R&G Herbs take a fresh approach to paperless food processing
Supplying a wide variety of fresh herbs to leading retailers and food service businesses, food processor R&G Herbs has numerous challenges to deliver the best quality produce to customers all over the UK. At its new multi-million pound processing facility and head office in Farnborough, R&G Herbs’ entire herb preparation and packaging process will be centrally controlled by SI’s specialist software.
Removing several different paper and manual input processes, SI has designed the solution for modular and logical implementation by production section, from raw materials in, right through to quality assurance, processing and order picking.
Replacing legacy software, the SI solution which is based around our Integreater ERP software, has also been seamlessly integrated with a major retailer’s stock and order system.
Commenting on its move from paper to real-time data, R&G Herbs general manager Dean Fowler said: “Dealing with the processing and packaging of fresh high value produce is particularly challenging, as you can be importing produce in advance across many continents, to meet the high standards of same day order to delivery customers.”
Benchmarks and KPI reporting on demand
“The reason we chose SI was really down to its knowledge of the food processing industry and its consultative approach. A key factor for me was that the business only works within the food sector, so just like us, they are thinking about food every day.”
Dean Fowler, General Manager, R&G Herbs
“Following an initial study of our operation, where SI worked with our team and equipment suppliers to understand our processes and the data capture capabilities, we put together a functional requirements document. This identified a comprehensive enterprise-wide solution that would be seamlessly implemented, across our operations over an agreed period of time.
“By having a clear understanding of the timeframes for this process, which focused on delivering one phase at a time and included the training of our key staff, we were able to ensure business continuity throughout the process.”
Real-time data capture across all production processes
The SI solution for R&G Herbs involves the capture of data from several key processes:
- starting with intake checks, temperature checks and verified quality assurance tests (click here to read more about how SI’s traceability software meets the challenges of the fresh produce sector)
- continuing with stock allocation to either benching prepping areas or automated machine packing lines
- then, integrating the packaged goods into stock, verifying them against forecast or live orders
- finally, incorporating picking, packing and goods delivery.
Dean: “Throughout the implementation process, we have mapped out the time and cost savings associated with each phase. Looking at data input alone, we are now saving 8 hours a day for each process, which equates to 280 hours for a five day week. We can also for the first time identify yield from our benching process. But what has really been eye-opening is the real-time view we now have of the business, allowing us to set benchmarks and KPI’s that can be accurately reported on at any time of the day.
More effective production line management
“By knowing exact data, like how many bags we can pack in an hour, we can manage our lines much more effectively, switching them out using the centralised SI system. In practical terms, this means we can ensure we never short a customer, or have an error with product packaging or labelling.
“Equally, by understanding our throughput, stock levels and the quality of products from our various suppliers at the touch of a button, we can make in-the-moment ordering decisions and react much better to trends.
“For example, using the system we can increase our raw material orders for a particular product, such as Lemon Grass. This ensures that our key supermarket customer can to keep its shelves stocked across the UK in response to new trends in home cooked food.
By deciding to implement each module in an organised process, we have learnt each step of the way and made informed decisions that have improved the overall solution.”
Dean Fowler, R&G Herbs.
“So even though we are only at the beginning of our integration journey with SI, we have already collected a substantial amount of usable data to spot trends and improvements we can make in our business. I am definitely glad we made the decision to implement each module in an organised process, as we have learnt each step of the way and made informed decisions that have improved the overall solution.”
R&G Herbs is now taking advantage of SI solutions to expand its customer base, increasing its reach and profitability.