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Success Stories - Greens of Soham


As a business handling fresh produce, Greens of Soham were looking for a system to provide them with 100% stock visibility and traceability throughout their operation. Greens already used Sage 200 financial software to manage their invoicing, so it was essential that any solution should integrate with this. Dexterity WMS went live at Greens in late 2015 and provides a complete stock management, traceability and order management solution, giving real-time visibility over the whole operation.


"Dexterity WMS is a really cost effective solution - especially considering the benefits it has given us. It is exactly what we needed and, more importantly, has delivered everything that Barcode-IT said it would." says Mike Higson, Commercial Manager at Greens of Soham.



About Greens of Soham

Greens of Soham are a part of Spearhead International Ltd, a privately owned company that farms across Europe. Greens combines large scale arable farming operations with the rotational gains of specialist vegetable cropping, and operates to high standards of wildlife conservation. Their specialist beetroot storage facility, based near Ely, Cambridgeshire, can hold up to 15,000 tons of product, as a mix of refrigerated and ambient capability. Visit their website to learn more - www.spearheadinternational.com



The Challenge

Before installing Dexterity WMS, managing stock was a completely manual exercise, using spreadsheets, paperwork and handwritten dockets for order weight recording and handwritten labels for boxes, bags and trays of product. This made day to day operations very difficult and time consuming when trying to locate stock and track batches and growers details.


Mike Higson, Commercial Manager at Greens of Soham, started to investigate systems that would streamline the entire process from field to despatch, automating stock management and traceability through barcode scanning. After looking at an industry specific solution and discounting it, Greens were recommended Dexterity WMS from Barcode-IT.


"We chose Dexterity WMS from Barcode-IT after a thorough project scoping exercise to ensure the proposed solution met our very specific operational business needs. It ticked all our project requirement boxes and came within budget, so it was a win win." explains Mike Higson



The Dexterity Solution

Dexterity WMS captures information on inbound produce, including details of the grower, field, product variety and dates. This means that Green's staff know exactly what bulk produce they have and where it is. The bulk produce is then issued to the Grading Plant, which grades the produce by size as each customer's order has varying size requirements.



Fixed position touch screen computers together with thermal printers are used in the Grading Hall to print barcoded labels for boxes, nets and trays. The labels contain all the relevant details for complete traceability, including grower, field, variety, weight and use by dates. Each box and net are given a unique batch number within Dexterity to maintain the traceability link between field and despatched produce. Dexterity has been configured to use customer specific label templates to cater for the different requirements of Green's customers in terms of layout and content, e.g. logos, country of origin, etc.





At the grading line, labels are produced, validated and applied to boxes, then scanned using wireless handheld scanning terminals, to record the data in Dexterity. The produce is then either putaway into chilled or ambient storage, moved to "washing, topping and bagging" for further processing, or allocated to bulk orders for immediate picking and despatch. The barcodes are scanned every time stock moves, which provides real-time information to management and staff on product history, location, batch numbers and weights.


With 100% visibility of stock, allocating specific batches to customer orders is simple and quick. Knowing the exact batch (down to the field it was harvested from) that each shipment is made up of is very important for traceability and customer service. If stock is not allocated based on age, or boxes of product are put away and forgotten, product may be wasted and orders cannot be fulfilled.


Once allocated, stock is picked using wireless terminals and a despatch note is created, recording which batches of product have been used to fulfil the order. This information is then passed back into Sage 200, so that the growers can be paid according to product weight and invoices are automatically generated.



The Benefits

Before the implementation of Dexterity, staff at Greens routinely came in early for shifts or stayed up to 2 hours a day longer, in order to ensure that stock counts were accurate and orders could be fulfilled and shipped. Stock takes would take up to 45 minutes each day before any product could be allocated to orders, and time was lost looking for batches of product when the location had not been accurately recorded.


"Dexterity WMS has removed the stress from day to day operations within the business. Staff no longer have to come in early or stay late to ensure stock levels are correct - Dexterity does it automatically! Operations are now completely under control and staff know exactly how much product we have and where it is, without having to guess." continues Mike Higson.


Allocation of stock is a much simpler process, as stock availability can be seen at a glance and is amended in real time, as orders are fulfilled and stock allocated. As much of the information to populate the product and despatch labels comes directly from Dexterity, errors from incorrectly input data have been eliminated.


For more information on how Dexterity WMS could provide a solution for your business, contact Jim Southern on 01200 441977 for details.


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