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Managing Food Manufacturing Supply Chains

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Global nutritional meals producer Huel is implementing a Körber warehouse management system (WMS) with support from techn integrator Balloon One to improve traceability and testing of ingredients in real time, and further protect against food safety risks. 

With greater visibility and better control of stock levels, Huel will hold less working capital. In addition, the WMS facilitates the shift to in-house warehousing and manufacturing, which will see the company benefit from reduced transport costs. 

With a turnover of £185 million, Huel sells its nutritionally complete food in more than 100 countries supported by three office locations in the United Kingdom, one in the United States and a German office.

The company works with co-manufacturers and international partners to sell its meals, powders, snack bars and ready-made drinks. It sells direct to consumers via its ecommerce website, as well as through more than 11,000 supermarkets and other retailers. 

It also aims to expand the brand internationally, ensuring wider recognition of its mission to “offer people better nutrition at their key consumption moments”. In addition, the introduction of new products to the Huel range will enable a broader audience to access affordable and convenient nutrition. 

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Since its inception, Huel has worked with co-manufacturers to produce its raw ingredients and has outsourced the storage and distribution of these and the finished products to a number of third-party logistics companies (3PLs). 

Liam Nicholson, the company’s systems and projects director, comments: “We aim to uphold stringent quality control standards, preserve the affordability of our products and reduce the environmental footprint of our manufacturing processes. With these objectives in mind, we have embarked on a strategy that will gradually lead to the internal production of certain finished goods.

“Implementing a warehouse management system will enable us to have full control of our real-time traceability, quality control and stock management processes.” 

As the first stage of this process, Huel will begin by warehousing its own raw materials. This involves the company letting a 70,865 square feet warehouse situated on a logistics and business park in a prime location in Milton Keynes. This will go live from early 2024. 

The Körber WMS solution was the one that met the largest number of our business requirements, including license plate functionality, which is valuable for our operation.

Gemma Hollins, senior project manager for Huel, says: “The Körber WMS solution was the one that met the largest number of our business requirements, including license plate functionality, which is valuable for our operation. Being high on the Gartner magic quadrant also provides confidence that the scalable Körber solution will support us in our manufacturing journey in the years to come.” The magic quadrant is a series of market research reports published by IT consulting firm Gartner.

“We valued the open and honest relationship that we’d built with Balloon during the tender process, especially when additional support was given around integrations with other manufacturing systems that we will be implementing.” 

Balloon’s sales and marketing director, Ed Napier-Fenning, adds: “We’re excited that Huel has chosen Balloon as its supply chain technology partner. It is an innovative and strategically impressive brand and we’re keen to be helping Huel in its mission to offer people better nutrition and to build its global ‘hueligan’ community.” 

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Staff Reporter

FMIndustry.com covers the latest news, trends and opinion from the facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate (CRE) sectors. The FM market is currently estimated to be worth USD 1 trillion annually and is projected to grow at a compounded annualised rate of approximately 5% between now and 2026.

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  • Staff Reporter

    FMIndustry.com covers the latest news, trends and opinion from the facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate (CRE) sectors. The FM market is currently estimated to be worth USD 1 trillion annually and is projected to grow at a compounded annualised rate of approximately 5% between now and 2026.

    View all Articles

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