Essential Supply Products Ltd (ESP) is one of the leading independent manufacturers and converters of disposable tissue products in the UK. Based in Malvern, Worcestershire the company was formed in 1990. ESP supply products to wholesale distributors serving the Away from Home (non-consumer) market in the janitorial, hotel, restaurant, facilities management, catering, industrial and healthcare sectors.
A stocktake is conducted once at the end of every month. It aims to produce an accurate snapshot account of the stock at ESP’s different warehouses. However, the process is manually intensive, taking several operatives, as well as some management staff, away from their duties from several hours to a full day.
The client approached the NTAILS project to discuss whether Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) technologies could provide improvements in the stocktaking process as well as providing business and financial benefits for the company.
Successful implementation of these technologies could reduce man-hours required, and improve the efficiency of our stocktakes. This could also positively impact our picking and despatch process, removing the requirement for double-checking.
The project team invited the client to the NTAILS centre to demonstrate how paper based products, similar to the ones produced by the client, could be tracked using either RFID technology or different barcode types. They also showed how this information could be managed using Information Technology and Databases to provide greater visibility of the items of interest.
Working with the client, the NTAILS team produced a business assist report to document the different technologies that are available to help the company with its stocktake problem. The report included advice on how and where the technologies could be used within ESP’s warehousing operations.
Isla Buchanan, Projects Manager at ESP, used the information in the NTAILS assist report together with her experience at the Demonstration Centre as the basis of an Improvement project. Her first step was to investigate how “Data Matrix” technology could be applied to all the “cases of goods” moving through the warehouses. Isla’s aim is to produce a thorough cost/benefits analysis and then to start work on an implementation plan.
About the Consultant:
Rajiv Dhanjal is an information technology consultant at IT Futures. He has more than twenty five years’ experience in utilising ICT within industry and the SME community. Rajiv currently works on the NTAILS project providing technical advice, guidance and support.
IT Futures is based at the University of Wolverhampton and brings together the expertise of the University's School of Technology to businesses across the West Midlands Region.