Alan Howard

New wireless solution brings cost savings for Alan Howard

What problems did they have and why did they need NCS Support Services?

Alan Howard’s central warehouse in Stockport is responsible for controlling all inventory distributed to both individual branches and customers.  As a busy wholesaler, accurate stock control is vital to meet customer expectations.

They previously operated with a paper-based stock system with the data then entered again, manually, into the main computer system.

The drawbacks of this were:

  1. The process was open to human error from the mis-keying of information, which would result in stock inaccuracies.
  2. Inaccurate stock levels – inventory was not updated in real time, so stock levels were not always being reported reliably.
  3. Re-entering information from the paperwork to the computer system duplicated the workload for staff.
  4. Inefficient – warehouse staff were constantly walking around the large three storey facility each time they wanted to check stock levels on the computer network.

The company really needed to move forward to a system where warehouse staff could work anywhere in the building and update the stock control system in real-time.

What solution did NCS Support Services provide?

NCS Support Services helped Alan Howard move to a more mobile and real-time way of working to increase operational efficiency.  This was done with the introduction of a Netgear wireless solution covering the entire building with full Wi-Fi coverage.

The installation covered the 25,000 sq. ft. warehouse which is spread over three floors.  NCS installed 12 wireless access points (APs) with a central controller, so all APs could be deployed and managed centrally.  The end result meant staff could update the stock control and accountancy software in real-time from tablet devices mounted on their forklift trucks anywhere in the warehouse.

NCS Sales Director, Jeremy Santhouse adds, “For a wholesaling business of this size with high levels of inventory, accurate stock levels are vital for delivering customer expectations.  The business was being held back by their existing system, so we wanted a simple solution that let Alan Howard eliminate duplications and errors, and let them see stock in real time.”

Anthony states, “We chose to work with NCS as they were professional and I felt they would do the best job without over charging as they were open and approachable.”

What does the future hold for Alan Howard?

The new wireless network has streamlined the operation of the warehouse, delivering the following instant improvements:

  • Improved stock levels and a reduction in ‘out of stock’ items
  • Clear inventory shelf locations reducing picking journey times and ensuring selection of correct products
  • Visibility of stock levels in real time
  • Quicker invoice times
  • Eliminating the need to store paper trail audits


Moving forward, the company now has a strong wireless infrastructure with the ability to further expand on software capabilities if required as the business grows.

Anthony advised that we would strongly recommend this project to any companies in a similar position.  The initial outlay is quickly recovered through the time and cost savings.

Interested in how NCS can help your company?

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