Pcdata modernises and optimises logistics process

EUROPE’S largest retailer of vitamins and herbal food supplements once again chose Pcdata, the expert Dutch Logistics Analysts, to modernise and expand their “Pick to Light” order handling system at their main UK Burton on Trent distribution centre.

Nature’s Bounty NBTY is a global supplier of nutritional supplements with 650 Holland & Barrett shops in the UK and over 100 De Tuinen stores in the Netherlands. Their distribution Director, Mark Kendrick reflected on the excellent service experience they had enjoyed with Pcdata over the years since their first system was installed at the turn of the century. He referred to the NBTY mission statement “highest quality products on time, first time, every time”. ‘The Pcdata “Pick to Light” system is the most crucial component of our Logistics process where a system stoppage just cannot be tolerated.’

The “Pick to Light” system is used to select orders for single items for their stores, whereas they use Voice Picking for the simpler picking of web orders and bulk picking (large items and full cartons).

There was a 5 week window to complete the installation. With the exception of the flow racks Pcdata as System Integrator, replaced all the old hardware. The Pcdata solution has the advantage that it can be implemented onto older existing racking. With in-depth knowledge of the Holland & Barrett operation, Pcdata optimised their processes at the same time upgrading “Distrib PTL”, the order picking software, to the latest version with a view to handling their plans for future growth. The number of picking zones was expanded from 24 to 28 with the capacity to handle almost 4000 SKU’s at single item level, up from their previous level of 3300 different items.

This major installation programme was minutely detailed and closely monitored on an hourly basis. These preparations paid off with a smooth implementation which their customers did not even notice.

As their System Integrator Pcdata optimised the logistics process by incorporating further new features. An integrated lid-closing machine, an automated in-line label applicator and a sorting unit for all picked orders were introduced replacing hitherto manual operations saving time and streamlining the process. Once collected in the order picking zones on the mezzanine, the order cartons are conveyed on belts to the ground floor and sorted into different trolleys prior to transport to the stores.

Pcdata’s sorting system shoots the order totes automatically onto the correct chute. Ten trolleys, enough for 10 stores, are filled per chute. After scanning an order carton, a display lights up above the correct trolley telling the operator which store the order should go to.

The display indicates the status of the order. When completed the trolley is replaced and a new order released by the “Pick to Light” system. Only those orders for which locations have been allocated in the sorting zone on the ground floor are collected by the system.

Reflecting on the successful conclusion of this very large project, Mark Kendrick said “six permanent staff members have been reduced to two. Walking distances have been dramatically reduced with the work area much smaller, and we now have a markedly more structured system.”



Dear Pcdata customer or relation,

We would like to give you an update from Pcdata point of view on the fast changing circumstances related to the worldwide outbreak of the Corona (Covid-19) virus. Despite the current restrictions related to Corona, we would like to confirm that all activities of Pcdata are operational and that we continue to support and serve our relations wherever possible.

We developed a number of guidelines and rules so we can contribute the virus spreading as little as possible. In general, we are following the actual guidelines and instructions from the WHO and (local) governments. We would like to inform you on how we are using these practically to assure ongoing support and project activities.

As an overall strategy, we are trying not to delay or postpone project implementations and deliveries; if necessary alternative means of implementation will be considered. This means that we are trying to do as many activities remotely as possible (i.e. communication, meetings, project activities, software configuration, training, go-live and support). We intend to reduce traveling and on-site activities to a bare minimum; only for activities where it is strictly necessary to be on-site we may make an exception.

We substantially increased stock for Pcdata hardware items. Production capacity has been increased, where possible, on the overall supply chain for our components, to reduce the risk for potential parts shortages on the short and medium term as much as possible.

Our service desk will continue to be available 24 hours, 7 days a week, as you are used to.

Please consider the fact that most of our Pcdata employees will work from home offices. Every employee has received a set of instructions and guidelines. In case of a rare visit to site, we kindly ask you to share your internal guidelines in advance.
We would like to share a number of internal Pcdata guidelines;

Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as a cold or a light flu! This also applies, if one of your family members, or anyone you have been in contact with, has any of these symptoms
Employees that are at increased risk, such as sensitive health, will work from home in any case, even if they don’t have any symptoms
Even if you do not have symptoms, please work from home as much as possible
If you do not have any symptoms, and wish to work from the office, please strictly adhere to the following instructions;
Do not shake hands
Wash your hands frequently and follow the instructions shared
Maintain social distancing, at least 2 meters
Customer visits, supplier visits, or visits from any other external parties will be reduced to a bare miminum
Frequent and increased cleaning and disinfecting of rooms will be conducted
We ask our employees to deploy the same sanitary precautions when they’re at home and to try to adhere to the social distancing instructions for the time being

We hope to have informed you properly with this. Once more, we would like to reassure you that our goal is to maintain service levels and not to delay or postpone any projects; instead we are trying to use alternative methods and means to be able to offer 100% quality within the restrictions that apply.

Should you have any questions or remarks, please do not hesitate to contact your main Pcdata contact person for further information.

All the best to anyone affected. Get well soon.

For everyone else; stay healthy!

Your Pcdata team