Effective logistics solutions simplify life
The introduction of Consafe Logistics’ field sales solution MobileSale has made life easier for driver/sales reps at Norwegian ice-cream producer Hennig Olsen Is AS.
“Our experience of features such as signature capture using PDAs has so far been excellent,” say Kristin Langeland, head of logistics, and Gudvin Baldersheim, head of IT.
Hennig Olsen IS AS is Norway’s longest established producer of ice cream and dessert products. The company was founded in 1924 and the factory in Kristiansand was built in 1960. Since then the company has been in continuous development. Today the factory produces ice cream using the most up-to-date equipment available.
Functional logistics solutions enabling timely delivery are crucial for the company’s operations "We have been using electronic solutions with handheld terminals for nearly 20 years," says Baldersheim "For the past two years we’ve been using the solution supplied by Consafe Logistics. It is user-friendly and has a Windows user interface adapted to our drivers’ requirements. Customers acknowledge delivery by signing on the PDA screen. Our trucks are equipped with printers for producing invoices that can be handed straight to the customer. The customer can also be sent an electronic copy. All data from the PDA is transmitted to our ERP system, which generates electronic invoices."
Several new functions
"Our old terminals operated along similar principles to the ones we’re using currently, but the introduction of the new system has given us a number of new functions. We’re not aiming for all functions to be fully automated, but all the same we’ve made savings more than equivalent to a full-time job just through cutting down on filing and printing out copies."
"The background to our procurement of MobileSale was our need for new functionality," says Baldersheim. "We developed a specification of our requirements, and one of the points was increased functionality. The new terminals had to have signature-capture, inventory-control and stock-ordering functions and have the ability to monitor the temperature of the truck’s freezer compartment. We put out tenders to three suppliers and Consafe Logistics emerged the winner."
Competition is tough in the market for ice cream, desserts and cakes. The Kristiansand-based ice cream producer has 48 per cent of the market. Its main competitor is Diplom-Is. So far, the turmoil in the financial markets has had little effect on business. "Despite bad weather this summer in Southern Norway, sales of ice cream products this year have outstripped last year." Turnover last year was approximately NOK 600 million.
Assigned distribution routes
Hennig Olsen Is AS has its head office and production facility in Kristiansand. As well as a wholly owned subsidiary located in Oslo, the company has seven branch offices in Østfold, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Haugesund, Bergen, Florø and Tromsø. The Tromsø branch also has sub-offices in Sortland and Alta. "We co-operate with ASKO in areas we don’t cover ourselves. They have their own ice-cream divisions, as well as refrigerated trucks and distribution routines that correlate to ours," says Langeland. She says that Hennig Olsen Is has a total of 90 trucks. "The drivers have their own routes and deliver to fixed addresses. We use an electronic route-planning system. Our customer lists are extracted from the ERP system and transferred to the route-planning system."
"Since January 2007, our drivers have been using MobileSale from Consafe Logistics. So far it has functioned extremely satisfactorily. Following an upgrade, our terminals’ functionality has been enhanced. Functions include signature capture, inventory control and re-ordering," says Baldersheim. "Our experience with signature capture using the PDAs has so far been excellent. We anticipate phasing out paper-based routines over the next six months."
The drivers transport products to retailers and chain customers. "When the truck leaves the warehouse, price data is accessible on the driver’s handheld terminal (PDA). When the driver reaches the customer, the order is decided on the basis of stocks in the freezer counter. Once the customer has signed for the goods on the PDA, the driver picks the goods, delivers them and produces an invoice. We also take advance orders from some institutional-household customers. This type of order is entered as an advance order in the ERP system. It is then transmitted to the driver’s PDA, which indicates that there’s an order from an on-demand customer," says Baldersheim.
"We entered into a support and maintenance agreement with Consafe Logistics in 2006/2007, which we have now extended. Introduction of the solution took slightly longer than expected because of an upgrade to a new version of Windows Mobile. This caused some delay but came within our planned budget."
Mobile inventory control
"It’s important for our drivers to have an overview of the products currently on their trucks. They use the PDA to re-order products to top up their stocks. Products leaving the truck are registered using the PDA, which means we can keep track of deliveries at all times. Many of our customers have contracts that need continual follow up. This means it is crucial to have IT tools that rationalise this function. Our drivers can easily access data and information from our corporate systems. This increases efficiency and cuts our costs," says Baldersheim.
Varied product turnover
The warehouse in Kristiansand has space for 9,000 pallets. Speed of turnover varies from product to product. "After production our products are kept in quarantine while laboratory tests are carried out. We have to ensure that our products satisfy our quality requirements. We undertake regular internal audits of our quality systems and are subject to regular official inspections. We were the first food producer in Norway to be awarded ISO 22000 in 2007. This ensures maximum standards of hygiene and security during transport of the ice cream from factory to freezer counter," concludes Langeland.