Hazeldene’s drive to optimize efficiency


“I’m passionate about using technology to add value. Our introduction to Innova was when we bought a Marel trimming line in 2008. It wasn’t until I visited a show in Copenhagen seven years later that I saw the full potential of Innova for our business”, says Adam Hazeldene, General Manager Plant Operations of Hazeldene’s.

Adam continues, “we had commissioned a brand new primary processing plant in 2012 and had equipped it with state-of-the-art systems. It was time to look at our downstream operations.”

Complex product mix

Hazeldene’s processes approximately 150,000 products per day. The company’s retail customers each have their own packs and standards. This means a complex mix, precise demands and the need for a number of Work In Progress (WIP) batch processes. In Adam’s words, “retail is detail!” Hazeldene’s portions and fillets some 90,000 products per day. Although cutting is done automatically on intelligent Marel equipment, Hazeldene’s debones breasts manually on seven deboning belts.

Innova surprised us!

Adam continues, “We bought Innova in 2016 to monitor deboning yields but soon saw that the system could give us more. Tighter margins meant we had to produce more efficiently. We were also drowning in paperwork that is necessary for compliance with regulations but doesn’t actually add value to our operation. We ran by paper stock-takes once a day and didn’t have a minute by minute overview of what was being produced in the business. We were losing control and needed to get a grip!”

Measure and manage

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” Adam quips. “Using Innova, our planning team can match incoming products to customer orders. This then determines how each product is cut. We now cut product both for customer orders and for stock. The comprehensive production data from our SmartWeigher and IRIS quality grading systems provided by Innova allows us to forecast more accurately. We have a better understanding of what we need to produce for stock. This helps us better balance our stock, which minimizes out of stock situations and ensures customer orders are satisfied promptly.

Hazeldene Smartweigher Innova
Innova has helped Hazeldene’s improve production scheduling

Improved scheduling

Innova has helped Hazeldene’s improve production scheduling. Adam continues, “We still rely too much on batch WIP processes. Even here, Innova has helped us enormously. We now have a better process for recording dates and rotation of WIP stock. Before we had several checks in place. This was an unwelcome extra expense. Another benefit is that we can manage giveaway, as many products are sold as fixed-weight batches.” Innova allocates specific sales orders to the production floor, giving them priority over production for stock. Multiple orders can be handled simultaneously. Adam explains, “We’re currently integrating a solution where we’ll know exactly where we are with each order, what has been produced and when. Greater reporting capabilities replaced ad hoc yield and quality checks. We’re perfecting these two vital parameters so that we have total control at all times and will also be able to offer our customers full traceability of their products throughout our supply chain.”

Correct dates and labels

Producing more than 500 different end products implies many different labels. In the past, incorrect labeling occurred because labels were preprinted. Adam explains, “With Innova, we prepare templates for all products in the back office. These templates show how each product is to be produced and what information is shown on the label. All data is then entered into Innova. Our operatives know what they have to do; labels are only printed once products have been packed. Costly mistakes with dates have been all but eliminated.”

Innova in the warehouse

Hazeldene’s is progressively working through commissioning Innova to manage their warehouse as well. Adam continues, “We’re short of warehousing space which makes efficient management important. We assemble products into pallets and pallet lots. Innova tracks them through our warehouse and oversees inventory management and order picking. We’re very satisfied with the results so far.”

Further integration

Adam concludes, “With Innova, we have much greater control of our process. We’re able to monitor quality and yield real-time and now have detailed production information, allowing us to manage efficiently. However, we don’t want to stand still on this. We now have Innova at the forefront of our minds with exciting plans for the future. You can be sure that we’ll continue to integrate this tool further across the manufacturing area of our business.”

About Hazeldene’s

Hazeldene’s is a third-generation family business established in 1957. It’s vertically integrated and based near Bendigo in the Australian state of Victoria. The Company processes 720,000 broilers weekly into a wide variety of fresh and frozen whole products, cut portions and deboned thigh and breast meat items. The company accounts for approximately 7% of Australian chicken market and supplies product to major supermarket chains, wholesalers, smaller retail outlets and butchers.


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