Steve Koduah, Warehouse and Distribution Manager at Cerebos Australia in Seven Hills, speaks about the operations and how CHEP has helped create efficiencies within their supply chain. Mr Koduah says, “I’ve always had a relationship with CHEP. So, when the business was looking at automating some components of our operation, we engaged CHEP.
“We gave CHEP the scope of what we were looking for, with the core objective to find a partner that would add value and provide us with a solution that would eliminate a lot of the labour, manual handling and double handling that we were doing in terms of getting our products from manufacturing, into our warehouse and through our distribution network.
“My focus is always on improvements. It’s about safety, cost, service and building a great team. So, anyone that we partner with has to be able to believe in those things. We’re looking for partners that are creative and think outside the square. They come with solutions, ideas, and you know that we share the benefits of a win-win situation, not a one way street.
Being a consumer goods business, Cerebos have various peak times. During the winter, the gravy business becomes the focal point of their supply chain and as it gets closer to Christmas, this changes to sauces, which continues throughout the summer period. Mr Koduah said, “We rely on our sales forecast, trends and historical data to figure out where the peaks and troughs are going to be and we plan accordingly to manage the flow through our supply chain.”
The opportunity was to unlock supply chain efficiencies and deliver solutions that reduce their environmental impact, costs and damages.
The warehouse site at Seven Hills has a capacity of around 9,000 timber pallets, in addition to other CHEP platforms onsite, including plastic pallets, foldable bins, and a number of CHEPStretch solutions within their operations.
Mr Koduah added, “Previously, we had about three or four forklift drivers in the factory that would actually run the pallets into the warehouse, and then the warehouse would manually generate labels, and manually receipt pallets into the system before being put away.
“In the past, due to wrapping manually, we’d have to tag and remove the “dags”. Dags are excess film that hangs off the pallet and are prone to getting caught on our automated conveyor systems. Removing these is a requirement for the major retailers. By addressing this, it has contributed to improvements in our DIFOT rating (Delivery In Full and On Time).”
The solution to this was to partner with an expert who has both the know-how and platform reliability to automate, improve processes, take costs out of the supply chain and unlock efficiencies. The result was the introduction of the CHEP fully automated CHEPStretch system, which integrates with Cerebos’ Warehouse Management System to contain their goods throughout the supply chain.
One of the benefits that the business continues to realise from implementing the CHEPStretch wrapping system is significant productivity gains. Previously, loads were being manually scanned; current integration with labelling equipment and the CHEPStretch system has brought additional efficiencies. Mr Koduah said, “Now, we can fully load the conveyor with 40 pallets without impacting production and, within a matter of a few minutes, our products are live in our system.
“Significantly, the CHEPStretch system has brought financial benefits to the business because it is a fully maintained agreement. Given that there was no capital outlay required to secure the equipment, made it financially attractive to our business to get the most advanced sophisticated unit available with a wrapping solution based on a volume use per month basis.
The CHEPStretch system enables Cerebos to have a faster turnaround of their products from manufacturing into distribution. As soon as the product is made it comes through on the conveyor, stretch wrapped, and is receipted into the system. Mr Koduah added, “The wrapping system allows us to wrap our pallets more efficiently, safely and complies with delivery requirement into our major customers.
“The speed of our put-away process subsequently enables the warehouse team to pick the stock quicker than what they were previously able to do. This adds substantial value to the distribution process and speed to market. This helps ensure our products are always on the shelf, and helps build consumer confidence in our brands. Most importantly we have strengthened our relationship with Retailers and Distributors.
“Safety is an integral part of the business, and has improved since implementing CHEPStretch, as our workers are not required to lift and they don’t have to move around as much as they used to do in the past.
“Sustainability is part of our corporate strategy and one of our pillars of growth. We consistently work to improve our environmental footprint. We have an excellent waste management system onsite and, coupled with that, our automatic wrapping solution enables us to use less film but still maintain the integrity of our product, which obviously helps the environment.”
With improved and optimised supply chain performance we have opened new doors with customers and this will lead to exciting opportunities, which may not have been available to us if our past performance had continued.
Also, by delivering products in full, on time and to specification, we generate many supply chain efficiencies and savings for both Cerebos and customers.
“One of the capabilities of the system is that it gives us the ability to set different profiles for the different packaging types that we have at Cerebos, to reduce our impact on the environment. Together, we’re looking at where we can reduce the microns of the film while at the same time maintain the integrity of our products and the containment of our loads. In the last 12 months alone, we’ve managed to improve our film rate to reduce the amount of film that we use.
“Another significant benefit that we foresee is the system’s capability to handle our future growth. We continue to look for opportunities where we can make business better, where we look for value for the community, and we can do better things for the environment. We’re very excited about where the business is heading.
“The future looks great here at Cerebos, we’re working on a lot of great projects behind the scenes with our management teams; both within our logistics and our senior teams, and also in collaboration with our partners. One of them being CHEP.
“The partnership between CHEP and Cerebos has been forged around integrity, trust and collaborating together to come up with the best solution that goes beyond the roll of film.” said Mr Koduah.