Sweet Success as Thorntons Rolls Out Supply Chain Solutions

Warehouse management, performance management solutions from Manhattan Associates help Thorntons cut costs and improve accuracy

Warehouse management, performance management solutions from Manhattan Associates help Thorntons cut costs and improve accuracy

London and Atlanta — November 10, 2005 — Thorntons, a manufacturer, retailer and distributor of high quality confectionery and sweet foods, said it is seeing a marked improvement in the speed and accuracy of order processing following the implementation of Manhattan Associates' Warehouse Management solution for Open Systems.

The solution has been deployed at Thorntons' 140,000-sq. ft., multi-temperature central storage facility and distribution point in Alfreton, Derbyshire, and is serving the company's 588 retail stores across the United Kingdom. Further cost savings of GBP100,000 are predicted from the use of Manhattan Associates' Performance Management solution.

Thorntons PLC has annual sales in excess of GBP180 million. With 40 percent of its annual business taking place in the 10 weeks prior to Christmas — and with the date and shelf-life issues associated with its products — fulfillment and accuracy are crucial to Thorntons.

When the company carried out a review of its IT infrastructure, it found that its warehouse management solution, along with other hardware and software systems, were becoming obsolete and could no longer support the business as it moved forward.

Rather than re-writing the existing software, the company made the decision to deploy a new warehouse management solution. Thorntons set a tight deadline to complete the implementation and go live.

Greg Garside, head of warehousing and distribution at Thorntons, explained the process: "We were three months away from having an outdated system, yet only six months later we had a fully supported Manhattan Associates Warehouse Management solution and were starting to see real benefits to the business. We were able to configure the Manhattan Associates solution very easily to plug in to our own requirements for date rotation. The other systems we looked at could not have managed this without manual intervention. The added bonus for us is that, as we get to know the system better, we are still seeing improvements in accuracy that we had not envisaged."

Thorntons processed its first order using the new warehouse management solution exactly on schedule. The solution runs on an HP-UX system and links directly into Thorntons' Oracle manufacturing system and the company's bespoke ordering system.

Thorntons has subsequently gone live with Manhattan Associates' Performance Management solution. This monitors both team and individual performances of the 200 operatives within the Alfreton distribution center and interfaces with the company's time and attendance system. Thorntons has set a target of GBP100,000 in cost savings from improved employee performance using this aspect of the Manhattan Associates solution.

Greg Garside commented: "Apart from the labor target, our other objectives with the implementation were to go live on time and under budget. We managed to do both and are seeing many additional benefits. We chose Manhattan Associates because they have the functionality we need today as well as the future-proofing necessary as the business moves forward and as we look to adopt new systems such as chip and voice technologies."

Steve Smith, vice president of EMEA at Manhattan Associates, stated: "Everyone on both sides of this project worked hard to ensure that the implementation process was completed smoothly and on time. This is a great example of how it's possible to ensure that both IT and business objectives are met and that benefits are experienced as quickly as possible. We look forward to developing our relationship with Thorntons as the company continues to grow."