Fox’s Biscuits Streamlines Production and Service Levels After Deploying FuturMaster Supply Chain Technology

Fox’s, the £250 million UK biscuit company, has improved its forecasting, manufacturing and promotions planning practices after implementing new supply chain technology from specialist vendor FuturMaster. The software has helped the manufacturer boost its service levels and manage up to 150 deliveries a week to retailers including Tesco, M&S and Aldi, while customer service levels have increased from 96% to 99% on over 30 million cases sold each year.

Since starting out in 1853 in West Yorkshire, Fox’s has made around 1,450 billion biscuits from its three manufacturing bakeries in Batley, Kirkham and Uttoxeter. Enjoyed across the UK, Fox’s Biscuits are also exported to Europe, North America and the Far East. Since 2011, Fox’s has been part of the 2 Sisters Food Group, the UK’s third leading food manufacturer.

Batley has eight ovens and up to 26 lines operating, using 9,300 tonnes of flour and 6,000 tonnes of chocolate to produce 25,000 tonnes of biscuits every year. Average weekly production at Uttoxeter is 1,000 tonnes or 50,000 tonnes per annum. Kirkham is the home of the Rocky biscuit range, producing 1,700 chocolate biscuit bars per minute, equating to over 10 million per week. Kirkham also produces 10 million party rings each week – stacked on top of each other they would reach 50 miles high.

Overall, Fox’s makes around 400 million packets of biscuits a year and relies on FuturMaster’s forecasting technology for more accurately planning production needs and managing peaks and troughs throughout the year. For instance, preparing popular assortment ranges (which account for around a fifth of sales) for Christmas starts as early as January, when important ingredients like chocolate are frozen (chocolate can’t be stored in a warm environment). The company employs more than 2,000 people, with many extra hands brought in between June and November to prepare for peak production during the run up to Christmas.

It works closely with all the major UK retailers, as well as many abroad, to plan weekly requirements so that shelves remain fully stocked with the best selling ranges. Popular brands include Rocky, Classic and the hugely popular tinned assortments. Fox’s provides biscuits across a range of price points to ensure broad consumer appeal. The company has also grown its own-label business, which, given the significant number of extra units sold with various retailers’ own labels on the packaging, now accounts for around half its annual sales.

The Challenge

Fox’s product range presents many challenges for demand and supply planning. On the demand side, there are over 350 branded and own-label products and many promotional and seasonal lines.  The products are distributed through a range of trade channels including export and independent distributors and all UK retailers.

The supply side is no easier. In addition to well-known packets such as Crinkle Crunch and Rocky, a high proportion of the volume is made up of Christmas assortment tins and packets. These have up to 20 different biscuits inside, each of which needs to be produced and ready for assembly at exactly the right time.  If you consider that some of the components are made from plain biscuits baked in a different site, and others are made on the same production lines as the finished products, then you are starting to understand the complexity of the Fox’s production process.

Prior to FuturMaster there was poor demand visibility from a time-consuming forecasting process. The planning process took the best part of a month to complete due to the multiple iterations and assumptions within the spreadsheets. This was viewed as a significant business risk.

Planning promotions (with retailers) has also become an important part of the day-to-day business. FuturMaster’s software helps evaluate the impact of, say, running a two-for-one offer by determining what would be the resulting sales uplift and the extra volumes that need producing. It also shows when would be a good time to do these promotions based on analysing production line requirements and demand.

“It’s crucial for us to produce exactly the right volumes and get sell-through with retailers,” says Bill Dales, Demand Planning Controller at Fox’s. “The demand planning software predicts what’s needed in terms of sales units to shift for the coming days, months or year. This helps us plan ahead and make sure we can deliver on what’s promised.”

Given limited storage capacity and the perishable nature of foodstuffs, the company clearly doesn’t want to produce too much too soon, so relies on data to help manage the production line as well. For example, to meet increased demand on certain types of chocolate biscuits, Fox’s might need to split production between different machines and run for an extra eight hours before cleaning and switching to other ingredients. It can also use the data to see if it meets its human resources needs and to plan the buying of raw materials.

Most retailers now share forecasts on a daily basis. A team of eight people at Fox’s use FuturMaster as a process tool and for trend analysis. They can then fine-tune weekly booking forecasts, using retailers’ Epos data to go back two to three years to work out what sells, at what price, and so on. These forecasts are used for procurement purposes and to set budgets for purchasing and labour requirements up to two years ahead. With around 3,500 live forecasts to deal with each week, FuturMaster’s production and inventory management tool ensures the process is optimised.

The Benefits

The role of the central demand planning team has changed from one of administration to one of being a strategically important function to the business. For production planning, the process has moved from being a process taking many days to one in which a new plan can be created within 90 minutes of a new forecast being available.

Since deploying the FuturMaster software, forecast accuracy (measured as the Mean Absolute Percent Error, or MAPE) has improved from 48% to 74%, customer service levels have improved by 3%, while the number of products experiencing service issues (defined by a shortage above 10 cases in any month) has fallen by 65%.

“Before, around a fifth of products had service level issues. Now it’s down to just five percent a month,” says Dales.

Whilst boosting supply and maintaining service levels to retailers at an impressive 99 percent, Fox’s has also managed to bring down working capital and reduce costs for the business. Wastage has been minimised and storage costs kept down. With a shelf life of around 40 weeks typically for its biscuits, Fox’s has reduced its average stock holding to just two to three weeks.

“Over the last few years stock has moved to the right place to ensure a streamlined supply chain,” concludes Dales. “And thanks to significantly improving the accuracy of our forecasts, we’re now able to maintain ideal safety stocks and we’re running on an optimum level right now.”

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Lighthouse Systems a Finalist at the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards

Lighthouse Systems, the UK-based Manufacturing Execution System (MES) vendor, is a Finalist at the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards, 2017, in the category ‘International Business of the Year’.

In the last 5 years, Lighthouse Systems has substantially grown through the continued collaboration with existing customers on one hand, and the on-boarding of new customers and larger MES/MOM projects on the other. This was made possible by a successful development strategy, underpinned by continued investment in people, processes, and technology.

In that period, the Lighthouse office team has grown by 20% in the USA, whilst our office space in Singapore has doubled to accommodate growth in the Asia Pacific region.Lighthouse Systems has opened an office in France and created a satellite office in the Nordic region. The year 2016 saw further investments in developing its presence in the Middle East. In regions where the company is a not directly present, Lighthouse Systems has continued to develop partnerships with local MES software integrators, such as in Israel, the Netherlands, and South-Africa.

Some of the recent implementations of Shopfloor-Online MES include projects for a French cosmetics packaging company in Mexico, a world-class food and beverage company in New-Zealand, a large privately owned German automotive firm in the USA, already using Shopfloor-Online MES at 19 of their factories worldwide.

From a product perspective, the breadth of functionalities of the manufacturing execution system Shopfloor-Online has been expanded further with the addition of plant maintenance, energy management and workflow modules.

Lighthouse Systems, which had already pioneered MES as a web-based application, is now working on a new version of Shopfloor-Online that is fully browser-independent, opening new possibilities for manufacturers to operate the MES application over the full range of devices, PC, tablet and mobiles, on any operating system.

“We are very pleased our efforts are being recognised by the region where we are head-quartered. These are exciting times for Lighthouse Systems and the MES market. We look forward to servicing manufacturers who strive for world-class operations even better in the coming year with Shopfloor-Online,” says Paul Barber, Director.

The Gatwick Diamond is home to a vast range of businesses, which span all sectors of the economy, from household names to niche companies, and from multinationals to sole traders. The Business Award Winners are those businesses or people who have shown innovation and inspiration in their work, and have demonstrated a real commitment to this world-class region.

Visit www.lighthousesystems.com for more information.

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Aon Launches ‘Brexit Navigator’

Aon plc, a risk and insurance adviser to clients across the food and drink sector, has launched Brexit Navigator, a bespoke and proprietary three step solution designed to help organisations quantify the impact of Brexit risk exposures, and redesign risk management and risk financing structures. Brexit Navigator is supported by an interactive tool that presents scenario-based insights for each of the EU Four Freedoms: Goods, Capital, Services and People, which help assess the impact of Brexit.

Grant Foster, Managing Director UK of Aon Global Risk Consulting, comments: “Extensive conversations with clients from different sectors and geographies over the past four months have given us a unique perspective on companies’ Brexit concerns.  These insights, combined with our deep and extensive expertise in risk advisory and solutions, have enabled us to develop Brexit Navigator.”

Brexit Navigator is a three step solution, suitable for organisations globally that have operations and business interests in the UK:

  • Baseline, step one – Evaluates just how Brexit-ready an organisation is, mapping out the potential risks and opportunities.
  • Balance, step two – Realigns the risk management and insurance programme to adapt to the new organisational risk tolerance and appetite.
  • Horizon, step three – Tests the changes introduced to an organisation’s programme to help ensure resilience for the future.

Eddie McLaughlin, Chief Commercial Officer EMEA, Aon Global Risk Consulting, says: “Brexit Navigator is a great example of what we do best at Aon; an innovative solution created by experts who have listened to what our clients need.  Like all emerging risks, the sooner an organisation can plan for an eventual outcome the better. Brexit Navigator will help clients measure and respond to risks and opportunities created by Brexit.”

To find out more about Brexit Navigator, view a short video and request a complimentary demo of our interactive tool, please visit: www.aon.com/BrexitNavigator.

Visit http://www.aon.com/brexit/ to access Brexit news, insights and materials from Aon.

 

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WeFarm Reaches Over 100,000 Users and Secures £1.3 Million Investment

WeFarm, a peer-to-peer agtech network that enables small-scale farmers to access and share vital agricultural information even without internet, has reached over 100,000 users and secured £1.3 million in seed funding. The round is led by LocalGlobe, a UK-based venture capital firm focused on seed investing, whose other investments include Citymapper, Lovefilm, Moo, TweetDeck, TransferWise and Zoopla. The seed round will go towards bringing the benefits of WeFarm to thousands of new farmers.

Approximately 500 million small-scale farmers around the world provide over 70% of the world’s food. However, up to 90% have no access to the internet and they are often isolated and lack access to even basic agricultural information and new ideas. With the world’s population projected to grow from 7 to 9 billion by 2050 and climate change an entrenched reality, increased pressures on the global food supply chain will only persist. Farmers and businesses without access to problem-solving technologies and data are at risk of being left behind.

WeFarm has developed a peer-to-peer mobile network which enables small-scale farmers to access crowdsourced information and advice from other farmers, even when offline. By sending a free SMS, farmers can receive accurate answers to any agricultural queries. The service uses machine learning technology to connect incoming questions to those users on the system who have the most relevant knowledge. Topics discussed on the network range from how to stop baby chicks from dying to where to find a market to sell onions.

WeFarm launched in 2015 and now boasts a community of over 100,000 farmers across Kenya, Uganda and Peru.  This is an unprecedented rate of growth considering the ‘off-grid’ nature of their end users, and to date they have used the service a huge amount; sharing more than 15 million pieces of information. In 2015 WeFarm was part of the Wayra UK accelerator in London, which supported the business in its growth trajectory.

wefarmconnectWeFarm Founder & CEO, Kenny Ewan, says: “Connecting farmers to relevant advice from other farmers is a completely new approach. The majority of information delivered to people living in poverty is top-down, whereas we are using a crowdsourcing model to unlock generations worth of grassroots knowledge, ideas, and experience among farmers. This is why WeFarm has already secured more than 100,000 registered members in an industry where less than 0.1 % of mobile apps ever reach even half that number.”

LocalGlobe partner Saul Klein says: “WeFarm is building and empowering a community of farmers, dramatically improving their experience of obtaining advice. In doing so, WeFarm has created an SMS and web-based network that’s enjoying real user growth and engagement. We believe that this network, whether delivered on feature or smart phones, will, over time, become an important channel for farmers into the wider food supply chain. We are thrilled that WeFarm has reached over 100,000 users and look forward to working with Kenny and his team.”

Kenny Ewan continues: “In five years time we want to connect 100 million small-scale farmers to our network. There is still massive global inequality around access to information, but by designing services for basic mobiles phones you can create social impact on an unprecedented scale as well as develop a highly profitable social business.”

As a result of WeFarm’s crowdsourcing approach, the firm is also generating unique user data on the world’s supply chain and commodities, as well as on populations in the developing world who are yet to have internet access. WeFarm generates revenue by supplying actionable insights to businesses, NGOs and governments. The impact of this important data could be extremely significant in the fight to eradicate poverty and hunger in the developing world. Using this data, governments can track major issues such as disease and drought, and businesses can save millions of pounds by preventing crop diseases from ravaging their supply chains.

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Edrington Awards Key Contract to Elite Control Systems

Elite Control Systems Ltd, a leading provider of systems integration and engineering support services, has been awarded a major contract by Scotland’s leading premium spirits company Edrington for its new distillery and visitor centre for The Macallan whisky, one of the world’s leading luxury Scotch malt whiskies.
 
Nestled in the parklands of The Macallan Estate in Speyside, the contemporary distillery promises to be, according to Edrington, “a site of major architectural significance,” as well as a huge boost to tourism and the local economy.  With architects Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, designers of the Millennium Dome and Pompidou Centre, commissioned to design and build it, the new facility will not only “complement the natural beauty of the area,” but be highly innovative and environmentally sound.
 
Edrington is relying on Elite Control Systems to write the full process software control package, and provide ongoing support services following commissioning. This combination of technology and 24-hour technical support will ensure that the automated control systems that Edrington uses to operate the new plant function properly, so that production remains on track and the visitor centre remains open to welcome thousands of visitors all year-round.
 
edringtonnewdistillery2Whisky Distillery Project From ‘Ground Up’
For Elite Control Systems, the project represents the challenge of providing a fully operational software control system for a distillery from the ‘ground up’.  “It’s very exciting that a brand new distillery of this size, sophistication and calibre is being built in Scotland,” says Ewan McAllister, Technical Director for Elite Control Systems. 
 
“The fact that Elite Control Systems were selected by Edrington to provide a full software control system for the entire facility illustrates that we have earned our reputation as a recognised leader in providing control systems for the whisky industry.  Clearly, Edrington are confident that we will deliver the large, complex system that this high profile facility demands.  It’s an honour to have been given this opportunity to contribute to what is certain to become a testament to the quality and craftsmanship of The Macallan brand, and an outstanding experience that will attract visitors from around the world,” adds McAllister.
 
Prior to installing the software control system on-site in Speyside, Elite will make certain that it conforms with Edrington’s specific requirements.  Initially, the control software will be simulated, tested and fully documented at Elite’s facility in Livingston to ensure a smooth commissioning period, with minimal programming required on-site.
 
After the facility is up and running, Elite’s dedicated Support Services division will provide around-the-clock support of the new distillery’s state-of-the-art control system. Should any hardware or network problems arise, Elite Control Systems engineers will be on standby to respond immediately to rectify the situation so that operations will resume as soon as possible.  To make certain that the system functions properly, Elite will also conduct regular preventative maintenance checks, minor system modifications and training of Edrington technical staff.
 
Improving Efficiencies For Edrington
For the past six years, Elite Control Systems has worked alongside Edrington to ensure that its process control systems operate reliably, so that production continues at optimum levels. For example, last year Elite Control Systems helped Edrington improve efficiencies at a large tank farm located at its Great Western Road facility in Glasgow, Scotland.  Elite carried out an upgrade to the control system that was being used andby doing so, eliminated the need for operators to manually route batches for blending and preparation.  These functions are now carried out within the new SCADA & PLC control platform, which also allows for real-time monitoring via an internal web portal. This effectively allows management to view tank levels, transfers, final product and routes, as required.

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Pukka Pies Selects IFS Applications 9

IFS, the global enterprise applications company, has announced that Pukka Pies, the independent UK pie manufacturer, will implement IFS Applications™ 9 to improve planning and support business growth. Founded in 1963, Pukka Pies is an independent family company based in Leicestershire. It makes over 69 million pies and pasties every year. Traditionally selling to outlets including chip shops, butchers, bakers and sporting venues, Pukka Pies has transitioned into retail and now sells to most major supermarkets and local convenience stores.

The move into retail has caused greater variances in production volumes however, and Pukka Pies was looking to replace its legacy business software with a system that could more closely measure its production processes and inventory management across its UK operations.

With IFS Applications 9, Pukka Pies has access to a single streamlined ERP solution that will enhance traceability of its supply chain, improving its ability to manage production. IFS Applications 9 will reduce the amount of duplicated paperwork while also enabling immediate reporting on company balances and inventory, a significant improvement for auditing processes.

Pukka Pies needed a new system that would future-proof its operations, improve planning, and cope with business growth. IFS Applications offers a full breadth of ERP capabilities meaning that instead of integrating additional third-party software, Pukka Pies can implement further IFS solutions to adapt to growth or changes to the business.

“IFS Applications is a great fit for Pukka Pies; the integrated payroll and HR systems were a useful addition for us, and something we didn’t see in other vendor offerings. Ensuring user buy-in was also important, as this is the first ERP system we have implemented. The system was received well internally thanks to its intuitive user interface that was easy to navigate,” says Andrew Wormald, Business Systems and Process Manager at Pukka Pies. “In IFS we have found an organization with a similar culture to us and, with a product like IFS Applications that is subject to continuous research and development, we’re excited about the potential it will enable for our business.”

IFS UK Managing Director Paul Massey adds: “Pukka Pies is a great example of a British family-run business that is looking to future-proof its operations. IFS Applications will improve efficiencies across the organization, helping it to meet current demands and provide a solid foundation for Pukka Pies’ business growth.”

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Herbst Software Opens New Regional Cork Office in Ireland

Herbst Software, a leading provider of business management and ERP software, has opened a brand new office space to accommodate its national growth and future expansion plans.  The new office space is located in Carrigtwohill Shopping and Business Centre, Carrigtwohill, County Cork, and will provide capacity for increased sales as well as professional services operations for the south-west region of Ireland.

Orson Herbst (pictured), Sales and Distribution Director for Herbst Software, reinforces this sentiment, stating: “Cork was the logical option for our expansion plans, being the largest commercial hub in Ireland outside of Dublin. Many regional businesses are seeking to solve fundamental issues such as the movement of goods, credit control, and the simplification of internal business processes. We wish to provide such companies with the proper tools to help them advance to the next level.”

The new office is being established to create new jobs and to distribute key company resources across the country in accordance with greater demand for business management software. For further information visit www.herbstsoftware.com.

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Jungheinrich Expands Portfolio to Include SAP EWM Solutions

An ever growing number of companies are relying on SAP standard software to manage their processes along the entire logistics chain. In response to increased customer demand for manual and automatic warehouse management solutions that run under SAP, Jungheinrich has incorporated SAP EWM into its logistics system solutions. As part of the SAP Supply Chain Management system (SAP SCM), SAP EWM provides comprehensive process support for any type of warehouse.

Jungheinrich has thus decided in favour of an even stronger partnership with SAP, and can now completely connect its customers’ warehouse processes and technology – even in the most complex cases – within the context of SAP EWM. This is in addition to its proprietary Warehouse Management System, which already interfaces with SAP. This expanded IT expertise puts Jungheinrich in a position to provide the ideal warehouse technology and IT solutions for any type of warehouse – regardless of the size or degree of automation. Jungheinrich’s many years of experience and comprehensive expertise in planning, implementing and servicing logistics systems make it a one-stop shop for holistic, coordinated service packages.

“By taking SAP EWM into our portfolio of Warehouse Management solutions, Jungheinrich now offers its customers an even more flexible, adaptable solution for their logistics processes, especially for those customers who are committed to a 100% SAP IT strategy,” comments Dr Markus Heinecker, Managing Director of Jungheinrich Systemlösungen GmbH.

This certification represents a widening of Jungheinrich’s already outstanding process and implementation competence to encompass the SAP EWM logistics solution. The customer thus benefits from consistent support in the introduction of SAP EWM, from the initial planning stages and implementation right through to after-sales service from Jungheinrich.

CAPTION:

By expanding its portfolio and extending its SAP expertise to encompass SAP EWM, Jungheinrich has further extended its range of tailored solutions for effective, integrated logistics processes.

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Lucozade Ribena Suntory Targets Energy Savings with Wonderware

Lucozade Ribena Suntory, one of the leading soft drinks businesses in the UK and Ireland, has partnered with Human Machine Interface (HMI) leaders Wonderware UK & Ireland, to monitor and improve its energy performance. Formed in 2014, Lucozade Ribena Suntory is part of Suntory Beverage & Food Europe. The company’s UK site is a 53 acre facility based in Coleford, Gloucestershire, where it produces Lucozade Energy, Lucozade Sport, Lucozade Zero and Ribena. The factory produces over 1.2 billion bottles of drink each year.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory has partnered with Wonderware UK & Ireland as part of the company’s goal to reduce its factory’s energy consumption by 5% year-on-year. In order to make reductions the company required a complete breakdown of site energy usage, so looked for an expert driven energy management solution. Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s mission is to reduce its impact on the environment and work in harmony with people and nature. The partnership with Wonderware will help the company understand its energy consumption in more detail, supporting the business in achieving this goal.

The company has now implemented Wonderware System Platform, which can be attached to Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s individually metered systems to convert the raw energy data into actionable information, allowing LRS to better understand its energy consumption patterns and costs and to identify potential inefficiencies.

lucozaderibenaukplant2compressedBuilt like an operating system for industrial applications, Wonderware System Platform provides configuration, deployment, communication, security, data connectivity and is capable of connecting to hundreds of field devices and plant systems.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory is also using Wonderware’s Operational Intelligence Software dashboards to raise awareness of energy consumption and promote behavioural change. The real-time feedback and live usage data on the dashboards will allow team members to see how their individual actions can have an impact on energy use across the site. This focus on employee behaviour change has already worked for Lucozade Ribena Suntory in the field of health and safety. The company recently announced 365 days without Lost Time Accidents, mainly as a result of individuals taking ownership of health and safety on-site.

Gary Burford, Energy and Sustainability Manager at LRS, says: “Energy management is a continuous improvement activity and we’ve already undertaken in excess of 26 energy saving projects in the last four years.  To make further improvements, we need to understand where we are using energy across the site and improve the visibility and accessibility of that information to allow us to make changes.”

He adds: “We believe the graphical interfaces and real-time data offered by the Wonderware solutions will engage our people, giving them an immediate awareness of their impact on energy usage and empowering them to make the small changes that can, over time, deliver big results.”

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Tunnock’s Expansion Aided By Food IT Experts at Sanderson

“The administrative burden for any food manufacturer is huge these days,” says Bruce Reidford of Tunnock’s. He was responsible for choosing the Sanderson food manufacturing IT system, today known as UnityF8, on which Tunnock’s has expanded its business. “We just could not have coped without UnityF8,” he says. “It would have been impossible to manage our expansion into global markets and to manage the regulatory demands. Sanderson has understood the way we operate, our values and our needs.”

Reidford’s role sees him in charge of administration, finance and IT, and he also has involvement in operational matters within the factory.  “Without the support of sophisticated technology like UnityF8, we’d need an army of clerks running around carrying out this work,” he says. Tunnock’s uses the software to manage every aspect of the organisation, from ordering and receiving raw ingredients, to managing production and sales ledger processing, through to final despatch and distribution.

Sanderson3August2016Meeting the Needs of Customers

Tunnock’s customers range from the major supermarkets to independent retailers – this diversity could pose challenges in terms of meeting the needs of customers large and small. However Reidford says “We’re able to balance conflicting requirements very easily with UnityF8. We schedule orders through the system and attach priority listings to them. This also helps us at the other end of the line, with transport scheduling and loading.”

At goods-in and despatch, Tunnock’s uses radio data terminals (RDTs) which are linked directly to the Sanderson system. All goods are bar-coded and the RDTs enable Tunnock’s to locate both raw materials and finished goods quickly and efficiently. In common with most manufacturers, Tunnock’s is continuously striving to ensure its processes are as effective as possible. A key part of this improvement drive is using UnityF8 ‘s integrated factory floor data capture functionality.

“With increases in costs such as energy and raw materials, we have to know exactly what is happening on the factory floor, where any waste is – both physical and process – and where the best areas are, so that we can learn from that. This is about reducing downtime, reducing costs and raising efficiency. We know we can be more effective by cutting waste, using labour more efficiently and automating certain lines.”

Sanderson2August2016New Developments

Reidford continues: “The new developments to UnityF8 enhance our capability and ensure that we can remain one step ahead. As the regulatory demands become greater and greater, we have to look at the best way of meeting those. Often the reporting requirements and structures change, but UnityF8 means we can cope with all of that very easily. Sanderson are very responsive and an excellent business partner.”

As a specialist business management system for the food industry – or what you may call a food enterprise resource planning (ERP) system – Sanderson UnityF8 provides control and visibility across the organisation. Its inherent flexibility has proved particularly crucial to Tunnock’s, as the system has been able to grow and expand to help the business drive forward into new international markets.

“I looked at several solutions and I was confident from the start that Sanderson was the best fit for our business,” he recalls. “UnityF8 is a very effective, reliable and dependable product. But it’s not just about software. We wanted true commitment from an IT supplier to work with us to solve our business problems. That was as important as the software itself. We’ve grown with Sanderson and we’ve been delighted to have them as our business partner.”

For further information contact Sanderson on Tel +44 (0)333 1231400 or visit www.sanderson.com/food.

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Road Map to the Smart Meat Factory

The key steps meat companies need to take to achieve a smart factory in line with Industry 4.0 will be the major focus of a series of Meat Business Days being held by food IT software specialist CSB-System in Karlsruhe, Germany from 12th – 16th September.

As well a series of presentations from industry experts from Fraunhofer IAO, Multivac and CSB-System, the event will also include tours of state-of-the art meat producers in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, each of whom has already taken great strides in becoming a smart meat factory.

The Meat Business Days event is dedicated to innovative technologies and solutions for meat production of the future.  The focus will be on software, automation and image processing solutions to make the digital transformation a successful one.

With business models, value-added chains, processes and consumer behaviour all becoming increasingly digitally connected, more efficient and more transparent, the event will examine which investments in digitalisation and automation are necessary to fully exploit the potential of the intelligent factory and the benefits these will bring to the meat industry.

For the factory tours, participants can choose to visit Wolf Wurstspezialitäten GmbH, EDEKA Südwest Fleisch GmbH or Fleischhof Rasting GmbH in Germany, ProMessa BV in the Netherlands; or Veviba S.A. in Belgium.

Detailed information on the Meat Business Days can be found at www.csb.com/meatbusinessdays.

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IMHX 2016 Showcases the Latest Materials Handling and Supply Chain Solutions

Logistics and materials handling touch everyone’s lives – whatever is purchased be it online, in store or delivered from a wholesaler. That’s why IMHX, the UK’s leading logistics exhibition taking place at Birmingham’s NEC from 13th to 16th September, is a must-attend event.

Sponsored by financial services provider Investec, IMHX 2016 will reflect every aspect of 21st century intralogistics. Present at the show will be over 100 suppliers of forklift trucks and associated products and services, over 30 supply chain and warehouse IT providers, in excess of 40 suppliers of automation solutions, over 25 companies working in packaging and well over 60 general materials handling exhibitors.

The regional heats of the RTITB Operator of the Year return to IMHX in 2016. This is held every three years to find the best forklift operator in the country.

The Design4Safety awards, organised by the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA), will also be part of IMHX 2016. The aim of the awards is to highlight the importance of product or service design in improving safety standards. Enter by visiting http://www.imhx.biz/design4safety.

Demonstration Zone and Supply Chain IT Village

There will also be a Demonstration Zone where manufacturers will be putting their trucks and equipment through their paces, showing their capabilities and versatility.

IMHX2July2016IT solutions are playing a growing role in the supply chain and in response to these developments for the first time IMHX will feature a dedicated Supply Chain IT Village. Among those exhibiting will be Proteus Software which specialises in providing Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).

David Bugden of Proteus says: “IMHX is the event for anyone involved in logistics and supply chain and this is our fifth time attending. The new IT Village provides a great platform for technology providers to meet potential customers and showcase new innovative developments.”

Future Skills Zone

Also for the first time ever this year at IMHX we are pleased to announce a Future Skills Zone highlighting the careers available to young people in Britain’s logistics sector, and featuring leading employers from across the sector.

IMHXLogoJuly2016The Future Skills Zone at IMHX will show the brightest and the best that they don’t need to choose university as their route to a good career – and that a vocational route can take them into highly skilled managerial positions.

Leading companies across the UK are crying out for ambitious and motivated young people to take on interesting and challenging roles in logistics and allied industries and those participating in the Zone include leading forklift truck manufacturers Toyota Material Handling, and Linde Material Handling, whose apprentices will be stripping down and rebuilding a vehicle, Crown and Jungheinrich.

IMHX3July2016Within the Future Skills Zone there is also a Future Skills Presentation Theatre which will feature a series of presentations from young aspiring logisticians who will provide insight into what a logistics career path can offer. Presentations from XPO Logistics and Widdop & Co are already scheduled, with others being confirmed shortly.

The former BITA Academy, now the new Forklift Training Engineering Centre (F-TEC), the industry’s training centre for apprentices and engineers, will also be providing information on apprenticeships. 

Aftersales Director for Linde Material Handling UK, Mark Sullivan, says: “As a business, it’s so important for us to invest heavily in future generations, and create a highly diverse and skilled workforce. Participating in the Future Skills Zone enables us to demonstrate the role we can play in harnessing talent. We’re delighted to be part of it.”

As you can see there is plenty going on over the four days of the show – and with over 400 exhibitors expected to attend, IMHX 2016 is on track to be the biggest ever. To find out more go to www.imhx.net.

Posted in Conferences & Exhibitions, IT, Logistics, Materials HandlingComments Off on IMHX 2016 Showcases the Latest Materials Handling and Supply Chain Solutions

Smart Solutions From AutoCoding Systems

AutoCoding Systems has recognised that there is a growing requirement to communicate with and collect data from a wide range of devices, as well as interface to various business information systems to enable factories to work smarter.

As a global provider of automation solutions to factory production and packaging areas, AutoCoding Systems has developed a suite of modular software products to facilitate processes such as device integration, data collection and integrity, code deployment and packaging verification.

AutoCodingJune2016The entry level web-based AutoCoding product can be used to set-up and control packaging line devices, such as coders, barcode scanners and inspection equipment, irrespective of brand. The centralised application automatically deploys secure set-up and message data to one or more packaging line devices, thereby reducing downtime, as well as eliminating the risk of coding and packaging errors. The resulting business benefits include increased speed and reliability of line set-up, reduced job changeover time, reduced risk of human error and the ability to manage complex packaging formats.

The AutoCoding suite of modules gives additional functionality and greater scope for the collection of data. For example, the Paperless Quality module automates both in-line and off-line routine quality checks. The AutoCoding line terminal can be configured to individual requirements creating various methods for capturing data which can then be used for reporting purposes. Details of all QA checks are consolidated into the AutoCoding audit log resulting in a reduction in the amount of physical paper records that have to be retained and subsequently stored.

The latest concept developed using the latest software engineering technologies is the AutoCoding IIoT Gateway. IIoT technology provides consistent mechanisms for cross-application and cross-device communication. This enables the collection of rich data and statistics from production line devices which previously could not easily participate in the movement towards a connected factory floor. The AutoCoding IIoT Gateway aims to reduce the cost and increase the effectiveness of integrating users, data and applications with data and equipment on the plant floor.

Posted in Automation, IT, PackagingComments Off on Smart Solutions From AutoCoding Systems

If Not Now – When??

By David McNamara of Verify Technologies

In today’s fast paced world of increasing legislation, tighter margins and shorter lead times, there are serious questions that you, as business owners and managers, need to ask yourselves. Why are businesses still operating with paper-based systems and how can we trust that our traceability can be managed securely on hand written paper? Why do management spend half their week wrestling with spreadsheets just to extract some meaningful data? Why is it, when 60% of all turnover is consumed by materials, we don’t know how much inventory we have on a day to day basis? Why don’t we know the cost of each batch? How are we not be able to put an exact figure on waste?

All of the above are things that your business should be able to tell you almost instantly. These facts should be at your fingertips. Without the information, how can you control your business efficiently and effectively? These are very real issues, which ultimately show us that paper-based systems are by their very nature, inefficient!

You Need to Invest in Your Information Machine Now

You need a complete business management Solution. One that connects all processes into one solution. It is only when all your business processes are connected with one solution that true automation can be achieved, simply because all your processes (Sales, Production, Purchases, Quality, Training, and Accounts) can now talk to each other and exchange information, reducing the amount of work required by each person. These systems don’t replace jobs. They enhance jobs.

These systems do not cost a lot anymore. In fact these systems pay for themselves. With the dawn of cloud computing, there is one solutions out there that is available to every business for the cost of one part time employee. A complete business management system that will optimize all your processes.

Now, if you could employ one more person, just one more person to do all of this. An employee who managed all of the above for you, generated instant reports, managed real time inventory, Batch Costings and reduced waste. An employee who worked 24/7, 365 days a year. Never called in sick, never leaves you.

You would bite my hand off for that employee!

So why not employ Verify Technologies to help?

At Verify Technologies we look to form lasting partnerships. With us you pay one low cost monthly subscription (equivalent to a part time wage). In return we provide;

  • The Verify Technologies software platform
  • Project management
  • On-going support and maintenance and updates as they become available
  • Operator training and support

We essentially become your outsourced I.T department. So why wouldn’t you make Verify Technologies your next employee? Visit www.VerifyTechnologies.com/food-traceability to find how to improve efficiency, reduce cost and waste and make your life a little easier!

 

Seerys Bakery Receive BRC – AA rating using Verify Technologies System

VerifyTechnology2April2016Sharon Buggy (Financial controller) & Karolina Ryczkowska (Inventory controller): “We needed to bring our business into the 21st century, because all our processes were very manual. We discovered we were losing a lot of money through wastage. We chose Verify because they were the most cost effective and most importantly they integrated with our accounts package. And I Suppose thrust was a big thing. We liked them.

“Verify Helped us to get much greater control over our processes. We have a Quality Portal, Sales portal, Production portal. Which shows us in real time all the processes. So we can control it much tighter. We can trace any batch code and see what it is doing inside the business. We can control our processes much tighter.

“The help and support from Verify was tremendous! Before Verify everything was manual. Now we use tablets and handhelds which frees up a lot of resources and peoples time. We have plans to integrate our equipment with the system for greater traceability and accuracy. Obviously our plans are to continue with Verify and develop with Verify in the years ahead.”

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Manor Farm Counts its Chickens With Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Sysco

Food and beverage manufacturers can no longer succeed by fine-tuning a relatively straightforward process of pushing as much through the production and supply chain operations as efficiently as possible. They must be flexible to handle a much more complex product line and set of sales channels that appeal to specific niche buyers and their lifestyles.

To enable employees to succeed in this more complex environment, IT can ease the burden. Comprehensive and industry-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) and surrounding IT infrastructure tools are not only important, but increasingly available to even smaller companies.

Significant Gaps in Data Flows

Most food and beverage manufacturers currently have significant gaps in data flows that result in waste and errors. These can lead to ineffective innovation, inadequate traceability of product sources and handling issues, and slow responsiveness to market shifts.

Sysco2March2016Food and beverage companies that evolve to a business process utilising more integrated ERP tools together with mobility, business intelligence, and collaboration tools can improve business performance and seize opportunities to gain market share.

Simply put, to stay ahead of the competition, food and beverage manufacturers must evolve with their partners to become more innovative, sustainable, and responsive.

Adaptable ERP Solution

Working with some of the largest companies within the food and drink industry for many years, like Manor Farm, Sysco has created a highly adaptable ERP solution for the food and drink industry.

In that time Sysco have built up a knowledge of the challenges the industry faces, and from that Sysco have developed a range of ‘best practice solutions’ for customers who actively want to reduce costs, manage performance and grow the business in new or existing markets.

SyscoLogoMarch2016Sysco’s experienced, dedicated ERP specialists understand the needs of the various niche sectors, whether it be meat, dairy, poultry, drinks, feed, seed, processing or distribution. Sysco’s team has worked across all of these sectors and understands all the pressures and complexities.

Sysco is the largest reseller of Microsoft Dynamics in Ireland and have the largest dedicated team. Sysco’s experience and insight helped the following Irish companies forge ahead to greener pastures – Avondale Foods, Foyle Food Group, Gleeson Group, Ampersand, Odenburg Engineering, Dawn Farm Foods, Dale Farm – saving money and improving productivity with their choice of ERP/Manufacturing software.

Contact Sysco to discuss your requirements today on Tel +353 1 6768900, E-mail marketing@sysco-software.com or visit www.sysco-software.com.

Posted in IT, Processing, Supply chainComments Off on Manor Farm Counts its Chickens With Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Sysco

Principal Logistics Technologies Wins Major Warehouse Management Software Contract With Dale Farm

Dublin-based Principal Logistics Technologies, a warehouse management solutions provider, has won a major contract with Dale Farm in Cookstown, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, to provide a warehouse management system to manage raw materials into production, bulk product from production, through to distribution and incorporating its entire supply chain.

Dale Farm is part of the United Dairy Farmers Group, a UK dairy farmer co-operative with five world class centre’s of excellence throughout the UK – Dunmanbridge (cheese and milk powders), Pennybridge (fresh milk, cream and juice products), Dromona (butter and dairy spreads), Rowan Glen in Scotland (yogurt and probiotic drinks) and Kendal in Cumbria (yogurt, desserts and cottage cheese) exporting to over 45 countries worldwide.

“We first worked with Dale Farm in 2012 on their Cumbria site. We deployed a barcode scanning handheld warehouse management solution integrated to their MS NAV ERP system. In 2014, we were selected again to deploy a high volume voice picking solution for their Pennybridge site. We are delighted that such a significant dairy manufacturer continues to adopt our solutions and it is a really good endorsement of both our products and staffs expert abilities,” says Joe O’Shea (pictured), Commercial Manager of Principal Logistics Technologies.

Stephen Walker, IT Applications Manager at United Dairy Farmers/Dale Farm, comments: “Dale Farm are investing up to £40 million into the Dunmanbridge cheese production facility at Cookstown, County Tyrone. We identified the need for an application that can manage our requirements now, but can also be adopted to cater for future growth. Central to our needs was an application that can interface with our existing ERP systems, weigh scales, label printers and then in real-time facilitate system directed flow of materials into and from production, giving us yield calculations and full traceability by day code and batch. After an extensive search we once again choose In-DEX WMS as its flexibility and functionality are hard to beat.”

“Cheese production offers unique challenges given the fast and harsh nature of the production environment and also the storage duration,” says Joe O’Shea. “Chemical, biological & grading processes occur over its life and that affects the stored products characteristics. These need to be maintained and recorded at all times. Additionally the product is often held in external third party sites meaning that there is interfacing to these third party systems, including the in-house manufacturing and ERP system.”

“All activities across the site will be managed by In-DEX from raw material into production, finished goods from production, grading & retail cheese cutting. We will have full traceability across the entire supply chain, yield management and live visual dashboards across the site and all our third parties facilities,” adds Stephen Walker.

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Trace One and Musgrave Group Renew Contract to Drive Further Private Label Success

Trace One has announced that Irish retail leader Musgrave Group has renewed its agreement for Trace One’s Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution. Musgrave leverages Trace One PLM to effectively manage its private label ranges from ideation and specification management through to final packaging and approval. As owner of one of Ireland’s most trusted brands, SuperValu, Musgrave has established a strong reputation for local provenance and quality. The continuing deal will help Musgrave work with multiple local suppliers and seamlessly manage their brands, while preserving their reputation and growing consumer trust.

Own brand products are an important part of our business,” says Pádraigh Cronin, Group Own Brand Manager at Musgrave. “Since implementing Trace One PLM we have seen consistent 6-10% year-on-year growth in own brand sales, which now contributes 30% of Group revenue. Trace One PLM has proven to be the ideal solution for this success, allowing us to innovate and expand ranges with a strategic focus on quality and local provenance. We have built on the value of our partnership with Trace One and look forward to working with them further in the future.”

Musgrave has 259 SuperValu stores in Ireland and operates several retail chains across Europe, including Centra, Dialprix and Daybreak. Musgrave first chose Trace One PLM in 2011 to help manage its new and existing product development projects. In particular Musgrave used Trace One PLM to develop and launch the SuperValu private label range, now comprising 1,800 lines, which in 2013 contributed to SuperValu being named as Ireland’s most reputable brand. Trace One PLM has given Musgrave greater control and visibility over its product development process: consolidating product specifications across various divisions and providing a single view and format to monitor the content, labelling and status of all goods it sells. The complete transparency offered by Trace One PLM allows Musgrave to respond quickly to any potential problems with products in real-time, collaborate more effectively with local manufacturers and producers and champion provenance and quality to consumers.

“We are very pleased to be renewing our relationship with Musgrave, owner of some of the most trusted household names in European retail,” says Shaun Bossons, EVP Global Business Development at Trace One. “Trace One powers the world’s largest network for the FMCG industry with more than 20,000 companies worldwide, helping them to easily collaborate with partners, comply with the latest regulations and exceed industry standards on quality and provenance. We believe this gives us the perfect base of knowledge and talent to work with Musgrave, to help them collaborate more effectively with partners and further engage with consumers through innovative new ranges.”

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Iglo Savours Salmon Software Treasury Management System

Iglo Group, Europe’s largest frozen food business, has implemented a cloud based Treasury Management System (TMS) from Salmon Software. Iglo Foods, which had revenues of €1.4 billion in 2014, produces, markets and distributes branded frozen food in 11 European countries. Its core brands include Birds Eye, Findus (Italy) and Iglo.

“We needed to upgrade to an automated treasury management system from Excel spreadsheets which were proving to be too cumbersome, time consuming and unreliable,” comments Gareth Roberts, IT Business Solutions Manager at Iglo Group. “We were also in the process of being acquired so needed a faster, more accurate and auditable perspective on our treasury positions.”

The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application, which Iglo has implemented, is part of the Salmon Treasurer TMS suite which is also available as an on-premise offering. Salmon Treasurer helps corporate treasurers to manage foreign exchange, debt, money market, treasury, banking transactions, forecasting, derivatives and many other related treasury activities.

“We operate in 11 countries across multi-currencies so in particular we needed greater transparency of our FOREX as well as our debt positions,” adds Monika Molnar, Treasury Manager, Iglo. The new software is integrated to its banking systems and includes Salmon’s EMIR (European Market Infrastructure Regulation) reporting module. “The Salmon team has been great to deal with – highly supportive and flexible.”

John Byrne (pictured), CEO, Salmon Software, which is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, adds: “As one of the few remaining independent TMS specialists, we offer companies like Iglo the most comprehensive and flexible TMS currently available and at an affordable price.”

Independent Salmon Software, which has specialised in treasury management solutions for three decades, works with other blue chip corporates across many industries including in the food sector, Glanbia and ABP Food Group.

Salmon Treasurer is available across a range of modules including cash management, debt and derivatives, credit facilities, money markets, electronic payments and trade finance to provide a complete solution to managing a treasury operation. It can be deployed as an on-premise or cloud computing TMS solution. For further information visit  www.salmonsoftware.com.

 

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Millers is Latest Business to Invest in Integreater®

Systems Integration (SI),  a software house dedicated to providing solutions for the food processing industry, has announced that its latest customer is Millers of Speyside. The abattoir has invested in Integreater’s livestock management solution – including bookings, lairage management, a grading station and livestock tracker.

Integreater is a modular, factory ERP system for food processing businesses. It connects the factory floor and office – working seamlessly, no matter how many sites a business has, or where they are located. Because it’s modular, it can be used to target key and complex areas, or manage the processor’s entire business. Manufacturers decide how much to invest and when. The software can be integrated with existing systems and is flexible enough to adapt to any changing needs and business growth.

Millers, which is based in the Cairngorm National Park in the Scottish Highlands, slaughters cattle, sheep and pigs. Supplying both the food service and retail sectors, the business is a member of Quality Meat Scotland’s ‘Specially Selected’ Scotch Meat scheme.

Millers has a reputation for quality produce from a natural environment, famed for its superior grass fed livestock. Supplying its products to businesses around the world, Millers’ meat is served in some of the UK’s finest Michelin starred restaurants.

Millers chose to invest in Integreater® because it offered many more business benefits than their existing solution. As the Scottish meat sector’s leading software supplier, management were confident that SI would be a strategic partner to drive their business forward, with the potential to help maximise productivity across the site.

Visibility

Millers no longer have to rely on limited, retrospective data. They now have live visibility and are able to locate the information they need in seconds, as well as run reports with a click of the mouse.

Everybody now has a live view of what is happening throughout the process and it’s not just confined to staff on site. Business owners can also access this information when they are away from the office.

Control

Integreater’s livestock tracker is a central reporting application which gives staff more control over the process. Everyone can see progress against expectation, allowing any issues or delays to be immediately identified and swiftly dealt with.

Management can view throughput efficiency and categorise carcases according to customer specifications. This means that they can be used most effectively to get the best value from each one.

Analysis

This information can also be used in the longer term. For example, management can now analyse supplier performance. It’s easy for them to see which farmers are providing the right quality and quantity to meet their preferred breed and confirmation specifications. This information helps them to make procurement decisions based upon historical supply analysis.

Traceability

Increased visibility also means that Millers is able to quickly and easily demonstrate traceability. Finding information for customer requests and audits used to take hours, now it takes seconds. The ability to do this is particularly important when meeting the demands of quality accreditations.

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SI Technician Takes on Three Peaks Challenge

SystemsIntegrationSeptember2015A Support Technician at Systems Integration, a software house dedicated to providing solutions for the food processing industry, has just completed the gruelling Three Peaks challenge. Elliott Fraser climbed the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales in just 24 hours, raising nearly £400 for Unicef.

After climbing Ben Nevis, the tallest peak at 1344m, 25 year old Elliott trekked to the top of Scarfell Pike, before reaching the summit of Snowdon to complete the challenge. The event, which took place last month, totalled 26 miles of walking, ascending nearly 3500m.

Elliott comments: “As a father of two, I wanted to take on a challenge for a charity that’s close to my heart. Unicef makes a difference to the lives of children around the world, including those that have been affected by disasters such as the Nepal earthquake. I’m proud to help such a worthy cause.”

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Kanes Foods Takes Fresh Look at ERP With IFS Applications 9

Kanes Foods, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of fresh prepared foods, has chosen IFS Applications 9 to replace its legacy systems. Kanes Foods produces a range of washed and ready to eat salads, prepared vegetables and stir fry vegetable mixes as well as fresh salad dressings and stir fry sauces.

Founded in 1990, Kanes Foods now has an annual turnover in excess of £100m and supplies over 3.2 million packs of fresh produce to the UK’s leading supermarkets every week. In order to support its rapid growth, Kanes Foods needs to update its current landscape of disparate systems with one, fully integrated ERP solution.

“With IFS Applications 9 we will have a system that supports the business through the entire supply chain – from procurement, raw material handling, production and final shipment to our customers,” comments Mark Harris, Production Director at Kanes Foods. “In addition, IFS Applications 9 will allow us to replace a number of stand-alone systems, such as quality management, plant maintenance, payroll, HR and time & attendance giving complete visibility across the business.”

KanesFoodsStirfryKanes Foods operate in a fresh produce environment, with much of the product arriving, being processed and dispatched within the same day, as a result speed and accuracy of data capture is imperative. That is why the deployment of a number of IFS mobile solutions will be critical to the implementation project. Kanes Foods will use IFS Warehouse Data Collection for the reporting of all movement of goods throughout the process. In addition, IFS’s mobile solution will be utilised by over 100 maintenance and quality technicians – to allow real time reporting on the shop floor.

Paul Massey, Managing Director of IFS Europe West, says: “we are excited to welcome Kanes Foods into our growing list of food customers. It is encouraging to hear that the breadth of the IFS solution, along with our ability to deploy functionality to a mobile workforce, were key factors in the company’s decision to work with IFS. We look forward to a long and successful partnership.”

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Nestlé Deepens Digital Innovation Commitment in Silicon Valley

Nestlé is strengthening its digital innovation presence in Silicon Valley to enhance partnerships with start-ups and leading technology companies, and further develop relationships with consumers by providing them with innovative online experiences and services.

In spring 2016, an enlarged Nestlé digital team – with additional staff drawn from the company’s marketing and technology groups – will move into a new office co-located with swissnex, as part of a coordinated Swiss presence within the ‘Swiss House’ at Pier 17 in San Francisco Bay.

“Two years ago we successfully established a Silicon Valley Innovation Outpost and we look to build and expand on that effort through this engagement with swissnex,” says Patrice Bula, Nestlé Executive Vice President and Global Head of Marketing. “We are committed to working more closely with major technology platforms and start-ups for possible collaborations to help us engage with consumers in more meaningful ways.”

Nestlé will also rotate both marketing and technology talent through the centre on short-term assignments to focus on technology trends, tools and development methods, and open innovation models to solve business problems.

Christian Simm, founder and CEO of swissnex San Francisco, says: “In a bigger space with a one-in-a-kind visibility at Pier 17, we will create more impact for our partners by building a truly collaborative ecosystem, working with a vibrant community of creative minds, and sharing unique insights into disruptive innovation and trends in Switzerland and the US.”

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New director for Olas

martinaMartina Garvey is now a director of Olas Software Training and Development, Ireland’s only accredited SAP Education Partner, based in Sandyford, Dublin. Martina has been a senior project management professional with the company since 2012 and specialises in the FMCG sector where her clients include the Kerry Group and Irish Distillers.

Martina holds a B.Sc. Degree in Information Systems from Trinity College Dublin, the National Diploma in Computer Programming and IT from Carlow Institute of Technology and the Diploma in Accounting and Finance from ACCA Ireland.

Established in Ireland since 1981, Olas employs 14 staff and delivers Ireland’s only SAP accredited training programmes as well as bespoke IT project management and IT corporate training to clients in food and drink, pharma , semi-states and government. Its parent company is Assima plc, a global technology and services company specialising in increasing the performance and productivity of users of large enterprise systems.

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Ensuring the Safety and Security For Your Premises, Staff and Products

VisitorManagementLogoJuly2015Visitor Management Limited, based in Long Eaton, has the systems that will help you ensure safety and security for your premises, staff and products.

Food and drink industry production facility operators are encouraged to review their site safety and security procedures and controls in light of the potential for tampering or other malicious, criminal or terrorist actions.

VMEasy Visitor Management System

VMEasy is a fast and simple to use browser based visitor management system. It is has the flexibility to meet the requirements of your organisation, no matter what number of visitors and contractors pass through your office reception.

The system will work on any Windows platform, including mobile and handheld devices and being browser based means there are no software installation issues. The ‘Touch Screen’ login option makes the system suitable for both staffed and unstaffed Reception areas.

Door Access Control Systems

On any working day you will have external and internal door(s) open which poses a security risk to your property, assets and staff.  An automated access control system allows you to manage who has access in and around your premises, and at what times. The VMAccess system from Visitor Management Ltd fully integrates with the VMEasy system for a fully co-ordinated safety and security system.

For more information on Visitor Management products visit www.visitormanagement.co.uk or call on +44 (0)115 9464 741.

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Food Manufacturer Van Geloven Implement TXT Demand, Supply Planning and Scheduling Solution as Part of the Journey to Best Practice S&OP

Van Geloven develop and produce Abrand and private label frozen snacks and meal components for the retail and wholesale sector in Europe. There are 6 strong brands within the portfolio: Ad van Geloven, Van Lieshout Snacks, Welten Snacks, The Bourgondier, Mora and Hebro. The company has about 800 employees. Van Geloven are based in the Netherlands. Sales to the Dutch market are done through a Marketing Sales Unit (MSU) in Tilburg and to the Belgium market by a MSU in Mol. Production is executed at four locations: Tilburg, Helmond, Maastricht (all in NL) and Mol (BE).

On request of Van Geloven, EyeOn (Business planning and forecasting Consultants) evaluated the current demand and supply planning process including the planning tools within Van Geloven. EyeOn concluded that the current Van Geloven processes and systems left a lot of room for improvement. The main conclusions:

  • Lack of focus in sales forecasting on certain products and customers.
  • No focus on demand planning; only a forecast on the lowest level (article-week). Many fluctuations in the demand plan on the short term. Insufficient communication about the demand plan with sales and production.
  • Very limited functionality of the current demand planning tool (Excel based).
  • Lack of focus in supply planning on certain products. Many fluctuations in the short term plan.
  • Supply planning and detailed scheduling is done entirely manually and therefore only 5-8 weeks ahead. Limited long-term capacity planning (including the inventory planning).
  • S&OP is only used as an operational planning meeting instead of a tactical one (insufficient focus on future).
  • There is a necessity to deploy professional tools for forecasting, demand planning, and supply plan­ning. In some factories there is also a need for a real scheduling tool.

Points of Improvement

From this evaluation, Van Geloven defined five points of improvement to lead to the following deliverables:

  • New forecast and demand planning process to:
    • provide the right information at the right time
    • facilitate the correct alignment between demand (sales) and supply (production).
  • Selection of the best fit for purpose forecasting tool, including the imple­mentation and training of user(s).
  • New supply planning process for supply planning and scheduling, including:
    • correct setting of planning param­eters and usage.
    • supply planning KPI dashboard.
  • Tactical S&OP process that de­scribes roles and responsibilities, standard agenda and standard set of reports.
  • Selection of the best fit for purpose supply planning tool, based on the functional requirements regarding sup­ply planning and supply scheduling.

In order to deliver against the five points of improvement Van Geloven embarked on a journey which is still in progress today. A critical part of that journey was the selection and deployment of a Demand and Supply Planning tool. Van Geloven chose TXT.

TXT2July2015With the help of EyeOn, Van Geloven carried a detailed vendor selection process. This started with a long list of potential vendors who responded to an RFI. Following this a slightly shorter list of vendors were asked to present their offerings for the purpose of final shortlisting. Next, Van Geloven issued some ‘Use Cases’ to the remaining vendors.

The ‘Use Cases’ detailed specific situations and challenges that Van Geloven dealt with on a day to day basis, vendors had to demonstrate how they would deal with these scenarios. Following the presentation of the ‘Use Cases’ Van Geloven then had site reference visits before final proposals and contract.

Three Critical Areas

So why were TXT selected? TXT were the strongest in three critical areas, functionality, people and budget.

“Specific food industry functionality has to be a given, as do budgetary constraints, but people can make or break a project. What impressed us most about the TXT people was they understood our business, listened and would bring a lot of experience to the project,” says Barbara Van den Berg, the Van Geloven Project Manager.

“In the ‘Use Cases’ they brought solid solutions to the issues we presented them with. It was clear from the outset that we were going to be able to work well together as a team and deliver this project. That is exactly what has happened” continues Van den Berg.

Specific Challenges

To help overcome specific challenges, Van Geloven are implementing TXT’s Demand Planning, Supply Planning and Scheduling solution.

The TXT solution supports Van Geloven in the demand planning process and the generation of high quality forecasts in an environment where up to 40% of demand is promo­tionally driven. This is further compli­cated by identical products being sold in different markets with different iden­tifying codes per country, and when on or off promotion. TXT brings all of this together as part of a collaborative process in the short term forecast, and produces a statistical promotional forecast in the longer term where market intelligence is lacking.  “Producing a high quality forecast against our volatile promotional demand was a key factor in the success of this project and TXT delivered a solid solution” comments Van den Berg.

The Demand Plan

The Demand plan is an input to the Supply Planning and Scheduling, which is also managed within TXT. The solution generates an optimal plan to meet demand and balance in­ventory within the real capacity, shelf life and other constraints within a multi-site and multi-level food manu­facturing organisation. This includes managing a considerable amount of inter site demand and short term man power in a volatile environment. Plans cover a 26 week operational horizon, a 24 month long term horizon and are produced in a timely manner.

TXT3July2015The software also provides detailed scheduling by day, hour and minute, up to a 12 week horizon (dependent on site). Orders within the multi stage production processes are placed in feasible sequence by the TXT algorithm, accounting for due dates, changeovers, capacity and preceding/ succeeding orders/operations.

Key Objective

The key objective of the schedule is to meet all planned due dates while minimising down time, costs and respecting all defined constraints. Operators are also defined for each production line giving Van Geloven visibility of labour requirements on a line by line, day by day, hour by hour basis. The TXT solution therefore covers and joins up the whole Supply Chain from long term grouped level forecasts down all the way to produc­tion schedules by SKU, by line, by hour and minute.

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Creating an Efficient and Sustainable Food Industry Through Data

The 2015 Food and Drink IT Summit will be held on 7th of July in the Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham.

The theme of this year’s event is ‘Creating an Efficient and Sustainable Food & Beverage Manufacturing Industry Through Data’.

The move towards a smart food business is increasing. More and more data is available throughout the food factory and across the whole food chain. This availability of data and the means to analyse it and effect improvements is leading to increased efficiencies, reduced waste, lower costs, increasing productivity etc.

The 2015 Food and Drink IT Summit will bring together key stakeholders and regulatory bodies from food and beverage manufacturers, food retailers and food service companies, plus key suppliers of software, hardware, consultancy services etc that are pushing the limits in increasing the efficiencies of the UK food and beverage industry through the collection and intelligent use of data.

The speaker line up is drawn from senior management throughout the food and drink industry who have delivered improved performance through the intelligent use of data to improve areas such as logistics and supply chain, traceability, quality & safety, production, human capital management, waste reduction, energy management etc.

If you are interested in creating a smarter, more efficient and more sustainable food industry, join your industry peers for a engaging and thought provoking event which will stimulate debate and help you to make the correct decisions to improve your food and beverage operations.

Key topics will include:

* Inventory management,

* Planning and scheduling,

* Data capture,

* Process control and automation,

* Sustainability,

* IT Infrastructure,

* Time management,

* RFID. Labelling, Coding,

* Electronic Data Interchange,

* Logistics & Supply Chain,

* Recipe Formation,

* Traceability,

* Quality and Safety,

* Energy Reduction,

* Waste Reduction,

* Production Optimisation,

* Warehouse Management,

* Plant Management,

* Innovation,

* Lifecycle Engineering,

* Laboratory Information Management Systems,

* Customer Relationship Management,

* Human Capital Management,

* Business Intelligence,

* Business Transformation,

* Manufacturing Performance,

* Resource Planning.

Whether you work for a food and beverage manufacturer, retailer or foodservice company and are interested in learning how to improve your business through data, or whether you are a supplier of software, hardware or consultancy services, then this is the event for you.

ITFoodSummitLogoIn addition to hearing from an impressive line-up of speakers from food and beverage manufacturers, retailers and foodservice companies that are at the cutting edge of utilising data in their business, delegates will also have the opportunity to network with the leading food and beverage manufacturers, retailers and foodservice companies in the UK and Europe.

The Food and Drink IT Summit 2015 will also provide a forum for visitors to be able to meet with the leading suppliers of software, hardware and consultancy services that are helping food and beverage companies create a smarter and more efficient food business.

Register now for limited time Free Entry to the Conference & Expo at www.itfoodsummit.com/delegatesregister/.

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Mondelez International (Minworth) continued commitment to Health & Safety.

Mondelez International (based in Minworth, West Midlands) are committed to the safety of each and every employee, visitor and contractor.

 

After installing the Sinica Visitor and Staff Management System the detailed process of ensuring that all visitors to site are fully aware of and abide by Site Health, Safety and Hygiene rules has now been made more efficient and vastly simplified.

 

MONDELEZMondelez were particularly impressed with the Sinica Emergency Roll Call feature, which in the event of an emergency generates a comprehensive report of all persons on-site and immediately sends it to all Mondelez Fire Marshalls and Security Staff.

 

Sinica is successfully implemented throughout the UK Food Industry, including Food Manufacturers, Distributors and Packaging companies, who are all required to implement strict visitor controls.

 

Margaret McDavid, Mondelez International Minworth Depot Support Manager commented: “We encourage pro-active communication within the Minworth DC to ensure that any opportunity for continual improvement is identified and actioned as we strive for zero incidents. Sinica has been a major contributor to the positive Health and Safety ethos of Mondelez and the system has been welcomed by our staff and complemented by our visitors, including contractors, customers and suppliers. The flexibility of Sinica will facilitate our continued commitment to stringent Health and Safety improvements and safeguarding the quality of our products.”

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Digital Innovation Connects Employees at Chivas Brothers

Chivas Brothers, the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard, has launched an innovative solution for a brand and manufacturing business to bring all its employees online on sites from Orkney to Plymouth.

It has just replaced its traditional internal website with a new digital hub that supplies a bespoke mobile website to tablet computers enabling all its employees, including around 50% which are not office based or who do not have their own personal computer, to access a broad range of company news and information from its 29 sites in the UK.

Content for the new site has been the subject of a dynamic new approach. Video and interactive features figure strongly and are easily consumed with the Samsung Galaxy S3 device chosen for distribution to all employees. Key business updates and administrative information are combined with a ‘Community Spirit’ section that allows employees to update each other about activities away from work such as fundraising and social clubs including the company’s sailing club and golf society.

The new site, whilst optimised for mobile devices, also becomes the digital hub for all company computers. The project will substantially streamline Chivas Brothers’ internal communications replacing a number of channels such as magazines and newsletters with a single digital channel offering instant access for employees and instant updates from the company. IT services and solutions provider Kelway Ltd, which supplied the tablets, have also been commission to provide a helpdesk for the company’s 1600 employees who are now digitally connected.

The tablets, issued to every employee by the start of 2015, will also provide access to information and internal websites from the company’s parent group, Pernod Ricard, connecting Chivas Brothers employees with colleagues around the world and a view of how and where the company’s revered portfolio of high quality Scotch whiskies and gins are sold and consumed.

“Through this initiative we wanted to better connect our teams together, everyone in every department, in every location, from the north of Scotland to London and Plymouth. Each and every member of our team makes Chivas Brothers a dynamic, innovative and thriving business. Now we have a single digital home to celebrate and take pride in our achievements and continue to improve our communication, efficiency and our dynamic approach to producing some of the world’s most highly regarded and successful Scotch whiskies and premium gins,” says Laurent Lacassagne, chairman and chief executive of Chivas Brothers.

A version of the digital hub also replaces the company’s corporate website, utilising the same mobile optimisation and bringing its media centre, Magazine (showcasing the company’s innovations and brand campaigns) and corporate updates to an important stakeholder audience.

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Cropwell Bishop is Latest Business to Invest in Integreater®

SystemsIntegrationMarch2015Systems Integration (SI) has announced that Cropwell Bishop Creamery is the latest business to invest in Integreater® – the modular, factory ERP system for food manufacturers.

Integreater® will manage both of the business’s sites. This includes cheese making, tracking and grading processes at the dairy, as well as planning, retail packing and order processing at the factory.

The Nottingham-based creamery produces a range of Stilton products, using only sustainably-sourced milk. A member of the Stilton Cheesemakers Association, the family business has a global customer base and has won 14 awards in the last twelve months alone.

SI’s MD, Rob Stephens, says: “We are proud to be working with one of England’s finest handmade cheese makers, Cropwell Bishop. We offer a wide range of solutions for the cheese and dairy sector and are pleased that the award-winning business has recognised our specialist knowledge and experience.”

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Systems Integration Doubles Customer Base

Systems Integration has announced that its customer base has doubled since launching the market leading Integreater® brand in 2010. And in a commitment to maintain its high customer service levels, the support and development teams have also grown during this period, with staff levels rising by more than 60%.

SystemsIntegrationMDMarch2015The Staffordshire-based software house, which specialises in providing solutions to food manufacturers, was established in 1992 and now works with a wide range of processors across the world.

MD Rob Stephens (pictured) comments: “I’m pleased to say that in addition to significantly developing our customer base during a recession, we’ve maintained healthy profit levels throughout this period of growth. We’ve also worked hard to develop strong partnerships with our loyal customer base and have an unprecedented client retention rate.”

“More and more food processors are recognising the importance of the right business management software. Over the past few years the recession has put a strain on already tight profit margins in the food sector and to make matters worse, processors have also faced a backdrop of food scares, as well as increasing customer and legislative demands. Despite this, we’ve experienced our fastest period of growth during this time. This is because our software not only enables users to quickly and easily demonstrate traceability; it also provides them with the live tools they need to maximise profitability, even during tough market conditions.”

“I would like to thank all of our customers for their loyalty, as well as our staff who’ve worked hard to acquire and support these clients. In 2015 we hope to help even more food processors maximise their profitability, particularly those in the meat, fish and cheese sectors.”

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Epicor Tropos Functionality Winning New UK Customers

Epicor Software Corporation, a global leader in business software solutions for manufacturing, distribution, retail and services organisations, has announced two new customers for its Epicor Tropos process manufacturing system, which provides recipe-based production, materials traceability, and regulatory compliance for UK process manufacturers. PureMalt Products, an ingredient supplier to the food and beverage industry, and Wagg Foods, a UK-based pet foods producer, both have selected the Epicor Tropos solution.

In the 21st century where process accuracy, efficiency and traceability are central to the success of any process manufacture, Epicor Tropos is selected time and time again over competitors in the marketplace due to its depth of functionality, as well as the flexibility and value it delivers to process manufacturers.

Whether in the food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, healthcare or cosmetics industries, Epicor Tropos is designed to meet specific industry challenges.  With built-in niche application tools for industries such as distilleries and cheese-making, and the flexible business process management engine, customers get flexible, practical, and automated capabilities that enable them and their supply chain to connect more effectively and efficiently.

PureMalt Products is an independent, privately owned company located in Scotland. It has evolved and transformed over the past 40 years from flour Milling and Malting into the specialised production of refined malt extracts. A team of 65 produce and distribute a unique range of refined malt extracts for the Food and Beverage Industries across more than 50 countries worldwide.

A family-run business started in 1923, Wagg Foods began life selling animal feed, before starting to manufacture pet foods in the 1980s. Automation and high quality products have been at the centre of Wagg’s success and it now sells pet food products throughout the UK to the major grocers, general multiples, cash & carry chains and independent pet shops, as well as in more than 16 countries globally.

“For us, the depth of industry specific functionality in Epicor Tropos and its flexibility makes it the best system on the market,” says Ross Turner, Business Systems Manager at PureMalt Products. “The technology underpinning the solutions will allow us to make changes easily as we grow and diversify as a business in the future. The team that presented to us gave us great confidence that Epicor will be able to deliver what we needed, through their clear market expertise and enthusiasm.”

Epicor Tropos gives organisations the power to improve decision making, strengthen internal and external connections, deliver on shorter production and supply schedules, and gain business efficiency and cost savings. It is and end-to-end solution with integrated management, automating activities and access to information across sales, inventory, scheduling, manufacturing, quality control, materials traceability, regulatory compliance, customer relations and finance.

“Process manufacturing is a complicated business and whilst there are common processes within vertical markets, every business has its own twist on how to do things,” says Steve Winder, regional vice president UK and Ireland for Epicor. “Epicor Tropos includes not only a set of standard features for all the key areas of your business, but an incredibly flexible business process management and business intelligence tool set so that you can get exactly the process and information you need to succeed as a company.”

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Finsbury Group Achieves “Best In Class” Using PerformOEE™ Software

Founded in 1834, Nicholas & Harris is the UK’s largest organic baker and is part of the Finsbury Food Group, leading manufacturer of cakes, breads and gluten-free bakery goods.

OEEsystems International work with high volume, proactive food and beverage manufacturing companies such as Nicholas & Harris, Muller Wiseman Dairies, Aurivo & Norbev. They are all using OEE as a key business metric in tandem with OEEsystem’s “Best In Class” OEE software, PerformOEE™ to drive efficiencies across the production cycle.

“Typically our Irish, UK, European and US client’s all face the same challenges,” says Arthur Stone, CEO of OEEsystems. “They all looking to reduce costs, increase capacity to meet demand and improve the quality of what they are producing.”

He continues: “These companies are using our innovative software tool PerformOEE™ which is suitable for all types of manufacturing processes including discrete, bulk and continuous processes. It will analyse their production data in real-time, identify the most important root cause issues and opportunities which will deliver the greatest tangible performance improvements for their business. Our clients will usually experience improvements in their OEE Score of between 10% and 30%, within the first six months of using the software.”

“The key challenge for us on data collection was that our existing system was time-lagged and was therefore at least 24 hours old before interrogation,” says Josh Heydon, Operations Director of Nicholas & Harris. “One of the benefits of moving to the PerformOEE™ software solution is that we have moved to a live real-time data collection system. Our operators are now using live data, they are no longer using paperwork to gather the results and we can use that data to generate performance steps during the course of each shift.”

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ProStrategy Colman Wins IBM Platimum Achievement Award – Top Irish Business Partner for 2014

ProStrategy Colman are delighted to announce that we have been awarded the ‘IBM Platinum Achievement Award – Top Irish Business Partner for 2014’.  The award was presented at the annual IBM Business Partner Software College held recently at Twickenham, London.  This award recognises our contribution, dedication and hard work over the past year, and it further enhances our status as IBM’s Premier Business Partner for Cognos in Ireland.

 

Rachel Burford, Sunday Times England Women’s Rugby Player
of the Year 2014, presenting the IBM Top Irish Business
Award to John Coleman, Managing Director, ProStrategy
Colman.

 

www.prostrategy.ie

LinkedIn: IBM Business Analytics

Twitter: @ProStrategy_IBM 

 

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T-Systems Signs Major Deal With SABMiller

As part of a strategic review of its global infrastructure, SABMiller has awarded T-Systems the contract to provide its global backbone and European network. New network capabilities to be introduced by T-Systems will increase the volume of traffic that is supported on available bandwidth while reducing total cost of ownership.

“At SABMiller we are globally integrating our business, and as a result we are ensuring our technology is ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘value for money’. We have decided to implement a multi-vendor global data network. T-Systems is a well-positioned partner for our technology infrastructure inEuropeand core services, offering us the capabilities we require from a world-class network, and capable of supporting SABMiller’s future growth,” says Peter Brickley, SABMiller Global CIO.

The new network will deliver access to data for approximately 12,000 SABMiller end-users. In addition, T-Systems will provide capabilities such as Security; Telepresence; Remote Access; IP-VPN and Application Performance Monitoring.

“We are delighted to have secured this very important agreement with SABMiller and are proud to be given the task of transforming their network infrastructure to maximise performance across their business. In today’s complex IT landscapes it is critical that we excel at partnership models with other parts of a customer’s eco-system of suppliers. Our combined IT and telecoms depth of experience coupled with our service integration heritage give us the confidence and skill to optimize collaboration with other partners in the SABMiller supply chain to deliver added value,” says Casper Malig, UK managing director at T-Systems.

Drawing on a global infrastructure of data centers and networks, T-Systems operates information and communication technology (ICT) systems for multinational corporations and public sector institutions. T-Systems provides integrated solutions for the networked future of business and society. The company’s some 52,700 employees combine industry expertise and ICT innovations to add significant value to customers’ core business all over the world. T-Systems generated revenue of around Eur10 billion in the 2012 financial year.

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Invensys Updates Advanced Process Control Software

Invensys, a leading supplier of state-of-the-art industrial software, systems and control equipment to the world’s major industries, has unveiled a new version of its SimSci® advanced process control software. To be released this spring, SimSci APC 2014 will enable customers to shorten their plant testing and commissioning schedules, as well as improve plant operations and personnel performance.

This innovative offering has been built from the ground up to emphasize ease of use. It modernizes the graphical user interface while retaining the rigorous and robust calculation engine from the company’s successful Connoisseur APC offering. The new SimSci APC 2014 software is structured around an enhanced, natural workflow that includes full support for model case file development and a connection wizard for faster integration to any distributed control system and programmable logic controller, including the company’s Foxboro® I/A Series® DCS and its new Foxboro Evo™ process automation system. The software will be even more tightly integrated in future releases of the Foxboro Evo system as well, providing enhanced simulation capability. 

“Advanced process control can result in tremendous improvements in plant efficiency and performance, but it is largely underutilized, in part because some potential users find it too much of a challenge,” says Peter Reynolds, senior consultant with the ARC Advisory Group. “Invensys addresses this issue head on, with new graphical interfaces, intuitive workflows and custom calculation engines. Making optimization easier will empower both seasoned APC users and the next generation of engineers and operators to address a wider range of process conditions and business challenges.”

SimSci APC 2014 software greatly extends the capabilities of traditional APC offerings to garner more control over the process. Director, a powerful new feature, allows the control engineer to build custom calculations or add custom supporting controller functions that augment the user’s experience. Natural workflows speed up model building, configuration and deployment, and additional features make the software suitable for a complete APC project implementation. These advancements help the transitioning workforce more easily build and maintain APC applications, and can cut implementation and commissioning time by up to 50 percent.

“We are excited about our new APC offering, which builds on our market-leading Connoisseur APC software to help our customers enhance quality, increase throughput and reduce energy usage,” says Tom Kinney, vice president of Invensys’ optimization business. “The software was developed with the end user in mind, and it includes several well-thought-out features that help achieve better and more sustainable control of the process. A built-in auto-discovery wizard captures the specific syntax of any DCS for even faster buildup of tag connections; its automated testing feature means faster, more flexible configuration; it’s tablet ready; new click-and-drag functionality allows users to select the best models from many scenarios; and customizable user-defined functions improve how users can cope with changing process conditions. The end result is that SimSci APC 2014 provides a better, friendlier and more flexible user experience than traditional APC applications, making operators and engineers far more effective and productive.”

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Aspera Solutions Sees Growth Opportunities For ERP in the Food and Drink Sector

Aspera Solutions specialises in supplying, implementing and supporting ERP and business software solutions for the manufacturing and distribution sectors, with particular focus on the food and beverage industry in Ireland and the UK.

Established in 1987, the Irish privately owned company has been operating in the UK for the past five years. The UK office is in Birmingham with the company headquarters located in Dublin, with consultants based regionally to support local implementations. Aspera now has over 70 customers across Ireland and the UK, with the majority operating within the food and drink sector, supported from its customer services centre in Dublin.

About 30% of Aspera’s business is currently in the UK. However, a recently completed acquisition will significantly expand its British footprint and double its business in the UK, increasing total sales by 25%. Indeed, further investment in its UK business and other acquisition opportunities will result in the company doubling in scale within the next three years, according to Lonan Byrne, Managing Director of Aspera Solutions.

Aspera is the main partner in the UK and Ireland for two of the leading international ERP solutions – Epicor and Aptean Ross.

Professional Competence

Aspera’s success, particularly within the food and drink industry, is based on its professional competence and intimate understanding of each customer’s business and individual requirements. This, coupled with its comprehensive support services, has enabled the ERP specialist to develop long-term relationships with its customers.

Aspera’s consulting, implementation and support teams are all manufacturing industry professionals who understand the challenges facing each customer. They work closely with customers’ internal teams from the project champion to the shop floor to equip customers with a project methodology and processes that ensure the success of the implementation at every stage.

Full Cycle Services

Lonan Byrne, Managing Director of Aspera Solutions.

Aspera provides the full range of services required to support the life-cycle of an IT project from evaluation, through project management, training, consulting, development and support to ongoing customer care. Lonan Byrne believes that the scope of services and experience across a range of selected software products sets Aspera apart from many software vendors. Aspera tailors its service offering to suit each customer’s individual requirements.

With over 70 customers on support, and likely to increase with further acquisitions, the challenge is increasingly on delivering value to the customer over the long-term. This involves a customer service philosophy which assists ERP users to continually harvest more value for existing systems without costly upgrade services. Indeed Lonan Byrne notes that the average life cycle of its ERP systems has grown to 15 years. This contrasts with an average life cycle of 5 years in the 1990’s.

All Aspera’s customers are mid-tier companies, ranging in scale from £10 million to £500 million in turnover. “We typically implement between 10 to 100 seats of ERP. Many of our customers don’t have an internal IT department,” explains Lonan Byrne. “So once they choose a system from us, we effectively become their IT department.”

He adds: “We recognise that any company implementing an ERP system is undertaking a major project entailing significant investment and change. We help companies through the process of change. We also help customers to capitalise on that investment over the longer-term.”

Aspera’s development team is experienced in delivering sophisticated systems integration services, covering office systems, corporate ERP, plant systems and factory equipment, warehousing systems, transport and third party logistics, customers’ and suppliers’ systems. Training programmes are designed to maximise the value and return on investment as quickly as possible.

Aspera’s customers within the food and drinks sector include Wyke Farms, BV Dairy, and Troy Foods in the UK, Ballyrashane Creamery in Northern Ireland and Glenhaven Foods in Ireland.

Customer Care

The effectiveness of the services provided by Aspera is reflected in an extremely high level of customer retention.

“Everything we do is built around a long-term customer relationship. Many of our customers have been with us 17 or 18 years, many undertaking major upgrades with us,” he points out. “We will never do anything in this company that sacrifices long-term customer retention for short-term gain. The quality of our customer support is key.”

Aspera operates a Customer Support Desk, providing customers with access to the support team. The Aspera Help Line offers additional local support for each customer’s own system configuration.

New Departure

Aspera is well respected throughout Ireland and the UK for its expertise and experience in successfully implementing ERP systems within the food and drink industry. Indeed, it is this specialist knowledge that has prompted Epicor to involve Aspera in the enhancement of its software for specific application within the food and beverage sector. This marks a new departure for Aspera bringing it into product development for the first time.

For further information contact Philip Larragy in our Sales Department at Aspera Solutions, Head Office: 23 Kilcarbery Business Park, Dublin 22, Ireland. Tel +353 (1) 461 1700, Fax +353 (1) 413 8082, E-mail info@aspera.ie, Web www.aspera.ie.

UK Office: Central Boulevard, Blythe Valley Business Park, Solihull, B90 8AG, UK. Tel +44 (845) 862 0864, E-mail info@aspera.co.uk, Web:www.aspera.co.uk.

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Warrens Warehousing gets technical with bespoke Access Delta system

Warrens Warehousing & Distribution has seen massive growth following its investment in warehouse management software Access Delta from the Access Group.

Warrens Warehousing & Distribution has seen massive growth following its investment in warehouse management software Access Delta from the Access Group.

The solution has helped place the UK specialist in storage, despatch and delivery of bakery products in a strong position within the marketplace, where there is no room for mistakes or delays with such fast-moving products.

Warrens Warehousing handles substantial volumes of time-sensitive bakery products for major retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Morrisons. The company is responsible for the collection, reception, storage, consolidation and delivery of 96% of Tesco’s cakes and bakery products, as well as the supermarket chain’s ‘Free From’ range of products.

Antony Glenn, IT Manager for Warrens Warehousing, explains, “We had got to the point where the growth was more than we could handle; we needed something to take over from those big stock books. Also at around that time, Tesco announced that it would be requiring electronic information from its logistics providers, so from both sides we knew that the old procedures were no longer going to work for us and we had to do something. So we really took a massive leap from the dark ages into one of technology.”

A major issue was the client’s requirement for Advanced Notification – where the client requires a package of information before the load actually arrives.

Antony says: “We couldn’t find anyone else that could set that up for us. The Access team said they would make it happen – and they did. We are now the only haulier delivering into Tesco and Sainsbury’s, consolidating orders that can make this Advance Notification work. Other hauliers may make it work for full pallets of one product but not for multiple products and purchase orders to one pallet. That makes us trail-blazers in the sector.”

The entire operation is based on Access Delta and bespoke systems developed by the Access team. Tesco requires the use of the Serialised Shipping Container Code system for identifying pallets and their loads. This system identifies exactly what is on every pallet. “We follow every item from receipt into our depots to when it is palletised and sent out,” says Antony.

“Access Delta allowed us to implement things that no one else had tried in our niche market. Now, when we sit in meetings with others that do what we do, it is nice to know that we don’t have the problems they are talking about.”

 

Warrens Warehousing & Distribution has seen massive growth following its investment in warehouse management software Access Delta from the Access Group.The solution has helped place the UK specialist in storage, despatch and delivery of bakery products in a strong position within the marketplace, where there is no room for mistakes or delays with such fast-moving products.

Warrens Warehousing handles substantial volumes of time-sensitive bakery products for major retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Morrisons. The company is responsible for the collection, reception, storage, consolidation and delivery of 96% of Tesco’s cakes and bakery products, as well as the supermarket chain’s ‘Free From’ range of products.

Antony Glenn, IT Manager for Warrens Warehousing, explains, “We had got to the point where the growth was more than we could handle; we needed something to take over from those big stock books. Also at around that time, Tesco announced that it would be requiring electronic information from its logistics providers, so from both sides we knew that the old procedures were no longer going to work for us and we had to do something. So we really took a massive leap from the dark ages into one of technology.”

A major issue was the client’s requirement for Advanced Notification – where the client requires a package of information before the load actually arrives.

Antony says: “We couldn’t find anyone else that could set that up for us. The Access team said they would make it happen – and they did. We are now the only haulier delivering into Tesco and Sainsbury’s, consolidating orders that can make this Advance Notification work. Other hauliers may make it work for full pallets of one product but not for multiple products and purchase orders to one pallet. That makes us trail-blazers in the sector.”

The entire operation is based on Access Delta and bespoke systems developed by the Access team. Tesco requires the use of the Serialised Shipping Container Code system for identifying pallets and their loads. This system identifies exactly what is on every pallet. “We follow every item from receipt into our depots to when it is palletised and sent out,” says Antony.

“Access Delta allowed us to implement things that no one else had tried in our niche market. Now, when we sit in meetings with others that do what we do, it is nice to know that we don’t have the problems they are talking about.” – See more at: http://www.fdiforum.net/en/fdi/supply_chain/770#sthash.EIM4YJpr.dpuf

The solution has helped place the UK specialist in storage, despatch and delivery of bakery products in a strong position within the marketplace, where there is no room for mistakes or delays with such fast-moving products.

Warrens Warehousing handles substantial volumes of time-sensitive bakery products for major retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Morrisons. The company is responsible for the collection, reception, storage, consolidation and delivery of 96% of Tesco’s cakes and bakery products, as well as the supermarket chain’s ‘Free From’ range of products.

Antony Glenn, IT Manager for Warrens Warehousing, explains, “We had got to the point where the growth was more than we could handle; we needed something to take over from those big stock books. Also at around that time, Tesco announced that it would be requiring electronic information from its logistics providers, so from both sides we knew that the old procedures were no longer going to work for us and we had to do something. So we really took a massive leap from the dark ages into one of technology.”

A major issue was the client’s requirement for Advanced Notification – where the client requires a package of information before the load actually arrives.

Antony says: “We couldn’t find anyone else that could set that up for us. The Access team said they would make it happen – and they did. We are now the only haulier delivering into Tesco and Sainsbury’s, consolidating orders that can make this Advance Notification work. Other hauliers may make it work for full pallets of one product but not for multiple products and purchase orders to one pallet. That makes us trail-blazers in the sector.”

The entire operation is based on Access Delta and bespoke systems developed by the Access team. Tesco requires the use of the Serialised Shipping Container Code system for identifying pallets and their loads. This system identifies exactly what is on every pallet. “We follow every item from receipt into our depots to when it is palletised and sent out,” says Antony.

“Access Delta allowed us to implement things that no one else had tried in our niche market. Now, when we sit in meetings with others that do what we do, it is nice to know that we don’t have the problems they are talking about.” – See more at: http://www.fdiforum.net/en/fdi/supply_chain/770#sthash.EIM4YJpr.dpuf

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Nestlé Drives Digital Innovation With Silicon Valley Outpost

Nestlé has set up an innovation outpost in Silicon Valley, California to help deepen relationships with consumers online and in social media. The aim is to enhance existing partnerships with the world’s largest technology corporations while looking for pioneers among the thousands of small technology start-ups that Nestlé can work with.

In the fast growing area of digital engagement Nestlé wants to use the innovation outpost to build on the progress made in recent years to better understand consumers’ needs and respond to them more quickly. It will also help brands manage their growing fan bases – on Facebook alone, Nestlé pages have more than 180 million fans, and publish more than 1,500 pieces of content a day.

“The pace of innovation taking place in Silicon Valley is really impressive,” says Patrice Bula, Nestlé’s head of marketing. “Organisations there are shaping the future of consumer communication. We have an enormous amount of nutrition knowledge and expertise within our company. We are determined leverage this through digital technology and online content, in meaningful and engaging ways for our consumers.”

Nestlé already has strategic partnerships with Facebook and Google, and is establishing close links with Twitter. It has also created Digital Acceleration Teams at its headquarters in Switzerland- and in various markets worldwide including China, India and Italy- to help develop its relationships with consumers online.

And many of the company’s brands have been embracing new technology. In September, a surprise partnership with Google saw the technology company name the latest version of its Android mobile operating system ‘Android KitKat’, after Nestlé’s famous confectionery.

Earlier this year, Nestlé acquired its first-ever online content property, when its Purina Petcare business bought Petfinder, the world’s largest and oldest website for pet adoption.

In February, Nestlé launched a digital initiative to give consumers instant access to information about its products’ nutritional profile, and environmental and social impacts, simply by scanning them with a smartphone.

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Meat and fish industry bolstered by major new partnership

International consultancy firm Columbus and Emydex, a provider of Production Management software systems, have announced their partnership in the Meat and Fish industry.

While Columbus build targeted solution sets on top of the ERP Microsoft Dynamics AX platform, Emydex software is designed to manage food production processes from door-to-door. This new partnership will allow for a two-way integration between Emydex and Dynamics AX, which will link the shop-floor seamlessly to the rest of an organisation using the software.

Managing Director of Columbus UK, Mary Hunter, said she was excited about the partnership as it shows Columbus’ commitment to the meat industry.

“I am excited about this new solution and it brings many benefits for our key customers,” she said. “The integration of Emydex fits perfectly in Columbus’ vertical strategy and enhances our position as a total Food solution provider, supporting best of breed solutions.”

David McMahon, MD of Emydex, said: “After ten years of continuous product development and fine-tuning, our tailored software solutions have a significant depth and breadth of functionality developed specifically for the meat and fish industries. Our customers can now easily combine this with the power of Dynamics AX.

“By partnering with a global industry-focused consultancy like Columbus, we know we have joined forces with a company that can offer a low risk implementation to the specialised food processing industries.”

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Exel named in list of fastest growing companies in the East Midlands

Exel Computer Systems plc, the UK software author of business management solutions, has been listed in the East Midlands Top 100 fastest growing companies.

Launched in 2013 by financial and business advisers Grant Thornton in partnership with the CBI, the survey counts out a detailed analysis of the financial performance of the region’s 200 fastest growing companies providing a snapshot of the health of the East Midland’s economy. Companies were ranked on their compound annual growth in profits over three years, from either 2008 to 2011 or 2009 to 2012, depending on the latest available audited accounts.

Rue Dilhe, Exel’s Managing Director, is delighted by this recognition and sees it as confirmation of the company’s long-term business strategy, especially during the challenging past few years. “Exel has always taken a long-term view to company growth and business success which is why we are one of the most successful UK-based authors and providers of business management solutions to the manufacturing industry, and more recently the field service sector. While some companies in the survey achieved a higher increase in profits; in the software sector we are ranked second highest which reflects our commitment to investment in research and development in order to remain at the forefront of technology, as well as our investment in the training and development of our growing team of employees.”

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Thinking ERP? Nine leading ERP products will compete for your attention at the 3rd ERP HEADtoHEAD™

Nine leading ERP products will be pitted against each other over two days at the 3rd ERP HEADtoHEAD™ event taking place on 16th/17th October in the Carlton Hotel, Dublin Airport.  Each product will be demonstrated using a single script, allowing for a true like-for-like comparison. 

The event is aimed at organisations that are planning to upgrade or replace their ERP systems.  This is an ideal opportunity for senior finance or IT executives and members of their ERP selection teams to efficiently review the leading ERP products and to learn how to manage their selection process so that risk is reduced and benefits are maximised.

“If you are budgeting for or about to start an ERP software replacement or upgrade project this event should not be missed. It is a unique opportunity to make an efficient apples-to-apples comparison of some of the leading ERP products based on a defined script, not a series of generic sales presentations. The event will also provide opportunities to network and compare experiences with other organisations also planning to implement ERP”, commentedSean Jackson, Managing Director of Lumenia, the leading ERP consultants.

Products from leading ERP vendors, including SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Epicor, IFS, Access and CORE will be demonstrated. In addition, each vendor will have an individual demonstration stand, where specific project requirements can be discussed in between presentations.

Attendees have the option to attend for one or two days. Each product will be presented once each day, with presentations taking place in three parallel streams. Special discounts apply for early bird booking and for more than two attendees registering per company.

This event will be facilitated by Lumenia, Europe’s leading independent ERP consulting organisation. Lumenia has managed over 100 ERP projects and will share project experiences and ERP selection and implementation knowledge during the event.

For further information and to register please contact Linda Davey on 091 746940 or by e-mail info@erpheadtohead.com or check out the event website www.erpheadtohead.com

Contact Details:

Linda Davey

Lumenia

Parkmore Business Park West, Galway, Ireland

T: 091 746940

E: Linda.davey@bsm.ie

W: www.erpheadtohead.com / www.lumeniaconsulting.com

 

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BSM’s ERP Consulting business now trading as Lumenia Consulting


BSM’s ERP and CRM Consulting business is now trading as Lumenia Consulting. Lumenia is part of the BSM Group, and from 1997-2013 traded as BSM. Lumenia specialises in the development of business systems strategy and the selection and implementation of enterprise applications – particularly Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.

The decision to create a new trading name was taken to differentiate BSM’s Lean and Business Systems consulting practices, and to allow the development of separate brand identities. The name Lumenia, derived from the Latin word lumen meaning light, was chosen to convey the sense of consulting services that bring clarity to business systems projects that might otherwise be shrouded in risk, uncertainty and complexity.

Commenting on the rebranding, Lumenia’s Managing Director Sean Jackson remarked, “The change to the Lumenia name will allow us to better differentiate our brand in our target markets and will help us to maintain our position as the number one choice for ERP and CRM consulting services. Our core values of independence, integrity, professionalism and customer service will be carried through to the new brand.”

Lumenia does not sell ERP or CRM software and has no links, commercial or otherwise with organisations that do.  Lumenia’s independence means that there is no vested interest in pushing clients towards particular software solutions. Instead, the focus is on how enterprise applications can best be used to deliver measurable business benefit to clients, whether this is through the deployment of new software or by getting more value from systems that are already in use.

Lumenia’s clients are typically mid-size manufacturing, distribution, service or retail organisations, often with operations in multiple sites or countries. Operating from offices in Ireland and the UK Lumenia have delivered ERP or CRM projects in well over 100 organisations across the world.

Lumenia employ an outstanding team of consultants and support staff, supplemented with a network of trusted associates. All Lumenia consultants have a minimum of ten years of professional experience and have PMP or PRINCE2 project management qualifications.

For further information please contact:

Linda Davey
Marketing Manager
Lumenia
Parkmore Business Park West, Galway, Ireland

T: 00 353 91 746940
W: www.lumeniaconsulting.com
E: info@lumeniaconsulting.com

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Fegans Foodservice invests in Accord Web Ordering

Fegans Foodservice is the latest wholesaler to invest in BCP’s Accord Web Ordering solution, joining other BCP clients like Creed Foodservice, Thomas Ridley Foodservice and Pedigree Wholesale.

Established in 1925, Fegans is a leading Irish foodservice wholesaler and a founding member of the Stonehouse Group.  Operating from two depots in Dublin, the company offers a full range of goods for the catering trade – from frozen and chilled foods, fruit & vegetables, wines & spirits and ethnic foods to pots and pans – as well as acting as agents or key distributors in Ireland for a number of important domestic  and international brands. Customers range from restaurants and coffee shops to hotels, pubs and clubs and schools.

BCP (Business Computer Projects Ltd) is one of the UK’s top suppliers of specialist supply chain software and warehouse management systems to the wholesale industry.  Clients include BWG, Musgrave, SPAR, Pets at Home, Fragrance Direct and ADM Londis.

Originally investing in Accord in 2008 because of the reputation of its powerful Telesales functionality, Fegans have now upgraded to the latest version of Accord to give the company centralised control of operations at both depots and invested in Accord Web Ordering to give its customers more flexibility in ordering.  Implementation of web ordering is already underway and expected to go live for customers very soon.

James Fegan, Managing Director, Fegans Foodservice: “We believe that by offering our customers the opportunity to order online we will not only reduce the costs associated with ordering but may well improve customer loyalty and increase sales.  The Accord web ordering solution is very comprehensive, easy to use and gives customers a lot of self-management so we are confident that many of our customers will take advantage of it for at least some, if not all, of their ordering – and it’s an easy way for those who haven’t purchased from us before to take a look at what we offer and try out our service.”

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ReadSoft UK automates invoice management in SAP for new clients across four markets

 

ReadSoft UK, a specialist in global document and back office automation, has successfully completed four process automation projects to improve management of invoices in SAP. The projects are for new clients across four vertical UK markets: local government; logistics and manufacturing; food retail; and finance and banking.

 

 

 

ReadSoft’s invoice processing software removes labour-intensive and error-prone manual tasks, reducing cost per invoice by up to 80%. ReadSoft’s SAP-certified software provides an end-to-end workflow for automated invoice approval that integrates with SAP master data, the purchase order, and the goods received database. Fully integrated within SAP, the ReadSoft software uses the screens and processes that are familiar to SAP users, significantly reducing the need for training and speeding up roll out of new back office automation.

 

For one customer, a logistics and business support company, automation of Accounts Payable within SAP is just the first phase of a series of integration and automation projects. The company plans to generate a new line of business, offering specialised Business Process Outsource delivery to its existing and new customers using ReadSoft’s software.

 

 

 

Simon Shorthose, Managing Director, ReadSoft UK says: “These four new projects demonstrate that ReadSoft has become a clear choice for UK organisations wanting to enhance their existing investment in SAP to deliver cost savings in the finance function and beyond. As businesses continue to evaluate more effective ways to deliver back office automation, ReadSoft is strongly placed to deliver business efficiencies and cost savings to any organisation using SAP.”


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Sysco Works – A Complete Software and Services Offering For the Food & Drink Industry

Over the past 30 years, Sysco has worked with many food and beverage companies in Ireland and understands the needs of the various niche sectors, whether meat, dairy, drinks, feed, seed, processing or distribution. The Sysco team has worked across all sectors and understands the cost and compliance pressures, and that in many instances, there are multiple business types or companies within a group.

Sysco was established in 1980 and employs 50 people in Dublin and Belfast, providing business software solutions to organisations throughout Ireland. Clients range from large scale distributors to discrete manufacturers, from government bodies to service-orientated companies. Sysco’s continuous lifecycle management of its clients from the system consultation stage, through to the final implementation and on-going support, builds strong relationships and commitments to serving client’s evolving needs.

Food and beverage manufacturers produce a wide range of products, and the market is volatile. Consumer demands change rapidly, and new health and specialty niches are making the market more complex. Some demands are long-term – such as continual demand for lower prices, stricter safety requirements, and more detailed labeling. Others are short-term – such as demand for current popular flavors or new packaging or ingredients.

Primary Business Challenges

Innovation success is more of a differentiator than ever before, because customers are less loyal to brands and both consumers and direct customers are more focused on their specific needs.

While brand loyalty may be down, the number of consumers looking for products from sustainability leaders is up. The good news is that many sustainability practices can also lower costs.

Market responsiveness is crucial to ensuring that the right products are available in each outlet of each channel at all times to capture the consumer’s business.

According to a white paper from industry analysts Cambashi Limited, new and profitable opportunities are emerging for food and beverage manufacturers who are ready to commit to innovation, sustainability, and faster market response. In the white paper ‘Innovative, Sustainable, and Responsive: Food and Beverage Manufacturers Evolve for the New Economy’, Julie Fraser speaks of some of the changes food and beverage companies must make to succeed in today’s environment.

Here are a few points about that evolution.

  • Food and beverage manufacturers can no longer succeed by fine-tuning a relatively straightforward process of pushing as much through the production and supply chain operations as efficiently as possible. They must be flexible to handle a much more complex product line and set of sales channels that appeal to specific niche buyers and their lifestyles.
  • To enable employees to succeed in this more complex environment, IT can ease the burden. Comprehensive and industry-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) and surrounding IT infrastructure tools are not only important, but necessary and increasingly available to even smaller companies.
  • Most food and beverage manufacturers currently have significant gaps in data flows that result in waste and errors. These can lead to ineffective innovation, inadequate traceability of product sources and handling issues, and slow responsiveness to market shifts.

Food and beverage companies that evolve to a business process utilising more integrated ERP tools together with mobility, business intelligence, and collaboration tools can improve business performance and seize opportunities to gain market share.

Sysco’s experience assists you through the primary business challenges and can lead you on to new and profitable opportunities. Sysco’s integrated applications and interfaces for the food and beverage industries, some examples of which are interfaces to Innova, Producer payments, Van Sales Hand-held Interfaces, third party logistics, Mobile Sales System, Route Management, Replenishment Planning with seasonal variation, Product Costing/Margin, Multiple Stock Valuation, mean that you analyse the data you want, when you want, and then you can transform this raw data into decision driving intelligence. Sysco speaks your language and speaks your customer’s language.

Sysco’s experience and insight has helped the following Irish companies forge ahead to greener pastures – Avondale Foods, Foyle Food Group, Gleeson Group, Connacht Gold, Ampersand, Odenberg Engineering, Germinal Holdings, Dawn Farm Foods, Dale Farm – saving money and improving productivity with their choice of ERP/Manufacturing software.

For further information visit www.the-food-people.com.

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Technology and Expertise: The Right Ingredients For Your Business

In a challenging economic climate, food and drink companies are looking to their IT systems and their technology partners to help them build an efficient, agile business and, in many cases, to compete on the world stage.

Leading companies in the industry have chosen Datel to implement a Sage solution to increase their efficiency and agility while delivering excellent service.

Walking the Stock Tightrope

It’s a tricky balance: how do you keep just enough items on the shelves to fulfil customer orders, without tying up budget and resources on surplus stock?

In today’s competitive operating climate, companies that get a firm grip on their stock can increase their margins and control the escalating costs of purchasing, storing and managing stock.

Euro Foodbrands Export Ltd, specialist exporter of food to the Middle East, has achieved this balance. The company uses a Sage-based system (Sage 200), implemented by Datel to maintain tight control of its stock. The trigger for moving away from an accounts software package to a more powerful, integrated platform came when the company started to offer frozen foods and needed a deeper level of analysis to track stock movement.

Hassan Ibrahim, Director of Euro Foodbrand Exports, says: “Sage 200 has addressed our core business issues and helps us to maintain control of the business as we grow and to sharpen our competitive edge. It’s a true stock control system, so that now we have easy access to an accurate, real-time picture that enables us to understand what stock we have and what we need to order in, calculate our margins and so on. The system helps us with routine but vital tasks, such as keeping track of shelf-life and sell-by details, so that we reduce wastage to the absolute minimum.”

Commenting on the help received from Datel, Hassan Ibrahim says: “We decided to award the order to Datel. We’ve been very satisfied with the outcome and are happy to recommend Datel – and Sage 200 – to other businesses.”

Less Waste, More Profit

Similarly, Ruskim Seafoods has improved stock control by implementing a new enterprise resource planning system, which in turn makes a marked contribution to profitability. Ruskim Seafoods needed a solution that could be rolled out across all of its six depots and chose a Sage ERP X3 solution from Datel. Gaining visibility of stock wherever it is held means that Ruskim Seafoods avoids unnecessary duplication and waste.

Finance Director Andrew Russell says: “We have information from across the company consolidated within a single location and can view this integrated data in realtime, rather than retrospectively. We can see which stock is held at which depot and no longer have to call the depot to check.”

He also praises Datel’s expertise: “The whole Datel team is very knowledgeable and can always be relied upon to provide solutions to achieve our objectives.”

Join the Leaders

Many leading companies in the food and drink industry run their business on a Sage solution from Datel. They include Nichols plc, Grace Foods (UK) Ltd, Baird Foods and Xpress Fish. Visit Datel’swebsite for the food and drink industry at www.datel.info/sectors/food-and-drink to find out why.

You can also download a report with the results of a survey of nearly 250 senior decision-makers in the food and drink manufacturing sector.

To find out how Datel’s knowledge of best practice and commercial insight could help you to meet the unique challenges of operating in the food and drink industry: Call 0845 521 1875 or Email enquiries@datelgroup.com.

“Datel has outstanding knowledge and experience of using Sage within the food and drinks industry, and a deep understanding of our business, not just our IT infrastructure” – Allan Doyle, Group IT Manager, Nichols plc.

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Cloetta Sweden sweetens its Demand Forecasting with FuturMaster 6.1

Cloetta Sweden, a subsidiary of Cloetta, one of the leading confectionary companies within Scandinavia, The Netherlands and Italy, has recently migrated from FuturMaster 5.0 to FuturMaster 6.1. Following a training session held in Malmö, Sweden attended by the entire Scandinavian Demand Planning Team, the new upgrade will mean access to brand new FuturMaster functionalities as well as a more effective forecasting process.

The new process will boost accuracy by allowing the forecast to accurately reflect the latest sales opportunities and vulnerabilities identified by the Key Account Managers. It will also enable the Demand Planning Team to successfully capture the assumptions and commentary that lie behind the numbers directly within the demand plan in FuturMaster.

The streamlined process of FuturMaster 6.1 eliminates the need for the numerous spreadsheets and versions of the forecast and all the SKU volume data is automatically summarised and converted to provide a top-down overview of the latest forecast by Country, Customer or Product Group in KG and Value.

Bengt Ekberg, Demand Manager Scandinavia, Cloetta Sweden, commented: “With the upgrade to Futurmaster 6.1 we not only have more opportunities to improve our accuracy, but we can also handle more information in our S&OP process.”

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A new hassle for high altitude testing for packaged dry goods

Versaperm, a specialist in packaging test equipment, is launching a new version of its HASS (High Altitude Shipping Simulator) onto the UK and European marketplaces; it fully complies with all relevant European standards and is now CE marked.

The HASS simulates shipping boxes of dry packaged goods, such as cereals, at high altitudes. It gives the controller very flexible options – including the simulated height, the number of high peaks the goods need to fly over, the ramp speed (or rate), and time at the peak.  Results can be fed into a QC system to produce statistical results which allow the manufacturer to spot the first signs of any trends or problems and thus take preventative measures.

Many types of product packaging are liable to burst or leak and thus fail at air-transport elevations and this makes the product unsalable, and potentially even harmful.  The new HASS controller monitors and controls both the vacuum level and rate of change of the vacuum during simulating precise flight conditions.

The system then takes the packaged product through each cycle in sequence, before eventually reducing the pressure back to “ground level”.

The unit’s control system supports testing on up to 200 altitude profiles without reprogramming, each with its own set of configured set points.

Versaperm provides full manufacturing, technical and sales support service, as well as maintenance and repair facilities.

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Dotmatics offers web-based food processing data management

Dotmatics Ltd., a UK-based data management solutions firm, has introduced a version of its Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN) tailored to food and beverage industries.

The web-based Studies Notebook for Food and Beverage system was developed in collaboration with representatives from the food processing industry. The product enables food scientists to store and retrieve crucial operational data via PC, laptop and mobile devices.

Scalable solution

According to Dotmatics Ltd. CEO Stephen Gallagher, the partnership with food processing professionals ensures that the program can be improved to fit their needs.

The Dotmatics platform provides us with the framework to rapidly develop new ELN configurations whilst keeping a consistent data model,” he said. “Through this project we delivered an ELN that makes it easy for users to add their recipes and associated data, search through them and create striking reports that can be shared instantly with colleagues and collaborators.”

Tailored data

The platform upon which the food processing ELN is structured ensures that it is robust, scalability and useful to food processing operations, according to the company. A front-end tailored to food scientists enables them to tailor the system with precisely the data required to annotate recipes and formulations.

The Studies Notebook module can store recipes, documents, spectral information, images and user comments. All of the content contained in the ELN is searchable and can be retrieved safely on demand. Further, the system can help food manufacturers protect their intellectual copyrights and easily access and leverage knowledge accumulated over years of operation.

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Food processors’ future is cloudy for Coriolis

Food manufacturers can now access a factory performance software system based in the cloud in a move its creator, food and drink operations consultant Coriolis, describes as a world first.

The proprietary software system, MIMO, which stands for ‘minimum in – maximum out’, is designed to help food manufacturers monitor and more effectively improve key factory performance indicators. These include productivity, operational equipment effectiveness (OEE), waste and yields.

“The advantage of having a cloud based system is that the information can be accessed from anywhere and it can be updated via any web-enabled device,” said Mark Schubert, director of UK-based firm Coriolis.

According to Coriolis, the product can be tailored to small start-up taking their first steps in OEE measurement or multinational corporations which require a fully automated multisite reporting system.

Minimal input, maximum output

The system took its name from the fact that it is intended to operate on the principle of minimal input from the manufacturer delivering maximum outputs to the bottom line.

The software can be fully automated and linked directly to production lines and other systems or alternatively data can be inputted through a PC terminal, tablet or any other web enabled device in seconds.

Once installed, in addition to producing the standard daily and weekly production reports the system provides unique product analysis, according to Coriolis. This covers aspects such as product mixture evaluation or providing the true cost of a material by supplier with real-time yields taken into account.

No ‘silver bullet’

However, he stressed that the system should not be seen as a “silver bullet” and was ultimately only as effective as its operators.

To ensure that manufacturers get the best out of the system, Coriolis said it would advise on its implementation, ensure it is integrated with existing management systems and provide on-going staff support.

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Ahmad Tea brews a perfect warehouse blend with Infor

Infor, provider of business application software serving more than 70,000 customers, has announced that Ahmad Tea of London, an international tea company, has deployed Infor SCE to manage its 10,000 pallet warehouse in the Emirate of Ras al Khaimah, UAE. The application is expected to help improve productivity by enhancing information accuracy; reducing human error in picking; increasing the speed of operations and cutting time-intensive paperwork.

Ahmad Tea blends, packs and distributes its own brand of tea to over 70 countries.  Infor SCE is now successfully deployed across all its warehouse operations within Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone Authority (RAKFTZ), for the receipt of raw materials; picking for production; the receipt of finished goods; and the despatch of containers to customers.

Ahmad Tea handles approximately 200 pallets per day (inbound and outbound).  Data capture needs include ERP item tracking numbers and manufacturing / expiry dates. Given the scale of its warehouse operation and the limitations of its existing ERP system, it was clear that a dedicated warehouse management application was required.

Now with the integration of the ERP and SCE applications Ahmad Tea anticipates a number of benefits including: improved information accuracy, reduced picking errors, increased operational speed and less time spent on administration and paperwork.

Infor was selected as Ahmad Tea felt it had the best support infrastructure in the UAE. Infor partner Span was chosen as Ahmad also realised the crucial role of first-class local implementation and support for the project.

Future plans include new applications for generating key documents from SCE, and employing more advanced technologies such as 2D barcoding.

“Our Ras al Khaimah factory is one of the largest tea factories in the region, and we quickly realised that we needed a dedicated warehouse management system to support the smooth running of our operations, and to enable us to maintain the best business processes,” said Dr. Ali Afshar, General Manager, Ahmad Tea UK Ltd.  “Infor SCE was not only the clear choice from a functionality perspective but also because of the excellent support Infor has in the region with Span.”

“International businesses such as Ahmad Tea recognise the need for local knowledge and experience in order to get the very best out of any supply chain investment,” said Kamel El-Ghossaini, regional manager, supply chain solutions, Span Group. “Working with vendors such as Infor enables us to deliver world-class technology with local implementation excellence, resulting in faster time to value for our customers.”

“Global supply chains demand that businesses like Ahmad Tea have the strongest processes in place, throughout all areas of their operations,” said Mike Hibbert, channel manager, MENA Infor.  “In a rapidly growing region like the Middle East, this is all the more important to embed best practices. To do this, businesses need focused applications that are specialised by industry and that can be integrated to accommodate rapid growth.  Combined with the local expertise of Span this is exactly what Infor’s been able to offer Ahmad Tea as they continue to expand in the region.”

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BT TAKES FRIOGAN INTO THE CLOUD

 Colombian meat processing giant uses BT Cloud Compute to support growth and compliance.

BT today announced that Friogan, a market-leading Colombian producer and distributor of meat based products and by-products has adopted BT Cloud Compute, an enhanced service that gives organisations the ability to build powerful ‘pay as you go’ cloud solutions that they can access with consistent levels of quality and security wherever they are expanding.

BT Cloud Compute will help Friogan – which has five processing plants located in pastoral areas across Colombia minimise costs and adapt its IT infrastructure quickly and easily to rapidly changing operational needs.

Developed at BT’s research centre in Adastral Park, BT Cloud Compute enables Friogan to consolidate its IT infrastructure by combining its own data centres and private clouds with BT’s global cloud capabilities, providing Friogan the flexibility to tailor its choice of solution to suit changing IT needs. Automated delivery makes it easy for Friogan to launch new services and applications quickly and efficiently, with high levels of choice, flexibility, security and control. BT Cloud Compute’s self-service dashboard gives Friogan the power to constantly monitor and manage its usage and spending.

The deal represents a significant innovation for Friogan and underlines BT’s commitment to Colombia, a key area for its investment in Latin America. BT is currently the only global telecommunications provider offering corporate cloud services based over local infrastructure in Colombia.

Armando Daza Daza, Chairman of Friogan, said: “BT Cloud Compute is a new and very innovative way of addressing many of the issues we are facing when deploying and scaling our IT infrastructure. This deal builds on a very successful collaboration with BT and will help us continue to grow as a business.”

Jacinto Cavestany, vice-president BT Iberia and BT Latin America, BT Global Services said: “The business successes of the future will be in the hands of the agile, the flexible and the responsive. We are very proud that a leader such as Friogan recognises how BT Cloud Compute can help gain that edge and better succeed in rapidly changing market conditions. This shows how BT’s services are increasingly seen as leading the pack in Latin America and around the world. Our innovative technology and the expertise of our local and global teams are fully engaged to connect Friogan with the best possible future.”

With services hosted in more than 45 datacentres around the globe and managed by customers through a transparent self-service dashboard, BT Cloud Compute is designed to help businesses like Friogan meet their stringent compliance requirements and local law and regulatory obligations by letting them decide exactly where they want their sensitive data to be hosted. BT’s cloud infrastructure uses industry standard secure data centres located in Brazil, Colombia, US, UK, Spain, Benelux, France, Italy, Singapore and Hong Kong. This will soon be extended to Germany, China, India, Argentina and Mexico. 

 

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Chinese dairy producer Mengniu selects LLamasoft Supply Chain Guru

LLamasoft, Inc., the provider of supply chain design software solutions, has announced that Mengniu, one of China’s leading dairy producers, has selected LLamasoft Supply Chain Guru as the primary supply chain design tool for their corporate logistics and production planning team. Mengniu produces milk, yogurt, ice-cream and cheese in 20 production plants located throughout China and is ranked by Rabobank as the 18thlargest dairy producer in the world.

“We have been looking for the right tool for this team for several years and are very happy with the capabilities Supply Chain Guru brings, commented Hu Jun, CIO of Mengniu. “In addition to having the best supply chain optimisation software, we were impressed with LLamasoft’s ability to support and train our staff and their familiarity with SAP systems.”

“We are honoured to be able to support Mengniu and their production and logistics planning team,” added Rengpeng Yue, LLamasoft China Managing Director. “They are a well-recognised brand throughout China and we are eager to help them improve their supply chain design and production planning.”

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Pegasus Software supports business transformation for bread slicing and bagging equipment manufacturer

Pegasus Software, supplier of accounting, business and payroll software, has announced that bread slicing and bagging equipment manufacturer, Ibonhart, has selected its Opera 3 solution.  The Norwich-based manufacturer whose customers include Greggs, Kingsmill and Warburtons, will use Opera 3 to reduce the time it takes from design and bill of materials (BoM) creation to order fulfilment from three weeks to just one.  The solution will improve stock accuracy, reduce risk through automating manual processes, and enhance service levels.

Having come under new ownership four years ago, the management team set about a transformation focused on instilling more efficient processes, greater accuracy and tighter communications across departments.  One of the key challenges was to reduce the time it takes from design to fulfilment as bottlenecks between the design and buying departments were not uncommon.  And while aftersales service levels were already high with 90% of customers receiving parts within 24 hours, the team was keen to improve this further.

Having reviewed the market for a solution to underpin this transformation, the bread equipment manufacturer selected Opera 3 from Pegasus Software. The decision was based on a number of factors, in particular the professionalism and in-depth understanding of the business, processes and project goals demonstrated by Pegasus Software’s partner, Applied Business Computers.  The functionality inherent in Opera 3, as well as value for money were also key to the decision, and previous experience of Opera meant that the team had immense confidence in the solution.

“In order to remain competitive in this market it is important that we continually evolve to better service our global customer base, and ensure that our operations are running at optimum efficiency,” comments Chris Barfe, CEO, Ibonhart.  “Following a review of the business it became clear that in order to meet this end, we needed a system which would automate and improve efficiency across the entire product lifecycle – from design, inventory and manufacture to finance and aftersales service.  Opera 3 is excellent value for money and its capabilities are aligned perfectly to our business goals.”

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