redprairie.jpgLeading global premium beverage company makes gains with visibility, productivity, cost-per-case and customer service. RedPrairie, a leading consumer driven optimisation company, announced that Foster’s Group, a global premium beverage company, has rolled out RedPrairie’s Warehouse Management System to 14 sites in Australia and the USA. Since implementing the RedPrairie solution, Foster’s has gained operational efficiencies, better visibility into its supply chain and can offer more flexibility and better service to its customers.

Foster’s Group is well known for producing and marketing the most recognised Australian brand around the world, Foster’s Lager, but the company is much more than a single brand.  Foster’s is a global premium beverage company delivering iconic beer and wine brands to consumers across the globe, as well as a broader portfolio that also encompasses spirits, cider and non alcohol beverages to consumers within Australia. Foster’s and RedPrairie have had a strong business partnership since 2001, when RedPrairie implemented its Warehouse Management System (WMS) at three sites in Victoria. Following its purchase of Southcorp Wines in 2005, Foster’s expanded its brand portfolio into premium wine and embarked on a supply chain transformation project to move from beer only to multi-beverage and multi-brand distribution facilities.

“Foster’s success in expanding its portfolio and global reach could only be sustained by investing in a scalable production and distribution network. In 2003, we found that our current systems and processes did not have the flexibility or capacity to scale to the level they needed to meet the increasing demand for our diverse product lines. We needed to reconfigure and enhance our supply chain network by increasing service levels to our widespread customers,” said Michael Brooks, Chief Supply Officer.

In 2004, RedPrairie implemented its WMS in the largest facility, the production and distribution operation at Yatala in Queensland. This 20,000 square-metre facility has four packaging lines, over 20,000 pallet locations, multiple beer keg, can and bottle lines and produces over 25% of the total beer production in Australia. The site is automated and the mass accumulation table (MAT) holds over 100 pallets ready for direct loading and transportation. The Yatala site has recorded unprecedented uptime since it started, a credit to the RedPrairie WMS application and the Foster’s supply chain and IT infrastructure.

On the back of the success, Foster’s decided to roll out the RedPrairie solution to its newly reconfigured and acquired sites in Australia and Napa Valley, California. With an aggressive rollout strategy, the Foster’s and RedPrairie team implemented the RedPrairie WMS on time and on budget in every site right across Australia and in Napa Valley.

Foster’s has incorporated other leading-edge technology into its distribution centres, including voice picking and laser-guided vehicles. The laser-guided forklifts are new ‘humanless’ technology that move pallets safely and smoothly through the distribution centre. One of the larger new sites is 48,000 square metres, has 35,000 pallet locations and through-puts 25.7 million cartons per annum.

“The stability of the RedPrairie supply chain suite has been just remarkable. Foster’s has a finely-tuned, just-in-time supply chain, so any outages cause hundreds of thousands of dollars per minute in lost man-time, fuel costs, delayed customer orders and overtime costs.  RedPrairie’s system is bullet-proof and runs on stable platforms designed for tough environments and immediate response times,” said Garry Smith, Process Manager Logistics, Foster’s Business Processes and Information Technology.

“A substantial project such as this required a solid and capable team that works in unison. The Foster’s and RedPrairie team was such a team.   RedPrairie and Foster’s were engaged in a solid interwoven partnership with great team members in both organisations involved in all aspects of the implementation. The group worked as one and delivered this very large-scale project on time and on budget. This is quite a feat for a logistics project of this size and global nature,” said Mark Skipper, Managing Director, RedPrairie Asia Pacific.

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