Cooking up smarter inventory management for Tovala

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The Chicago-based business, which is the first in the meal delivery category to offer meals cooked in around 20 minutes or less using the simple scan of a QR code, is expanding rapidly across the US and needed a more organised, and consistent way of controlling its inventory.

However, the WMS solution also had to integrate with established production facility processes as well as custom software tools – purpose built for food industry production management and the strict compliance and health and safety standards of the sector.

Operationally that meant bespoke functionality such as over/under picking, lot, quantity and expiry date control, plus vendor ID and cost-per-pound values – and especially the capacity to accurately manage specific track and trace requirements.

John Comas, Industrial Engineer at Tovala, explains: “SnapFulfil was identified as the most flexible, cost effective and configurable suite available, while the selection process included rigorous API and data testing in various demo environments for a proof of concept, which meant we were almost ‘live’ before signing the final agreement.

“Implementation was handled remotely, for cost and time savings, and the first two DCs in Chicago went live simultaneously. Stock receiving followed by a detailed audit worked particularly well, as it allowed our users to get a soft introduction before go-live and effectively counted it twice for optimum accuracy and visibility. Another game changer is the resource time saved, as the RF guns enable our workers to pick efficiently by cycle, term, location and date across temperature controlled zones. We all have full visibility of what has and will be picked.”

SnapFulfil has since been rolled out – via a market leading self-implementation program – to a much larger 230,000 sq.ft facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This was also seamless and required next-to-no assistance after comprehensive rules engine training that took in the business and work flow learnings of Chicago.

Comas says: “What changed from the first two DCs is that we did the stock take on via an FTP upload, which allowed us to do the whole facility in just one day, saving a lot of time and pressure. SnapFulfil is highly configurable and I’ll be able to do future site roll outs myself even quicker.”