Online sales via Alliance Group’s online red meat delivery channel puresouthshop.com have grown significantly during the Covid-19 alert level restrictions.
The programme, the latest in a series of major investments planned for Lorneville, will introduce automation to the warehousing system and laser-guided vehicles for the storage and retrieval of product.
“The plant’s current frozen product warehouse operation is over 30 years old,” says David Surveyor, chief executive of Alliance Group.
“This is another step in ensuring Alliance remains a world-leading processor.”
Surveyor says the new WMS will improve health and safety at the plant and enable the co-operative to unlock advantages of scale and lift the efficiency and competitiveness of the plant.
“Approximately 66 people are required to work in the operation during peak processing and manual handling of the fresh product.
“With each box weighing around 22kgs, this poses a risk of muscular skeletal injury to employees,” he says.
The new system will be coupled with the implementation of the next phase of the co-perative’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) technology project, Surveyor says, adding that he believes the move will result in greater efficiencies and improved handling of cartons and product.
“There will be reduced use of forklifts and fewer cases of conveyors jamming, which result in downtime in the further processing rooms.
“Frozen product boxes also do not stack well in the current system, leading to product damage and potential safety risks.”
Alliance says no jobs will be lost as a result of the project, which will be carried out in two phases over an 18-month period. Employees will be re-deployed to other areas of the plant.