Established in 1927 in Dallas TX, family owned Illes Seasonings & Flavours is a manufacturer of liquid and dry food ingredients. Their products provide features like flavour, texture, aroma, and appearance to meat, food, and beverage products. These ingredients are sold to food manufacturers and beverage distributors to be used in their products or mixed with their food or beverage formulations.
In order to achieve the tightest possible control over their production formulation and traceability processes, Illes has recently installed the Vantage Formula Control & Traceability System from Stevens Group Ltd, to make best use of their 150,000 sq ft facility dry ingredients facility.
The system is developed to provide a direct interface with their already installed and well proven Ross ERP system to capture ingredient traceability information from real events which take place on the production floor. All data is backed up to high end server which is protected against power surges and power failure (through a UPS).
In the event of an electrical fire in the server room, the airtight room fills with inert gases to prevent fire spreading until help arrives. For a food production facility, this setup rivals the pharmaceutical sector in terms of the investment in technology and redundancy.
In addition to achieving the tightest possible production control, the Vantage Systems connect to the scales (3 scales of differing capacities to each Vantage) to control the weighing process and regulate the exact amounts of ingredients used within the blends, ensuring target weights are achieved and inventory is downgraded in real time. This is achieved via a direct interface to their Ross ERP System. In turn, this control provides perpetual and immaculate inventory control.
The multi lingual shop floor interface ensures operators can easily relate to the system and are not alienated by technology, which is often a problem with software companies attempting to control production floor operators.
Training time for the production operators took less than a day before the operators could work without supervision and were producing at the same rate as before, but with improved accuracy and reduced time with batch paperwork.
Initially 5 Vantage Touch Screen Controllers have been installed. After each ingredient is weighed, labels are generated through mobile wireless network label printers to identify the ingredient lot number, name and the job which the ingredients relate to.
This information is then captured at the mixer and validated by Ross to provide a ‘zero mistake culture’.
A single Vantage Touch Screen Controller is also installed into their offsite liquid ingredients blending facility and the database is linked to their main facility through VPN to provide a central point of data storage and retrieval.
Les Howell, Executive Director of IT comments “for diligence purposes, we conducted a thorough analysis of the systems available. Stevens Group was able to provide us with a loan system in advance to enable the team at Illes to conduct a thorough proof of concept. This analysis revealed that Stevens Group are a company who do what they say and are flexible enough to customize their product to meet the needs of a demanding, high productivity, production led operation like ours. Now we have the Stevens Group Vantage installed, batches are achieved with great accuracy!’
Stevens Group Ltd
Tel 01254 685200