Supporting Europe's Largest Bonded Warehouse

Case Study (PDF)

May 2016

Accolade Wines, the leading wine company by volume in the UK and Australia, needed to renew its fleet of picking forklift trucks and its estate of truck-mounted and handheld mobile computers. The contract for mobile computer renewal, installation and support was won by Renovotec, a UK rugged hardware provider for manufacturing and distribution companies. Renovotec deployed the Honeywell Thor VM1 truck-mounted computer and Honeywell Tecton handheld mobile computers, supporting Accolade Wines’ general expansion, including the recent installation of a third bottling line.

The Solution

Accolade Wines sells some of the world’s best-known brands in over 100 countries and is the leading wine company by volume in the UK and Australia. It owns wineries in five New World countries and employs over 1600 people worldwide. It was recently named ‘world class manufacturer of the year’ by The Manufacturer and Institute of Mechanical Engineers – the first time a drinks manufacturing company has won the Award – and pursues a policy of lean and continuous improvement. Tesco has given Accolade Wines its highest level of audit clearance.

Accolade Wines’ 24/7 UK operation employs over 500 people at its 900,000 square feet, 85,000-pallet capacity Bristol site, which produces one million bottles of wine a day, ships 100 million cases of wine a year and has 250 daily truck movements. Wine is shipped in tankers, bottled and shipped out to major retailers, distributors and cash and carries across the UK and continental Europe.

Recently the decision was taken to renew Accolade Wines’ fleet of 18 narrow aisle, 22 reach and 12 picking forklift trucks – 55 in total, including back-up vehicles. At the same time the company decided to renew its entire sevenyear- old estate of 55 truck-mounted and 30 handheld mobile computers. The company’s rugged hardware warehousing upgrade would support Accolade Wines’ general expansion, which on the manufacturing side had also included the recent installation of a third bottling line.

The contract for mobile computer renewal, installation and ongoing support was won by Renovotec, a UK rugged hardware provider for warehousing and distribution, retail and manufacturing companies.

“We needed reliable, robust hardware at keen prices, which Renovotec was able to provide,” says Accolade Wines’ Senior Inventory Manager Alex McGregor. “We had a good look at other companies but this was the one we thought was the best.”

To address Accolade Wines’ needs, Renovotec deployed the Honeywell Thor VM1 truckmounted computer and Honeywell Tecton handheld mobile computers. Installation was phased in over a period of several months, alongside forklift truck decommissioning and replacement (new truck, new rugged hardware), which helped to keep staff training and familiarization down to a minimum. “We replaced the equipment gradually,” Alex McGregor explains. “It has helped that the new kit is smaller and much easier to handle. It is nice and easy to take off, swap over and carry around the warehouse if you need to – a big improvement. We have had a lot of good feedback from the guys on the floor,” Alex McGregor adds.

The handheld computers were replaced over the course of two weeks and are used in all aspects of the warehouse operation, and also in the manufacturing area to scan stock to and from the lines.

“The hardware we now have makes my life easier,” says Alex McGregor. “Problems are minimal; I can go online if I need to return anything, with swift repair and replacement; and if there are any issues I can pick up the phone and speak to Renovotec, who are helpful and knowledgeable.”

The Needs

Renew the entire estate of truck-mounted and handheld mobile computers and select a solution that will reduce maintenance costs.

Minimize the time required for staff training and familiarization with new equipment.

Identify a reliable partner capable of providing technical support for the rugged computers.

Honeywell Thor VM1 truck-mounted computer

Thor VM1’s mobile computing technology is designed to deliver greater flexibility to respond to supply chain disruption. The Thor VM1 Smart Dock enables mounting and removal in seconds like a laptop dock but with the ruggedness and sealing required for industrial applications, and minimizes maintenance cost by enabling a computer to be shifted from one vehicle to another in 1/6 the standard time. Its field-replaceable front panel reduces capital and maintenance cost by integrating the two most wear and abuse prone components, the keyboard and touchscreen, into a user-replaceable part. And its ignition control eliminates the maintenance expense and lost productivity caused by a dead vehicle battery as the unit can be configured to automatically go into standby or hibernate.

The Benefits

  • Installation of the truck-mounted computers was implemented over a period of several months, keeping staff training and familiarization with new equipment down to a minimum.
  • The handheld computers help improve productivity in all aspects of the warehouse operation, and also in the manufacturing area.
  • The Thor VM1 Smart Dock enables mounting and removal in seconds, minimizing maintenance costs and eliminating lost productivity.
  • Renovotec provides reliable technical support and ensures swift repair and replacement for the rugged computers.

Honeywell Tecton handheld mobile computer

Honeywell’s Tecton industrial mobile computer has been designed to meet the needs of the user, the demands of a warehouse environment and the speed of today’s enterprise. It can be used hand-held or vehicle-mounted and is equipped with integrated multi-range scanning technology. It also incorporates an IP65-rated design that withstands multiple 6’ (1.8m) drops to concrete. Workers can use the Tecton with either a natural handgrip, or a field-removable trigger handle for optimized scanning performance. Its imaging technology reads linear and 2D bar codes, captures digital images, and enables electronic signature capture—allowing workers to do more with a single device; and its wireless connectivity delivers full wireless coverage for applications both inside and outside the building, allowing real-time access to critical data.

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