Walkers Snack Food Moving Closer to Its Customers

Frito-Lay subsidiary upgrades supply chain suite in bid to accommodate clients, improve information availability within service organization

Frito-Lay subsidiary upgrades supply chain suite in bid to accommodate clients, improve information availability within service organization

London — May 4, 2004 — The United Kingdom's top snack food company has deployed an upgraded version of its supply chain suite in a bid to move closer to its customers with best practices for accommodating their diverse needs and improving information availability within its customer service operations.

A division of PepsiCo UK, Walkers Snack Foods, produces some 2 billion packets of its flagship potato chips, or "crisps," a year and sells its products in more than 400,000 retail outlets throughout the island kingdom. The company operates the largest potato chip manufacturing facility in the world, in Leicester.

Walkers has upgraded its suite of supply chain applications from Atlanta-based Industri-Matematik International, including the solution provider's Order, Warehouse and Collaboration software.

"Maintaining our market leadership requires that we remain flexible to changing customer needs, and the IMI solution provided us with a best-of-breed solution out-of-the-box to ensure we could respond quickly to consumer changes," said Jason Richards, customer development director at Walkers.

"By offering us an integrated order fulfillment solution, IMI has enabled Walkers to implement its software in a phased approach while gaining immediate benefits from consolidated operations, improved information management and maximized visibility into our supply chain operations," Richards continued.

Before implementing IMI's Order application, Walkers' order process was split across a number of legacy applications, leading to duplication, manual activity and the potential for errors. IMI said that Order enables Walkers to automate customer requirements, orders and changes, and to consistently deliver complete orders to their customers.

In addition, by reducing manual routines, Walkers identified it would save a significant number of paper reports, ultimately leading to an improvement in the order management process. Automation of orders also is expected to help the company increase invoice accuracy and maximize customer relationships.

Elsewhere, IMI said that its Collaboration application has provided Walkers with trading partner management capabilities, helping the company to streamline customer proof of delivery (POD) handling and improving the overall invoicing process. Walkers also has the potential to increase order visibility using advance ship notices (ASN).

Finally, using IMI's Warehouse, Walkers implemented the radio frequency (RF) capabilities in the solution for real-time picking tasks. Since implementing the new version of Warehouse in January, Walkers has expedited the handling of inbound goods and loading of vehicles, and has seen an improvement in case picking through better location management, according to IMI. The implementation focused on a more accurate reflection of the warehouse locations by taking into account the tube-racking layout, ultimately leading to an increase in pallet movements, IMI said.

The upgrade to the new version of the IMI suite is part of the larger "Darwin Project" at Walkers, a three-year, phased initiative to reengineer its supply chain operations. Walkers' goal with this effort is to rationalize its in-house systems to reduce maintenance costs and improve and streamline processes.

The project has enabled the company to build the infrastructure and support required for the long-term, while also allowing Walkers to achieve short-term business benefits. Because of the constantly changing nature of the snack industry, Walkers determined it needed software focused on its business to minimize ongoing customization. By implementing standard, unmodified versions of software and changing its own business processes according to the solution, Walkers is seeking to ensure that it can respond quickly to changes in consumer preference, IMI said. As part of this strategy, Walkers is implementing and upgrading the IMI solutions progressively.