Warehouse Management Solutions. Email: info@macs-software.co.uk

Chiltern Cold Storage Group

John Davidson

Managing Director

Key Factors

“We liked its full traceability, reporting capability and thorough audit trail, which is exactly what we need in our industry.”


Chiltern Cold Storage Group




United Kingdom

Chiltern Cold Storage Group


Chiltern Cold Storage Group Ltd. in Peterborough is one of the UK’s fastest-growing temperature-controlled storage and distribution companies. Over the last 25 years the company has worked with major retailers, foodservice distributors, industrial manufacturers, independent supermarkets and exporters throughout the UK. It also serves the pharmaceutical and medical market. Chiltern was the first temperature-controlled logistics company in the UK to achieve the British Retail Consortium global standard for storage and distribution.

The scenario

Back in 2009, Chiltern Cold Storage was a substantial third-party logistics company working for many global food and drink companies, providing frozen, chilled and ambient storage, distribution and re-packing services throughout Europe. But as the company grew it became clear that its existing warehouse management system was struggling to keep pace with its requirements and was potentially preventing the company’s natural expansion. It was also vitally important that the system gave accurate audit trails to meet the company’s need for food safety and accountability.

The solution (part 1)

John Davidson, the company’s managing director, chose to switch to the MACSwms warehouse management system. “We liked its full traceability, reporting capability and thorough audit trail, which is exactly what we need in our industry,” he explained.  “We need to know, not only where every case is at any given time, but how and when it got there and who was responsible.  That’s exactly what the audit trails in MACSwms allow us to do, right down to the individual person who handled the order.”

The solution (part 2): adding voice operation

To improve efficiency and accuracy even further, Chiltern chose to upgrade its MACSwms to voice operation in 2018. “I had seen voice operated WMS elsewhere,” said John.  “It’s easy to read all the literature but it’s only when you see it in operation that you realise that it really does work.”

Chilled working environments, where operators are necessarily dressed in heavy, bulky clothes, are perfect for voice operation.  They increase accuracy and improve productivity while, according to John, create a much better working environment.  “The operators like to use it, it’s been great,” he said.

The benefits

Over the intervening years Chiltern Cold Storage has experienced periods of rapid growth and continual change, always supported by its MACSwms.

Today Chiltern operates from four sites, each with its own temperature zones ranging from -22°C to ambient. Managing stock between these zones is essential and one key feature of MACSwms is its ability to provide alerts if an operator mistakenly attempts to put a product in an incorrect zone. “This is great support for the operators and a reassurance for me,” said John. “A product might be intended for a chilled location one week and a frozen location the next.  MACSwms makes it harder for mistakes to happen.” The system also calculates the distribution shelf life, so whatever the destination, the information is correct.

As well as improving the environment for warehouse staff, the introduction of voice operation improved efficiency at Chiltern even further.  One key area of business for the company is the supply of food to the UK’s airlines.  John said that voice operation allows data to be extracted easily for pallet manifests and Advance Shipping Notices (ASN), which helps his company to provide accurate information about individual pallet contents so that airlines know where to find the items they want for each flight. “It allows them to react much more quickly,” he said.

Robust operating procedures and strict housekeeping keeps existing customers happy and new ones rolling in for Chiltern. Meanwhile, MACS Software continues to work with the company to ensure the needs of its demanding customers are met. “We have built up our reputation by responding to customers’ needs, said John. “We have been successful because our operational efficiency has allowed us always to provide good customer service.  We take pride in what we do.”

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The warehouse staff are now able to pick the items, confirm their order and produce dispatch labels directly themselves without having to wait for them to be processed by the office.

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John Davidson

“We liked its full traceability, reporting capability and thorough audit trail, which is exactly what we need in our industry.”

Rated 4.5/5