Huuskes Versproducten has improved accuracy by 60 per cent and cut personnel costs by 20 per cent after installing an order fulfilment system by Vanderlande Industries.
The company manufactures and delivers convenience meals and processes ingredients to prepare meals from its hub in Enschede in the Netherlands, supplying hospitals, nursing homes, company restaurants and governmental organisations throughout the country.
Huuskes had previously operated a manual warehouse where totes coming from the production areas were placed on roll cages. Roll cages were then picked by forklift truck, which caused a lot of truck movement, especially at peak times.
Order fulfilment was chaotic and time consuming and it was difficult for staff to check if orders were complete and correct.
Following a period of growth and in a bid to improve customer service, Huuskes selected Vanderlande to design and build a new order fulfilment system in its expedition hall.
The new system features seven production areas which are situated on either side of the hall and connect with conveyor lanes, which transport totes. Totes are placed on a centrally located sorter lane manually where they are sorted according to their destination. There are eight outfeeds for same-day delivery and four for non same-day delivery.
Operators apply barcodes to the totes before they are put on the system and a flexible control system enables Huuskes to ensure that the orders which need to be delivered the same day are sorted to the right destination. It also enables Huuskes to work in advance for the days of the week to come.
After sortation, the totes are placed manually on a cart and brought to the transport area to be loaded onto the vehicles.
Marco Hagmolen, production manager at Huuskes, says: “This new order fulfilment process has lowered our personnel costs by nearly 20 per cent in expedition as well as in other departments. We have also been able to improve accuracy by 60 per cent.
“Overall, this new way of working has lowered our costs and improved customer service significantly.”