Warehouse management improves life at Mars

  • June 5, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Confectionary maker Mars has implemented a warehouse management system (WMS) that was developed, tested and implemented across ten North American warehouse sites in just eight months.

As one of the world’s leading treats, snacks and food manufacturers, Mars processes massive volumes of ingredients, packaging materials and finished products. So, when Carlos Miranda, a physical logistics functional expert, realised that improving the WMS with more capabilities and a user-friendly interface would save the company money to be reinvested in continuous improvements, he got to work.

Miranda and his team developed and pitched a plan outlining how to improve the system. Once approved, the team connected with vendors to develop the system and introduce it to Mars warehouse sites in the USA, Canada and Mexico, some as big as 140,000 square metres.

“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,” said Erik Owino, senior vice president for Mars Wrigley in 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.”

Cloud capabilities offer cost savings since there’s no need to maintain physical data centres. They’re also updated every year as opposed to the industry standard of every five to seven years for physical centres. All components of the WMS are programmed to complete tasks as they proceed to their next location.

With an improved interface, multi-step processes, such as returning goods from packing to storage, can now be done with one scan in the system.

Mars has developed an educational programme focused on training key users ahead of implementation, so by the time the WMS goes live at a warehouse, users are already familiar with the system.

“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 plans to continue to pilot this system across the Mars portfolio.