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Case study: AB World Foods data capture

RF-based solution for updating Infor BPCS with inventory transactions

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Patak’s is a long-established premium brand, a market leader focussed on innovation and quality. From its incorporation in 1972, the business grew both organically and through acquisition whilst also developing a network of strategic international business partners. This continuing growth lead the company to move to a new purpose built factory in Leigh. Patak’s belongs to a stable of well-known food brands owned by AB World Foods including Blue Dragon for oriental cuisine; Levi Roots, including his famous Reggae Reggae sauce; and Tabasco, the hot pepper sauce.

AB World Foods’ Leigh site relied heavily on paper-based systems for the tracking of raw materials from receipt, through putaway, to consumption on the shop floor. These systems were time consuming and prone to error. The line-of-business system, Infor BPCS, was not being updated with data in a timely or accurate fashion. In addition, ABWF had invested in barcode technology to track the loading of finished goods onto wagons for distribution; that solution, based on batch devices, was coming to the end of its life as the equipment was becoming increasingly unreliable and difficult to maintain.

Proximity Enterprise Solutions designed, developed and delivered a solution that provided real-time transactions via RF for receiving goods, putaway, stock movements and picking for production. Proximity Enterprise Solutions also replaced the aging batch-based, finished goods despatch system, advising ABWF on the selection of appropriate hardware and RF infrastructure to deliver a robust, scalable solution. ABWF chose the Workabout Pro Handheld Barcode Scanning device from Psion Teklogix as the most appropriate and cost-effective scanning device to meet its needs.

The project was a success, delivered on time and to budget and has delivered tangible benefits to ABWF. Since going live, the system has been particularly stable and robust with little or no need for support from either Proximity Enterprise Solutions or Psion Teklogix.

‘We have made a significant step forward with the new system - our ERP raw material and finished goods inventory data is now updated in real time, which is of major benefit to our planning systems, and we have reduced costs and improved data accuracy by eliminating paper based methods.’

Andrew Downie, Head of Manufacturing, ABWF

Business drivers:

  • Continuing process improvement
  • Business efficiencies, particularly reducing cost of data capture
  • Improved data quality by reducing data errors
  • Implementation of best practice for material tracking.

Solution benefits:

  • RF based solution with the ability to update Infor BPCS with a comprehensive range of inventory transactions from the Leigh site in real-time
  • A substantial reduction on the volume of hard copy paperwork and manually-input transactions previously required to update Infor BPCS
  • Reduction in the volume of data errors associated with manual input eliminating the effort required to resolve them
  • Replacement of the existing, ageing solution used only in goods despatch, which was limited in capability, unreliable and error-prone and which was proving increasingly difficult both to operate and to support
  • Replacement of the existing data capture devices, which were at the end of life and proving increasingly difficult to maintain
  • A scalable, supportable solution, integrated with Infor BPCS.