Pic Billingsley, Sanderson Farms’ director of development and engineering states, “We try to be consistent in our design; consistent in all our feed mills, hatcheries, processing plants and waste water facilities. We come up with the design we want, that we know will work for us, and duplicate it. ”This consistency is what has helped Sanderson Farms to build eight new complexes. They also want to make sure they are improving as they grow. Billingsley continues, “We don’t try to be consistent with old technology; we want to be consistent with new technology. Replace or retrofit old technology anytime we find new technology that makes us better.”
Sanderson Farms and Marel Poultry have a long time relationship, Stork equipment has been in operation in their complexes since 1984. When the time came for Sanderson to begin planning their new complex in St. Pauls, North Carolina, they began the search for new technology they could implement that would make them better. They were looking for an evisceration system that had efficient use of labor and a high level of food safety as well as something that worked for them from an operational standpoint.
All of these requirements are what the Nuova evisceration system allowed. From a labor standpoint, they can do a lot more work in primary processing and the labor is not as intensive. With unemployment rates where they are today, it’s important for Sanderson to find these solutions and efficiencies wherever they can throughout the process. From a food safety standpoint, the Nuova system lessens the amount of employee hand contact with the birds compared to conventional evisceration systems and it provides more intervention points along the line, allowing them to run a better product through primary processing.
MODERN AND PROVEN
The Nuova system is a modern system and it’s been proven,” says Billingsley. Sanderson was able to install the system in a new complex, run it and make sure it worked as expected and met all of their requirements. “That’s the benefit of building a new complex,” Pic Billingsley continues, “We go in and we always look for what is the best. We don’t have to wait for assets to depreciate or wait until we are forced to change something.” Once the system provided the proven results Sanderson was looking for, they knew it would be a good fit and provide consistency of operations across all of their processing divisions.
A BIG DEAL
The change to the Nuova system was a big deal to Sanderson. They wanted to make sure they chose the best system to fit their needs. They did their homework, visited others running the equipment, asked questions, listened and learned all that they could about the system before making a decision. “We aren’t going to look up at the end of the day and have 12 different systems running. We are a company of consistency. This allows us to manage things more tightly, react to things much quicker and do a better job training people,” Billingsley concludes.
ABOUT SANDERSON FARMS
Since its start in 1947, Sanderson Farms has seen significant growth. Sanderson Farms has built seven new poultry complexes since 1993, expanding its poultry operations by 40% and surpassing any other company’s record for organic growth in the industry in the United States. Sanderson is the 3rd largest processor in the US and has been debt free since 2016. Their operations consist of seven big bird plants, five tray pack plants and one prepared foods plant along with 10 hatcheries and 9 feed mills throughout the Southern United States. They employ over 15,000 people and contract with over 900 farmers; they process 11.8 million chickens a week and annual sales for 2017 were $3.3 billion. They have also had a strong stock performance since going public on the NASDAQ in 1987.
A HELPING COMPANY
As a company, Sanderson feels it is their Corporate Responsibility to minimize their environmental footprint on this earth. Since 2008 they have reduced natural gas usage by 40%, electricity usage by 22% and water usage by 42%. Real-time data is collected every morning and engineers review the data to see how much power, electricity, natural gas, etc. was used the day before at each complex and make sure the amounts are within normal operations. If outside the acceptable range, the complex has an opportunity to adjust and get these numbers back into an acceptable range or help is offered. “We are a helping company. We like to make sure that people in the field have the support they need” says Pic Billingsley, Director of Development and Engineering.