Balloon One announces new client partnership with Huel


Huel partners with Balloon One and Körber warehouse management system to support in-house warehousing as a key part of its global expansion strategy.

Huel Ltd, a leading producer of nutritionally complete meals, has chosen Balloon One to supply and implement its new Körber warehouse management system (WMS) to manage its new warehouse facility and anticipates a number of benefits.

These include providing real-time traceability and managing the testing of raw materials on site, which allows Huel to increase its quality control. This will further protect Huel’s customers from food safety risks and safeguard the integrity of the brand.

With greater visibility and better control of stock levels, Huel will hold less working capital. In addition, the WMS facilitates the shift to in-house warehousing and manufacturing, which will see the company benefit from reduced transport costs.

Huel is a £185 million business that sells its nutritionally complete food in more than 100 countries across the globe. It operates out of three offices in the UK, one in the US and one in Germany. The company works with co-manufacturers and international partners to sell its meals, powders, snack bars and ready-made drinks. It sells direct to consumers via its ecommerce website, as well as through more than 11,000 supermarkets and other retailers.

The company aims to expand the brand internationally, ensuring wider recognition of its mission to “offer people better nutrition at their key consumption moments”. In addition, the introduction of new products to the Huel range will enable a broader audience to access affordable and convenient nutrition.

Facilitating the shift to in-house warehousing and manufacturing.

Since its inception, Huel has worked with co-manufacturers to produce its raw ingredients and has outsourced the storage and distribution of these and the finished products to a number of third-party logistics companies (3PLs).

Liam Nicholson, Systems & Projects Director for Huel, is responsible for defining the global corporate project objectives and the accompanying initiatives and roadmap to meet them. Explaining a shift in manufacturing strategy, he says: “We aim to uphold stringent quality control standards, preserve the affordability of our products and reduce the environmental footprint of our manufacturing processes. With these objectives in mind, we have embarked on a strategy that will gradually lead to the internal production of certain finished goods.”

As the first stage of this process, Huel will begin by warehousing its own raw materials. This involves the company letting a 70,865 square feet warehouse situated on a logistics and business park in a prime location in Milton Keynes. This will go live from early 2024.

To manage the stock in this new facility, Huel needed a warehouse management system. Liam explains, “Implementing a warehouse management system will enable us to have full control of our real-time traceability, quality control and stock management processes.”

Körber WMS and Balloon make an impression.

Gemma Hollins, Senior Project Manager for Huel, is responsible for delivering the new manufacturing programme and leads the technology workstream for it. She was heavily involved in choosing which WMS and which vendor was right for the project.

Hollins says: “The Körber WMS solution was the one that met the largest number of our business requirements, including license plate functionality, which is valuable for our operation. Being high on the Gartner magic quadrant also provides confidence that the scalable Körber solution will support us in our manufacturing journey in the years to come.” The magic quadrant is a series of market research reports published by IT consulting firm Gartner.

Referencing the choice of Balloon as Huel’s implementation partner, she adds: “We valued the open and honest relationship that we’d built with Balloon during the tender process, especially when additional support was given around integrations with other manufacturing systems that we will be implementing.”

With the scope blueprint signed off, the project is now underway and Huel is looking forward to having the Körber WMS up and running ready for the inauguration of its new warehouse in early 2024.

Balloon Sales & Marketing Director, Ed Napier-Fenning says: “We’re excited that Huel has chosen Balloon as its supply chain technology partner. It is an innovative and strategically impressive brand and we’re keen to be helping Huel in its mission to offer people better nutrition and to build its global ‘hueligan’ community.”

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