Weetabix keeps an eye on its assets

09 March 2009

Weetabix bolstered asset management at its Kettering plant, implementing Eriks’ paperless stores management software. The breakfast cereal giant signed a three year outsourcing contract with Halesowen based Eriks UK.

Eriks is responsible for the stores and has attempted to reduce the time engineers spend sourcing products. Furthermore compliance with purchasing procedure had to be ensured and Weetabix requires detailed information about how the maintenance budget is spent.

Weetabix was aware that improvements could be made to its MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) that was centred on a large, traditionally run store administrated via a paper-based system.

Discussing MRO, Tony Lennon, head of purchasing for Weetabix said he was looking to ‘achieve best practice in this area’.

He said he wanted ‘a more technical solution that allowed us to gain leverage in terms of MRO procurement but also considered the manpower element and the management of equipment obsolescence.’

Eriks was awarded the contract and subsequently a building on the 75-acre Weetabix site, which had previously been used to house redundant equipment, was converted into a 10,000 item capacity, purpose-built store and new offices.

The paper-based system for requisitioning engineering spares has been replaced by Eriks’ own paperless stores management software solution which, through the use of bar coding, enables the 9,500 stock items to be traced accurately through the system. Damien Magill, chief engineer at Weetabix, said he now has the information available to see which assets on the site are consuming the most spares.

He said: ‘We now have regular information on what items are being taken from the stores by which person and to which factory. With this information we can make improvements in our processes through benchmarking how one asset performs against another for example.’

After two months Lennon believes the transition to the new system has been seamless. He said: ‘Previously, we put a great deal of effort into managing the MRO procurement, which was, compared to raw material procurement a relatively small spend. However, this new arrangement with Eriks sees us optimising our purchasing position in all markets while at the same time reducing our purchase price and administrative burden.’

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