About First Milk

First Milk is the largest dairy farmer-owned business in the UK handling over 1.7 billion litres of milk every year.

They are the UK's Cheddar specialists and supply a range of customers, including the major retailers and milk processors such as Robert Wiseman Dairies and Dairy Crest, with innovative dairy ingredients.

Project Background

First Milk frequently perform a large number of warehouse and finance operations within their ERP system (IFS, served out over Citrix), particularly when issuing or un-issuing products to and from Shop Orders. These processes are manually intensive, repetitive, require many steps and in general suck up a great deal of operator and user time.

The end user is required to navigate across multiple screens to enter the needed information which further complicates the process. Some key reporting information, could not be stored in the core system, so had to be managed in spreadsheets. Because of these combined issues, keying errors were becoming more of an issue as work load ramped up, which led to wasted time to make the corrective action and ensure data accuracy.

Moreover, users were occasionally not warned if they were about to perform invalid actions.

Automation using scanning hardware was also investigated but a complex and expensive system modification would have been required to make this work.

“Cooper Software provided us with a simple and effective solution which will save our workers a significant amount of time each week. They helped us define our requirements and provided friendly support throughout the process. The solution was delivered smoothly and quickly.”

ERP Operations Support Manager

Our Solution

Cooper Software, Europe’s largest independent provider of products, consulting and support for IFS users, provided First Milk with their ACQUIRE™ data capture for IFS solution. The Windows based mobile data capture system was created in only a few clicks using the Cooper Software SDK™ (Software Development Kit), which seamlessly integrated ACQUIRE™ into IFS via a Custom Menu.

The data entry screens were then 'moulded' to follow the logical flow of the business process, with a focus on eradicating keying errors by using drop down lists and automatically populated fields.

A wizard-based data user interface was then added which included a pre-processing function, providing user warning messages, preventing errouneous transactions being committed. This eliminated the need for time-consuming retrospective corrective action and improved data accuracy.

The core application was seamlessly installed and accessed via custom menus and mobile terminals. Further operational time savings were made through the addition of a pallet scanning function using industry standard SSCC labels.

Benefits

  • 75% reduction in time taken to perform each procedure.
  • Eliminating keying errors saving the time it took to fix these problems previously – a major time saving.
  • Users are now taken through a short linear process and are provided feedback at each step, simplifying training of new users.
  • Actions performed whilst un-receiving Shop Order material have been reduced by up to 87% for Warehouse Operators and up to 81% for Finance Operators by removing the need to individually un-issue each part.
  • Actions performed whilst issuing products to a Shop Order reduced by 25%.
  • The Cooper Software solution provided seamlessly launches from IFS screens, and has been developed specifically to reduce unnecessary data entry.
  • The software provides loading screens to keep the user informed while background tasks are being performed.

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