Customer story

Beef production goes hi-tech

30 Apr 2013

Large food-processing companies know just how important efficient production and inventory control systems are to their business. Wet food processing in particular presents many unique challenges, so today’s top companies in this sector recognize how vital it is to have powerful management software at the heart of their operations.

It is for this reason that Sparta, one of South Africa’s leading suppliers of quality beef and beef products, chose to install advanced production management software at its abattoir and processing plant in the Free State province. Sparta opted for the proven and scalable Innova Software Solution from Marel.

“We chose Innova because of its many unique features, and also because it could be scaled to meet our specific requirements,” says Sean Goodison of Sparta. “Our previous software was outdated, offered no centralized management control, had poor traceability features, and often led to problems with inventory control.”

Significant benefits

Goodison, who had previously worked with Marel, knew that the Innova solution would bring significant benefits to Sparta’s business. Innova is being installed in three phases, with the first two phases - in the company’s two bulk-processing divisions - already operational. The third phase, will introduce vastly improved traceability and inventory control in the value-added pre-packaging side of the business.

“Innova is a production management software suite designed to monitor and control the entire value chain,” says Rodney Macer- Wright, General Manager of Marel South Africa. “This software solution offers complete control, from the receipt of each animal through processing, packaging and dispatching.”

Full traceability

He added that food-processing companies need to trace batches throughout the production process. This not only optimizes efficiency, cost-effectiveness and client satisfaction, but also helps ensure public safety. “In the case of a product recall, Innova has the capability to provide full traceability information, enabling a company to react quickly to minimize potential damage.”

Innova’s production management software is online and offers real-time information, which gives managers complete control over the entire production process. “Each animal is registered, weighed and allocated a unique batch number when it arrives from the feedlot, which facilitates a cost/benefit analysis of the feedlot operation. From there they are tracked through the abattoir and processing facility.

The unique bar-coding system enables the processor to trace carcasses and boxed products throughout production and dispatch and receive reports in real time on all aspects of processing, including inventory and stock movements,” says Rodney Macer-Wright.

Lost items and shrinkage trends can be carefully monitored in real time, and orders for large retailers can be made up on a per-store basis. This facilitates the quick dispatch of accurate orders from a central distribution center.
Downtime for inventory checking has also been reduced by 66%: from a period of three days to just
one day. 

The bottom line 

What it boils down to is that if you can’t measure it, you can’t control it.

“Marel’s strong focus on both innovative technologies and service provides fully integrated software solutions for every stage of the production process, scalable according to need,” says Macer-Wright.

A solid foundation

Innova provides a solid foundation for reliable data collection and enables meat processors to keep track of stock and product movements throughout the whole processing chain. The system enables processors to monitor their key performance indicators (KPIs) such as yield, throughput, quality, capacity and labor efficiency, in real production time, as well as ensure conformity to quality and food safety standards. Innova Software Solutions support a broad range of Marel’s meat processing equipment and can also communicate with other systems, such as ERP or other planning systems. Innova’s toolbox ranges from single device control solutions to total processing solutions adapted to the individual needs of meat processors. Based on modular designs, the solutions are scalable, thereby providing maximum flexibility for processors, ranging from small operations to large, plant-wide systems. 

Innova solutions specifically developed to meet the challenges today’s meat processing plants face include Kill Line, Streamline, Boning Hall, Trim Management System and Incoming Meat Inspection. With food safety a greater concern than ever before, an effective traceability system is critical for today’s meat processors. The Innova Streamline solution enables full traceability of primal product to animal, breeder, production lot and purchase order. It’s the ideal traceability risk-management tool, allowing meat processors to quickly and easily withdraw or recall products that have been identified as unsafe or incorrectly labeled.

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