Customer story

Astral Foods optimizes order processing

01 Apr 2016

Astral Foods, South-AfricaFrom left to right: Jeffrey Macer-Wright (Marel Stork Account Manager), Barend Nolte (MIS Manager – Poultry Division, Astral Operations Ltd), Sander de Bruijn (Marel Stork Regional Sales Manager) Wickus Kleynhans (Processing Operations Manager - Festive).

Astral Foods is one of the largest and most advanced vertically integrated poultry processing companies in Southern Africa.

Over the years, the company has focused on growth and continuous improvement of its processes. In 2014, Astral’s poultry processing activities grew strongly, increasing the range of fresh product offered to the market.

Right now the group processes around 5 million broilers per week across four plants in South Africa. Astral companies produce a large variety of fresh, frozen and further processed, value-added products, under well-known consumer brands such as County Fair, Festive, Goldi, SupaStar and Mountain Valley. In addition to the wholesale and retail sectors, products reach the consumers via various quick-service restaurant chains.

Improving the labeling process

With such a varied mix of products, controlling process giveaway and labeling all products accurately with the correct information was a challenge. So in 2012 the initial focus for the Innova project was to improve the labeling of finished goods by providing an accurate, stable and easily supportable finished product labeling and palletization solution. This solution was to be used for all IQF, value-added and tertiary products for the Astral Festive and Goldi plants.

With Innova, we have a market leading, agile Manufacturing Execution System solution that can easily be adapted to our changing requirements
- Barend Nolte, MIS Manager Poultry Division, Astral Operations Ltd.

Tighter control

Innova provided all the necessary label design and product configuration capabilities, covering all process steps from the labeling of finished goods and pallet creation and ending with the transferring of finished goods pallets to the ERP controlled inventory. The solution included “packing and labeling”, “inventory and palletizing of final goods” and the integration with the existing ERP system. Critical data such as throughput per line, production give-away and traceable production batch codes were known at all times. It enabled the tighter control of losses due to over-packing and the full traceability of packs to pallets to the finished goods inventories.

Astral Foods, South-Africa

Optimizing fresh production

Over the years, the functionality of several production sites expanded. To further optimize the fulfillment of orders, the Innova Order Management module has been added to the software solution, structuring the pricing and order processing of all fresh production. The result is an optimized, fast and accurate retail price labeling process. 

Innova Order Manager enhances the last link in the supply chain to ensure complete support for complex ordering, packaging and palletizing. Innova Order Manager enables processors to produce only what is on order, to prioritize sales and production orders for production line control, and to shorten the response time to changes in production or orders.

Insurance against downtime

Astral has made regular use of the upgrade feature for system maintenance. Innova system maintenance keeps the system and IT infrastructure in an optimal state at all times, to ensure maximum availability and performance.

It can include database maintenance, software upgrades, network check, service check, backup and restore, as well as training and evaluation. This is done to keep the Innova installations as up-to-date as possible. In this way Astral can benefit from all new Innova releases and software updates.

Agile and easy

Barend Nolte, MIS Manager Poultry Division, Astral Operations Ltd says, “With Innova, we have a market leading, agile Manufacturing Execution System solution that can easily be adapted to our changing requirements, while still allowing for unified product packaging and branding. At the same time we benefit from process continuity on a national level across multiple processing facilities.”

Innova empowers processors

The Innova Software Solutions portfolio ranges from simple device control and packing solutions to total processing solutions adapted to the individual needs of poultry processors. Based on modular designs, Innova is scalable, thereby providing maximum flexibility to poultry processors, ranging from small operations to large, plant-wide systems.

The production management software supports a broad range of Marel processing equipment. Innova ensures full process control and food safety, while maximizing yield and throughput, conform to quality standards. Innova empowers processors to monitor and control their production in real time, improving their performance with the ultimate objective of optimizing their results.

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