The state of cold store management can make or break the bottom line in the poultry processing industry. Accurate inventory and warehouse management software is crucial to control stock age and manage shelf life. As a part of the Innova food processing software suite, Marel has put together an efficient solution for precisely these purposes. Innova’s Cold Store Management System offers full traceability and up-to-the-minute data on every single item in storage, on hold or in stock.
“We saw that some of our customers needed to get better control over their inventory and weigh price labeling of products on hold in their 28°F coolers,” explains Louie Bardic, Innova Software Solutions Manager. “In response, we put together a cold store management solution that automates and improves cooler inventory control and facilitates the seamless flow of products to different destinations.”
The Innova 28° Cold Store Management System is designed to track, replenish and manage cooler inventory with efficiency and ease. It increases inventory accuracy, enables quick transfers and helps locate product faster. It is easy to reserve products for sales and production orders and pick FIFO products efficiently. An integrated alarming and monitoring function helps keep loading accurate and on track.
“Innova’s 28° cooler inventory management system supports different tracking technologies, like bar coding and RFID and tracks cartons, totes, racks, combos and pallets,” explains Hörður Ari Gunnarsson, Innova System Consultant. “The system comes with a set of reports and dashboards as well as an overhead scoreboard function that tracks and broadcasts movements, usage, demands and other performance KPI’s to operators on the floor. “
“After installing the 28° Cold Store Management System we’ve seen how reliable and efficient it is,” says Bardic, “We can integrate it with not only ERP, MRP and accounting systems but also third party equipment and software. We’ve had cases where that was one of the key benefits as the customer did not have to replace any equipment or install more software. It could all be integrated with Innova.”
Innova monitors, registers and keeps track of everything that comes in and goes out of inventory. “Our solution is ideal for processors who produce a range of products for a variety of customers and need to label them on weigh price labeling lines when required,” says Bardic. “Sealed tray packs are racked and stored in a 28°F (-2.2°C) cooler until they are retail-labeled – usually within 24 hours. Innova knows the product type, age and location of every single pack on every single rack in that cooler. It makes it very easy to control inventory and product flow to weigh price labeling lines.”
Innova keeps production and inventory control streamlined with accurate and reliable inventory, labeling and order management. Critical data is known at all times which helps optimize product utilization. “Innova manages all orders coming from the ERP system. The software automatically selects dollies of packs according to their inventory status,” says Gunnarsson. “Employees then fetch the dollies needed for each department and the line leads scan them to the specific lines. Everything is registered and validated so that the right dolly is always sent to the right place.”
A live dashboard feature helps keep operators informed and updated on every aspect of labeling and order processing. Innova tells them exactly what they need to produce according to inventory. The live picking screen as well as hand-held PDAs show the status of the raw material available, the work in progress and the final goods inventory.
The system can be used for capacity planning and can automatically generate a production schedule according to inventory status. It monitors what is available for different customers, what needs to be labeled and priced and prioritizes what is issued out of storage according to age and shelf life. “It also feeds information to the processing hall, allowing them to portion cut directly according to inventory demand,” Bardic explains. “If the stock in the 28°cooler is low, the information from the system is sent to the right department to produce more trays. The system then gives efficient and accurate debone department feedback and processing feedback.”
Innova gives the producer up-to-the-minute information on the status of all inventory. Critical data such as product age, expiry dates and time on inventory is known at all times. “This reduces losses on expired products and optimizes product age level,” concludes Bardic. “It makes sure the right products are picked from inventory. The accuracy of Innova helps save manpower and most importantly, money.”