28 July 2021

A choice partner for major food manufacturers and retailers, Magnavale strive to provide a just-in-time-service through a comprehensive portfolio of temperature-controlled solutions. Facing a fast turnaround and the challenge of providing reliable, streamlined operations, the business turned to TouchStar Rugged Mobile Computers to facilitate real time benefits within their Chesterfield based Group Headquarters.  

The Business  

With over 1.95 million square feet of warehouse space and more than 200,000 pallet spaces across multi-temperature regimes nationwide, Magnavale is the choice partner for major food manufacturers, importers and retailers for temperature-controlled storage solutions.  

Providing BRC certified storage and distribution facilities across their 3 strategically located sites in Chesterfield, Scunthorpe and Warrington, their services include temperature-controlled storage for various food products, blast freezing and labelling through to microwave tempering and more.  

Established for over 30 years, the business has gone from strength to strength. Since the three sites merged under the Rick Bestwick brand in 2016, the business continued to thrive and grow, despite the pressures from Brexit, Covid and industry wide changes to legislation. Whilst known for quality and reliability, the decision was made to proceed with a name that would unite the businesses and the future it would strive towards, Magnavale.  

Value Added Service  

With several systems in place to support the supply chain requirements of their end users, Magnavale recognise the value technology adds to their operational processes. Martin Tipper, Group IT Manager comments, “As a business, our aim is to facilitate a full range of streamlined supply chain services that reduce costs and increase efficiency.  To ensure we minimise product handling, provide traceability and have as short a supply chain as possible, we need to have the systems in place that are not only reliable, but that would be both futureproof and scalable to support our growing operations”.    

The Challenge  

Magnavale’s Group Headquarters, strategically placed in Chesterfield, houses over 500,000 sq.ft of warehouse space and more than 50,000 pallet locations. The main use of data capture within the operation was to facilitate the movement of pallets within their cold store put away and picking operations. With their existing data capture equipment now unsupportable Magnavale were concerned about the costs and potential impact on service levels. As a forward-facing company, Magnavale made the decision to upgrade the RF equipment within their Chesterfield operation, ensuring a futureproof and scalable solution was selected to support future growth plans.    

The Solution  

The challenge for Magnavale was to source some new RF devices that would be able to integrate directly into their existing WMS system. Following an extensive research and testing process, Magnavale turned to leading UK manufacturer TouchStar Technologies, selecting their fit for purpose TS8000 handhelds and TS7000 truck mounts for the upgrade.

The TS8000 offered several advantages for the users on site.  With its optimally positioned hard capped keys, the TS8000 was the perfect device for Magnavale’s scan intensive warehouse operation. Not only that, the availability of a hot swappable battery, guaranteed continuous operation and reduced downtime, maximising output, and increasing workload efficiency. For the truck mounted requirement, the TS7000 provided a fit for purpose device, integrating rich functionality into an ergonomic and compact design with rugged features such as polycarbonate plastic alloy casing and a sealed membrane keyboard.

Following the initial dialogue and selection, TouchStar worked closely with Magnavale to manage the upgrade, covering everything from specification through to testing compatibility with their core WMS, go live and ongoing support. To facilitate the real time data capture, TouchStar needed to ensure full connectivity with Magnavale’s existing Wi-Fi network.

Results and Benefits  

At the point where the system went live, TouchStar engineers were on hand throughout, ensuring the correct configuration and set up of the new scanning devices. The support of TouchStar prior to the system going live resulted in a successful rollout of the new devices. Rugged and reliable, both devices fulfilled Magnavale’s requirements for high-speed scanning and data capture within what can be a challenging cold storage environment.

Martin adds, “TouchStar provided a competitively priced and locally supported solution. The overall system implementation went extremely well, and the devices have proved to be extremely reliable. Despite the external business challenges such as Brexit and Covid, we have no doubt that the benefits brought about from the RF upgrade have had a hugely positive effect on our operations. Investing in UK manufactured, and locally supported devices have ensured that we maintained high service levels and seamless operations. Operating a reliable system, we have removed the costs we typically associate with downtime.  We are excited about the potential uses of the devices look forward to working with TouchStar on future projects”.

The Future  

Since the implementation, Magnavale have continue to innovate and grow, becoming one of the first cold store networks in the UK to offer segregated, temperature controlled, storage solution’s specially for plant-based foods. With the new directions the business is taking, Magnavale continue to evolve and develop their operations having confidence that the technology they have invested in will continue to meet the business’s needs both now and into the future.