RFBS have celebrated 10 years of providing warehouse solutions, including Navigator and Vocollect voice picking equipment, to Countrywide Food Service members.

Countrywide Food Service Distributors are Australia’s largest group of independently-owned wholesale Distributors, delivering goods to a variety of foodservice outlets. Their distributors service all establishments and outlets where food is consumed outside the home. The members offer customers unparalleled service. With distibutors across Australia, members provide onalised service to a large variety of food service operators.

The Solution

Since 2011, Countrwide members have engaged RFBS to design and deliver unique, total warehoues solutions that streamline proactices from goods receipt through to despatch. Members recognised that reducing paperwork in the warehouse would improve the accuracy and reliability of inventory data within their accounting systems. Technologies like scan and voice picking improve the accuracy of despatches - ensuring customers always receive the right product the first time!

Members have Navigator WMS, and modules for scan-receiving, replenishment, put away as well as Navigator's voice-directed batch picking application - all tightly integrated with their respective ERP systemsm including:

An Integrated Solution

RFBS have with numerous providers to enhance the ERP system through interfaces to voice and scan picking including E-Technique (Nexus), Exobiz/Kilimanjaro (Exonet), Compusoft (Navision) and Leverage Technologies (SAP Business One). Our ability to engage and work colaboratively with your existing systems ensures the success of each integration.
At each site, Navigator exchanges data with the ERP system, including:
  • Order Picking: Sales orders can now be exported to Navigator and pick results confirmed automatically once an order is completed.
  • Purchase Order Receipts: Purchase orders are exported to Navigator and received stock is applied agains the purchase order.
  • Inventory Adjustments: Two way inventory adjustments allow cycle count adjustments to be posted to Nexus.


Zone Picking with Vocollect Voice

In the Navigator system, paper pick slips are no longer required. Instead, they appear in Navigator's pick queue in drop sequence. Navigator locates an appropriate pick location for each item on the order and marks this on the electronic pickslip. Sales orders are also split into multiple fragments by zone, allowing the work to be effectively spread across the available staff each night.

When pickers arrive for work, they are allocated a Vocollect A720 mobile computer and SRX3 headset. They sign in by selecting their operator and speaking a password so that all work performed by the user is recorded for reporting purposes. To start picking, users speak a delivery run number and a zone. Navigator automatically assigns work to each picker, ensuring that orders are picked in the correct sequence (usually reverse drop sequence). The system even has the flexibility to pick multiple orders simultaneously in a single pass through the warehouse (batch picking) to reduce walking time.

The picker is directed around the warehouse in bin location order. They listen for the next bin location to visit over their headset and must verify, on arrival, that they have found the correct product. Navigator allows the picker the flexibility to verify that the item being picked is correct by:
  • Speaking a location check digit (this is a random number printed on the bin location sticker used for items without a barcode) or
  • Speaking a carton check digit (the last 3 numbers from the GTIN-14 barcode on the carton if the user must pick more than a carton) or
  • Speaking a product check digit (the last 3 numbers from the EAN-13 barcode on the item if the user must pick less than a carton)

Once the item is verified, the system tells the picker how many items to pick (in the appropriate unit of measurement), and the picker confirms how many cartons or items were taken. Finally, the system tells the picker which order needs the stock by speaking the carton identifier (a letter from A to Z), and waiting for the picker to speak the check number off the relevant 'pick marker' label.

Batch Tracking
Navigator's voice module asks the picker to speak the expiry date on selected products to automatically capture the batch number delivered to each customers. This assists in supporting contract work including Subway and Guzman y Gomez. Navigator includes a search funtion to instantly locate all customers who received a batch and where in the warehouse the batch is stored.

Random Weights
When picking random weighted items, including smallgoods and cheese, Navigator allows the user to speak the exact weight off the item ensuring that the customer is invoiced appropriately. The system can also enforce minimum and maximum weights per item to prevent accidental over/under invoicing. 

Labelled Cartons
Navigator allows pickers to print a label for each carton shipped from the warehouse. Information on the label includes the customer's name, assigned delivery run and drop sequence number. This approach allows the delivery driver to efficiently locate cartons relevant to each stop - reducing incorrect deliveries and simplifying the customer's checking process.

At each site, the ERP system is automatically updated with the picked quantities as soon as the order is completed.

Receipting - With Put Away

Navigator allows workers to use a mobile scanner to receive stock against purchase orders. Each item is scanned and matched against the purchase order to show the expected quantity, and the number of items received so far. The worker can enter the amount received, then record where the stock was placed by scanning either a pallet 'lot number' or the picking bin barcode.


Countrywide Members can replenish stock, using Navigator's scanner-driven replenishment function. The system directs workers to fill bin locations in priority sequence, with bins with insufficient stock to fill orders being targeted first, and bins below their minimum level are processed once all other tasks are completed. The system drives stock rotation, with workers directed to take stock from the oldest lot numbered pallets first. The replenisher scans the item and the picking location to confirm stock is always placed in the correct bin.

Cycle Counting

Navigator enables regular cycle count checks on pallets and picking bins in the warehouse. The scanner allows for directed and random bin audits which work in conjunction with an approvals process. This strategy means the warehouse does not need to close down during the counting phase.

Food Service & Navigator

The Navigator WMS includes hundreds of features designed to take the hastle out of running a food service warehouse. Some of these include:
  • Random weighted items. Receive stock directly from vendors including Golden Cockerel, JBS Swift etc by scanning the supplier's carton bacode. Capture random weights as stock is picked.
  • Batch and expiry tracking. Capture batch data during receiving and use this to drive replenishment. Capture information about picked batch numbers to assist in recall management.
  • Zone Picking. Splitting up orders across dry/freezer/chilled zones reduces walking and improves throughput.
  • Voice Picking. Pickers have both hands free to lift and move single items and full cases. Pick quantities can be captured easily, even in the freezer, where pickers do not need to remove their gloves.
  • Scan receiving. Navigator allows you to capture the GTIN and EAN barcodes on stock as it is received. Accurately identify stock inbound against purchase orders.
  • Reporting. Navigator captures statistics on worker productivity in real-time providing instant visibility to the warehouse manager.
Contact Us for more information.

Members using the system include:
  • Cadell Trading
  • HBW Food Service
  • JL Stewart & Son
  • Midwest Food Service
  • P.E. Foods
  • Quality Food Services
  • Southern Food Service
  • Superstock Food Service
  • Whitsunday Food Service