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Supply Chain

Overhaul of Data Input Creates Efficiencies Across Entire Supply Chain

By utilizing the Gemini Series® mobile data collection solution, Welch’s improves its warehouse and inventory management operations. By TAKE Supply Chain



Headquartered in Concord, Massachusetts, Welch’s® is the processing and marketing subsidiary of the National Grape Cooperative Association whose Concord and Niagara grapes are harvested from vineyards across America and in select locations in Canada.

Since the inception of its “unfermented grape wine” in 1869, Welch’s today produces and markets grape juice and grape jelly plus more than 400 other fruit-based products such as juices, dried fruit, and frozen concentrates.

Welch’s is committed to research and development to meet the growing demand for products that address consumers’ health and wellness needs.

Challenge
Welch’s products have become a staple for consumers in more than 50 countries worldwide. But it hasn’t always been easy keeping up with evolving customer demand over the years. In 2006, Welch’s began to face an increasing number of supply chain challenges related to the management of highvolume incoming and outgoing perishable goods.

Their product lines were continually expanding. Lot tracking requirements were becoming increasingly rigorous. And the company’s production facilities were collecting more information on the flow of materials and inventory than ever before. They really needed a more effective and more accurate method for collecting and managing this data.

Ray Gosselin, Vice President of Information Systems and Chief Information Officer, Welch’s

“We are extremely pleased with the results achieved with Gemini in gaining significant data quality improvements.”Ray Gosselin,
Vice President of Information Systems and Chief Information Officer, Welch’s

Welch’s had already implemented Oracle® Process Manufacturing (OPM), but executives recognized that — in order to achieve lean, streamlined operations — additional measures were needed to accelerate transactional speeds from the order of raw materials through the shipment of the final product.

That meant improving production lot control and traceability, standardizing inventory procedures across all production and warehousing facilities, and automating the cumbersome, manual processes that were slowing things down on their plant floors — especially data intake and dispersal.

Welch’s knew that very few supply chain solutions would likely meet the company’s functionality requirements and, at the same time, integrate seamlessly with OPM on day one. Yet they knew that, in order to fully leverage their new enterprise system, they needed to find a best-in-class data collection solution that also had the capabilities to:

  • Improve inventory data integrity and accuracy;
  • Increase speed of reporting processes;
  • Reduce inventory, improving accurate on time deliveries;
  • Provide management with better visibility from order through delivery;
  • Streamline inventory and warehouse processes;
  • Enable data synchronization, as required by an increasing number of customers; and
  • Provide electronic capture of critical business data at time of creation.

TAKE’s Solution
After careful evaluation of all its options, Welch’s selected TAKE Supply Chain’s Gemini Series® software solution.

It was the only one that met Welch’s stringent performance and compatibility criteria, and the only solution proven to increase the speed, visibility, accuracy, and control of extended manufacturing and distribution supply chains — especially within the food and beverage industries. Plus, Gemini’s “out of the box” integration with OPM made it the perfect fit for Welch’s environment.

“It was essential that Welch’s new data collection system “go live” immediately in order to eliminate the exorbitant downtime levels they had begun to experience as a result of the data input errors and delays occurring with manual processes,” noted Gomathy Puliyadi, Product Manager at TAKE Supply Chain.

“We worked together for four months prior to implementation to prepare all systems for data transfer and ensure there would be minimal operational disruption during the transition. Fortunately, Gemini’s software structure allowed for a seamless integration with OPM, and the team’s execution strategy was flawless. Welch’s entire system was deployed in just three days.”

As a result, Welch’s employees now use a combination of Gemini-equipped forklift mount terminals, handheld computers, barcode scanners, and label printers — all of which were upgraded in 2015 by Welch’s and TAKE hardware partner AbeTech — to automatically and accurately record all data related to key operational transactions in real time, directly from the production shop floor.

Specifically, mobile devices such as the Honeywell Thor™ VM1 forklift terminal and Zebra® MC9200 handheld computer are used to notate and confirm the location of inbound materials, conduct receiving and outbound shipping actions, track inventory movements, maintain production control of batch operations, and complete quality control inspections.

Results
Welch’s has significantly improved its operational control, inventory accuracy, visibility, and order fulfillment since first automating its processes across three production warehousing locations in 2006. In fact, Gemini now controls all inventory data collection and management processes across Welch’s entire product line of juices, spreads, and fruit products.

The Gemini system also captures data across all plant functional areas — including receiving, processing, packaging, warehousing, maintenance, and quality — and syncs it with OPM and all other relevant workflow applications.

Ray Gosselin, Vice President of Information Systems and Chief Information Officer, Welch’s:

“We are extremely pleased with the results achieved with Gemini in gaining significant data quality improvements, which have led to better accuracy, timeliness, and visibility across our warehousing and distribution operations."

"As a result, Welch’s can currently trace lots and batches within 24 hours and maintains a >99 percent visibility rate, which has enhanced overall productivity and quality levels across their operations. Welch’s inventory accuracy rates consistently exceed 99 percent as well, which executives note has been critical to sustaining their high volume and velocity manufacturing environment."

Gosselin continued:

“Vital to our success, too, was the fact that TAKE worked with our teams to ensure seamless integration to Oracle, so we could immediately experience the benefits of the system and begin to fully leverage our OPM investment.”

But those aren’t the only successes that Welch’s credits to TAKE Supply Chain. The Gemini mobile data collection solution has enabled Welch’s to gain control over its product compliance operations—a significant feat considering ever-increasing food safety regulatory requirements. And the additional CLM solution has enabled Welch’s key suppliers to barcode all shipments.

The highly integrated warehouse operations system now automates the recording of key receiving transactions in addition to inventory  movements, transfers, and adjustments.

By capturing data immediately at the point of origin, TAKE’s Gemini and CLM solutions have instantly eliminated data delays and errors and improved inventory data quality and visibility across Welch’s entire high-speed supply chain.




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