Largest case-ready meat plant in North America relies on SI
For more than 12 years Vantage Foods and Systems Integration have worked closely together at Vantage’s meat processing plants in the USA and Canada.
Each of its four state-of-the-art food processing facilities relies on Systems Integration’s specialist food production planning software at Vantage Foods.
In November 2013 Vantage Foods opened its new service centre in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. At 162,000²ft, this factory is the largest of its type in North America and provides a full case-ready fresh meats program for Ahold – one of America’s largest retailers.
When this new facility opened, Integreater, SI’s specialist food production planning software was live from day one.
Build a live production plan in seconds
With years of experience working within the industry, Rob Stephens, CEO for SI (Systems Integration), recognised the requirement for specialist food production planning software specifically designed just for the industry.
“In addition to the usual production planning issues, fresh food processors face a number of unique challenges associated with the perishable nature of their products and associated short deadlines. This often results in hours of planning preparation every day.
“To solve this problem, we’ve worked with food manufacturers, like Vantage, to develop our unique food processing planning software. With Integreater in place, anyone can build and update a live plan in seconds.”
Hundreds of orders, thousands of items… planned by 05:30 each day
Kerri Castillo, Scheduler at Vantage Foods, explains:
“Camp Hill receives hundreds of orders and processes thousands of items each day. We have to work to very short deadlines when producing fresh perishable finished goods using fresh perishable raw materials. This is why planning is complex and difficult.”
“The first step is to work out which orders need to be despatched that day. We then we have to identify if there were any finished goods on stock with enough shelf life to meet these orders.
“Next, we calculate what has to be produced. To get production underway we have to calculate exactly what raw materials and packaging will be required and by when.
“All of this information has to be relayed to everyone by 5.30am.”
“We have hundreds of products in our range, some of which are made from the same raw materials but have to be processed on different production lines and at different times.
“Delivery-wise, our fleet of vehicles depart at various times during the day to reach depots in different parts of the country. This means we may have to stagger production accordingly. To add to the pressure, we often receive last minute changes and top up orders.
“Spreadsheets become out of date as soon as they are created and Production requires updated plans every time there is a change. Integreater® not only allows me to plan and monitor in real time but, if the customer requests an amendment to the order I can adjust it whilst it is in progress on the line.”
Real-time visibility and one version of the truth
“I can see my entire plan on one screen and have complete visibility of Forecast, Pre and Final orders. I can add forward production or adjustments easily. I can also click on any item for detailed associated data such as which stores’ orders contribute to a product’s production figure. I’m able to make changes, add orders, move products onto different lines or even insert breaks with a click of the mouse. Integreater will automatically calculate and display any knock-on effects these changes will have instantly.”
“Creating my daily plan is so easy. Integreater automatically calculates everything we need to achieve 100% order fulfilment while using raw materials and labour in the most efficient manner.
“Production line supervisors and crew have a real-time view of the plan through screens on the factory floor. They can view progress and are immediately alerted to any changes, additions or bottlenecks. With a clear view of the history of these bottlenecks and issues, our management team can make more informed decisions about how to resolve problems and identify areas for further investment.”