Hessing BV is a large European specialist in the processing of fresh raw materials into pan-ready vegetables, processed fruit, fresh juices and full-plate salads. Thousands of kilos of fresh fruit and vegetables are inspected, cut, mixed, packaged and delivered within hours. A dynamic 24/7 process. Every week, fresh produce is trucked from the various European production sites to supermarkets, fast-food chains, wholesalers, catering companies and in-flight services. Hessing decided to go with the Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP package in order to fulfill the promise of ‘super fresh’ that it made to its customers. Together with its automation partner Schouw Informatisering, Hessing is working on a phased roll-out across numerous subsidiaries.
The first step along the way was the implementation of the WMS module (WAX), integrated in Microsoft Dynamics AX, at Hessing Helmond. This is the production site for all full-plate salads. According to ERP manager Jan Klein Swormink, Hessing Helmond was the ideal site to take the first steps with the new application: 'First of all, we wanted to gain some experience with Dynamics AX in a somewhat smaller, more manageable environment. We learned a lot about the application and are taking lessons learned to the roll-out in other subsidiaries. In addition, we faced a specific challenge in Helmond of increasing inventory control and accelerating the picking process. We wanted to do this with the AX WMS module.'
Hessing Helmond receives additional raw materials from third parties for salads such as croutons, sauce sachets, grated cheese and cheese cubes, shrimp, chicken and salmon slices that are stored in the Specialty warehouse. As Functional Controller Jan-Willem Steeman puts it: "We have approximately 240 kinds of additional specialties that have a much higher value than the vegetables and packaging material. Shrink - due to insufficient insight into shelf-life and site, daily stock-taking and the number of mistakes on the picking line thanks to difficult-to-print Excel sheets - had serious financial implications for this department. That's why we chose the Specialty warehouse as the first site to implement the AX WAX module. The Packaging warehouse was next in line, and then the Vegetables warehouse.”
“If you want to be more clever, then the appropriate software is indispensable, but even more important is the underlying logic and user-training,” according to Jan Klein Swormink. During the project, Hessing invested considerable energy in analysing and optimising picking processes with respect to production sequence. Jan Klein Swormink: In other words, improving the timely delivery of the correct raw materials from warehouse to the production site. Introduction of the WMS system totally changed the way the order pickers used to work. Electronically-driven order picking does not take warehouse exceptions or picking procedure deviations into account. The most challenging aspect in training our order pickers to operate the new WMS system was not so much showing them how to use the system, but in obliging them to follow the picking procedures.”
Hessing can look back with pleasure on its introduction to Microsoft Dynamics AX. They are now able to exercise much better control over the FEFO logic - 'first expired, first out' - thanks to increased reliability of the inventory. Jan-Willem Steeman: "We calculate the overall score of our stock reliability with the help of a number of parameters with a bandwidth of 10%. For example, we used to report a sachet score of 75%, and thanks to this project we were able to boost this percentage to over the 90. Stock shrink attributable to stock discrepancies and the corresponding number of inventory recounts has been significantly reduced.
In addition to the desired increase in control, Hessing was also able to achieve its efficiency objective. Jan-Willem Steeman explains how: "In the night shift we used to need almost every minute available to process a certain number of orders. We can now do the same work in half the time. Previously, we would deliver these orders in one big wave to the shipping department. Thanks to the new way of working and the WMS system, we have been able to raise the number of orders we could process from four waves to eight. For our production line, this is a much more manageable situation. This is of course highly beneficial for productivity."
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