Design and implement the integration of production and packaging at Serious Foods
Benefits of the new system include:
- Production scheduled using end product requirement forecasts
- Less management time taken in forecasting, planning and implementation of changes to production and more accurate data used throughout the whole production process (no manual input for different stages and fewer product code errors made).
- Packing line management synchronised with production
- Fewer disruptions and stoppage time in the factory
- More notice given to production staff to make adjustments to schedules should a problem be predicted in the line
- Reduced overtime wages cost
- Better and more timely fulfilment of customer orders
Background to the project
The manufacture of the fruit juice products involved 3 stages: mixing, pasteurisation and packing using several packing lines. The packing lines were the easiest to schedule due to constraints at the mixing stage, however basing production on the packing line schedules meant that there was a lot of inefficiency in the whole production system. Sometimes packing lines couldn’t be used because of insufficient product. There was a lot of stoppage time to switch between lines and staff needed to work a lot of overtime to complete the production.
Sales forecasting and production planning systems were separate in the organisation. Within the production process the systems used to plan the packing were separate from the product mix plans, which meant a lot of management time was needed to manage production in the factory.
Because the end product has a short shelf life, it is also important to balance the need for more efficient production through larger batch sizes yet ensure product write off due to reaching its’ expiry is minimised.
“Our manufacturing was hugely complex. We couldn’t find a better way, a data-driven way, to change our production. Argenta delivered exactly what we wanted.”
Solution in detail
Using simulation modelling, better scheduling was possible, matching the end product requirements to the mixing stage of manufacture, which was the stage that had the most constraints. The packing lines could then be scheduled to match the production levels. The project was extended to cover product forecasting so that projected customer demand could be matched and the whole process from forecast to finished product could be monitored in the same data management system.
“We chose Argenta because we were unable to solve the issues we had with an off the shelf product, we knew we needed a bespoke solution. Argenta provided an IT centric solution and their people really understood supply chains, the food industry and good manufacturing systems, three factors that were really important to us.
When we first hired Argenta our manufacturing was hugely complex, which allowed us to be very flexible. We had pieces of kit for the product manufacture and checking it was safe for human consumption feeding nine filling and packaging lines.
It resembled the old ‘pipes’ screensaver with lots of interconnectivity. This meant that we couldn’t find a better way, a data-driven way, to change our production. We were grateful to Argenta for their flexibility in working with us, as our requirements changed, to deliver exactly what we wanted.”
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