means that QK can part receive goods before they arrive. The
integration of RF provides further validation for the receipt of goods,
confirmation of order and pick for dispatch. Upon dispatch, the system
automatically generates and communicates a unique booking reference for the
customer to provide additional validation upon collection. The dispatch is
validated by RF and the system will auto generate an advanced shipping note to
integration and data collection capability mean that QK have real time
visibility of their operation, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For their
customers, any number of reports can be generated or automated and emailed
within minutes, from customer stock to full traceability reports.
QK’s customers’ systems are also fully integrated with the real
time system, which means that QK have even better control over the entire
supply chain. In relation to product status changes, QK are able to isolate any
product in the food chain for further investigation and testing.
Darrell continues, “We also have access to detailed information on
things like pallet information, whereby the system controls product placement
by factors such as pallet weight and dimensions. Integrated with RF, this
provides details of the optimum place for product put away for maximum
Rugged and Reliable
The solution has provided high speed
data capture and fast efficient data communication but most importantly the
reliability that is fundamental to the running of QK’s operations. Darrell
concludes, “Having worked with TouchStar for over 10 years our relationship has
gone from strength to strength. In that time the support from TouchStar has
been exceptional and they have always been on hand to provide advice and
resource when required. We are delighted
with the TouchStar solutions we have in place, they just work, the hardware is
reliable and robust and it plays a fundamental part in the success of our operation”.