Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD Spt-Oct 2014 Contents 40
stablished in 1991, the Fresh Produce
Group (FPG) has quickly grown into
one of Australia’s largest fresh produce
providers, one that manages all aspects of
procurement and supply. The company exports
across the globe as well, supplying produce to
customers across Asia, Europe, the Middle East,
the US and the subcontinent.
FPG’s service centres are located at Sydney
Markets, Sydney’s Arndell Park, and Brisbane
Markets. Each facility is purpose-built for
the receipt, handling, and dispatch of fresh
produce, with the objective of providing efficient
daily service and product supply to each of the
major supermarket chains in Australia as well as
leading independent retailers.
The Sydney Markets in Flemington house
the main warehouse as well as the head office.
However, the existing warehouse management
system was in dire need of an upgrade. Not only
was it old and tired, but it was poorly designed
and implemented to begin with.
“Infrastructure was just plonked in where it
was convenient, and the equipment was not
even commercial grade,” said Malcolm Price,
IT/systems manager at FPG. “The wireless
network didn’t work throughout the facility, so
it wasn’t well used, and there were black spots.
At times there were equipment failures with no
available backup plan.”
Due to the highly perishable nature of their
product, stock must be moved quickly and in
order. To make sure that information about stock
location and details are accurate and instantly
accessible, it became clear that FPG needed an
update to its stocktake devices and a wireless
network to support them.
“We had lots of issues with stocktaking with
the older system, such as poor visibility of where
stock was and asynchronous updates to stock
movements. Often, we relied on a person’s
memory as to where stock was,” said Mr Price.
“So someone would be verbally directed to the
location of stock, wasting the forklift driver’s time
because it couldn’t be found.”
FPG decided to install a new Motorola
wireless network, supported by Motorola
AP-7131 wireless access points, which delivered
the throughput and coverage required for an all-
wireless enterprise across all three sites.
The points provide support for FPG’s high-
speed wireless data services. Furthermore, all
access points can be centrally managed from
an RFS6000 wireless RF switch located in the
Sydney office. As the points operate in adaptive
mode, they can also resume functionality as
a standalone access point in the event of loss
of connectivity. The switch drives the access
points, but if the switch fails for any reason,
the points become independent and can
work for up to three days in this way. In the
meantime, the switch is repaired or replaced, so
redundancy and reliability are assured.
The recommended devices were Motorola
MC9190-G mobile computers, which are more
rugged, more powerful, have a higher resolution
display, better scanning performance and more
scanning options than their predecessors.
The selection of these devices was partially
based on the ability to customise the key face
as FPG could choose the buttons to suit the
application they were using. Unused buttons
could be mapped to software-specific functions.
Another benefit derived from the devices was
“We saw that they can take a pounding
and not break. We’re in quite a primitive
environment so that’s important. They also need
to handle temperature variations of between 18
and -2 degrees, which they do well. We’ve had
no issues,” said Mr Price.
Throughout the Flemington warehouse, the old
infrastructure was swapped out for a new network.
The Brisbane service centre is in a new building,
so FPG took the opportunity to set up new infra-
structure from the beginning. Access points were
installed, with the devices equipped with software
developed in-house by FPG’s developer.
“The roll-out went well. It was very
straightforward and it all worked. We just
plugged the access points in and everything
started working,” said Price. “One of the
benefits is the improved ability to track stock,
and better stock management is a major
business benefit. For example, the truck arrives
and uploads 10 pallets of pumpkins. Staff
print a label, which they attach to the pallet.
They scan the label and update the database
with details, such as arrival time of stock and
location. So if an order for pumpkins comes in,
the pallet can be quickly located.
“Being in the highly perishable business,
stock has to be in and out within hours. We
can’t afford to hunt around looking for stock,
which is what we used to do, especially when
we have 6,000 square metres of warehouse.
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS — SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2014
SUPPLY CHAIN 41
MHD Sep-Oct 2014 34-55.indd 40
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