Mars, whose portfolio spans confectionery, snacking, food, and pet care brands, including M&M’S, SNICKERS, BEN’S ORIGINAL, PEDIGREE and IAMS – has implemented a new warehouse management system (WMS) that was developed, tested and implemented across 10 North American Mars warehouse sites in just eight months.
As one of the world’s biggest treats, snacks and food manufacturers, the company processes large volumes of ingredients, packaging materials and finished products.
It was Carlos Miranda, the company noted, a physical logistics functional expert, who realised that revolutionising the WMS with more capabilities and a user-friendly interface would save the company money to be reinvested in continuous improvement initiatives and got to work.
Using the company’s Five Principles (Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency, Freedom), Carlos and his team developed and pitched a plan to their leadership team outlining how to revolutionise the system. Once approved, Carlos’ team was empowered to connect with vendors to develop the new system and introduce to Mars warehouse sites in the United States, Canada and Mexico, some that are as big as 1.5 million square feet and just as challenging.
“Mars is known for delivering its iconic, quality products to our consumers and part of that process includes identifying new and innovative ways to achieve excellence in the warehouses where they’re stored and transported,” explained Erik Owino, Senior Vice President of Supply for Mars Wrigley North America. “It is because of this novel idea and commitment to excellence from Carlos and his team that this brand-new system came to life.”
Mars built its new system to include cloud operating capabilities, which offer cost savings because physical data centres don’t need to be maintained; optimised task interleaving process, so all components of the WMS are programmed to complete tasks as they move to their next location; user-friendly interface, meaning multi-step processes like returning goods from packing to storage can now be done with one scan in the system and ‘Train the Trainer’ program, where the company has developed an educational programme focused on training key users ahead of implementation.
“I take a lot of pride in the work I do along with all of the Mars Associates who work with our warehouses and 3PL partners to help our business run smoothly and successfully,” said Miranda. “I’ve worked at Mars for 12 years and one of the reasons is the trust that leadership puts in its Associates to identify and pursue big ideas and opportunities. It’s incredible to see the impact our new WMS has had and I’m grateful for the empowerment and the opportunity to develop, test and implement these changes across our operations.”
As Mars continues to optimise the system, other parts of the Mars business stand to benefit. In the coming months, the company will continue to pilot this new system across the Mars portfolio.
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Editor, International Confectionery
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