Anne Bruce
Scotland's Mace wholesaler Aberness is cracking down on supplier inefficiency after improving its IT systems.
Head of buying John McCloud said the technology had registered 50,000 short deliveries to its Aberdeen depot in the last six months.
He said: "The quality of information we get from major blue chip suppliers in advance of delivery is absolutely appalling.
"Barcodes, pallet and layer size on new orders are incorrect 40% of the time."
Aberness is now getting in touch with its suppliers immediately goods arrive at the back door if there are any mistakes in an order. McCloud said: "Our new systems are pushing major UK suppliers in terms of the information we require from them. They know we check orders when the lorries arrive, that means they won't mess us about."
Aberness invested £600,000 in installing Voiteq Talkman technology in May 2002, an investment which will pay for itself in under two years, said Aberness operations director Graeme Hay. He said stockholding had been reduced by 20% and weekly sales broke £1m for the first time last week because of improved availability.
"Voiteq gives us full business control, we can home in on problems quickly," he added.
The software includes voice directed picking in Aberness' 55,000 sq ft warehouse. Picking rates have speeded up from between 90 and 140 picks an hour to an average of 160 with peaks of 220-plus. Mispicks have virtually been eliminated.
Hay said Aberness had been able to shed seven staff through natural wastage, and reduce warehouse opening hours.

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