ACS&T explains the benefits of vendor-managed inventory

Grimsby, UK: “More than two years ago we warned that the food industry was dragging its heels and failing to embrace new technology. We said that as commercial and environmental pressures forced the industry to re-examine the structure of its supply chain, Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI) systems were an option worth exploring,” says Malcolm Johnstone, managing director of ACS&T.

ACS&T offers clients visibility in its standard offer, at no additional cost, using the internet

“It seems that VMI may still be that option worth considering for the many manufacturers who are still to adopt it, as it offers a way for them to place responsibility for managing stockholding, to packaging and raw materials suppliers directly via a third party such as ACS&T. VMI can help reduce buffer stock, help manufacturers plan production more efficiently, and optimise transport, thus cutting down on waste and that all-important carbon footprint.

“This system also represents significant cash-flow benefits for manufacturers, who don’t have to pay a penny until they ask for the goods to be picked.

In essence, the manufacturer no longer places orders, but hands over responsibility for replenishing stocks, as well as the cost of purchasing stock and storage, to the suppliers. These suppliers in turn, are given access to the manufacturers’ production plans and forecasts using an IT system like the one offered by ACS&T.

“We have a functionally rich IT platform, allowing transparency of activity throughout our operations.  We can view our business at a macro, micro, and transactional level, looking at not just order progression, but resource usage as well.
“What makes ACS&T different in this respect is that we offer our clients this visibility in our standard offer, at no additional cost, using the internet.  Every transaction from the moment ACS&T takes possession of the product, or the order, is monitored and recorded.  We share this with our entire customer base, and configure reports to meet the needs of our clients.

“Manufacturers using ACS&T’s production support system, such as seafood giant Young’s, have given the company responsibility to work with their suppliers to supply their factories with selected raw materials and packaging. ACS&T manages the inventories and delivers daily consolidated consignments to the manufacturers direct from the ACS&T depot.

“We offer value-added processes such as blast-freezing, tempering, co-packing, and both singles and case picking, across all major temperature regimes.  We have proven toolsets for both transport and warehouse functions, ranging from nationwide collection, consolidation of products, and delivery at case level; to VMI operations supplying line-side production on a just-in-time basis.  These innovative operations provide both suppliers and customers with potential significant cash-flow benefits, and place ACS&T at the heart of our clients’ supply chain operations.”