ERP boosts product traceability for ice cream manufacturer

Supplier: Sanderson Australia
02 February, 2012

Sanderson installed its specialist ERP food manufacturing software, UnityF8, at Frosty Boy's Loganholme plant in Queensland, providing the soft-serve ice cream manufacturer with total product traceability and outstanding business visibility.

Frosty Boy manufactures dry-blend bases for soft-serve ice cream, frozen yoghurt, gelato and shakes at its Loganholme facility, producing more than 1.5 million serves per day. It exports to over 30 countries and its multinational customer base includes major global organisations such as Yum International, which includes the KFC and Pizza Hut brands, Wendy’s and Burger King.

Two years ago, the company decided to invest in an ERP system to set itself up for future growth.

Frosty Boy’s chief executive Dirk Pretorius says the company was finding it difficult to get an accurate picture of business activity.

"As is the way when a business grows, disparate systems had developed around the organisation – many of which were based on spreadsheets," he says. "I felt we needed to get continuity and combine all business disciplines under one umbrella, so we began to look for an ERP solution that could do that."

Frosty Boy evaluated several systems, but eventually chose Sanderson’s UnityF8 solution. "We could see it had been developed specifically for the food industry and was a great fit for us" says Pretorius "It offered functionality for new product development right through to product recall.

Food manufacturing is very different to other sectors and it’s critical you have a system that can provide the right information at the right time.

Implementation of the core business modules went live in phase I, with additional modules added a year later in a second phase implementation.

Quality control and traceability are crucial to Frosty Boy and, before the implementation of UnityF8, the company used a number of manual systems.

The UnityF8 ERP system allowed customer orders to be automatically imported directly from the existing Frosty Boy website which saved the company time and removed any chance of errors.

Similarly its old accounting package offered a certain amount of traceability, but it had to be backed up with paperwork and documents.

"To look at a particular days output, for example, we had to call up the production sheet and go through everything manually," Pretorius says.

"It took a long time and put us under increased pressure – if an auditor wants you to call up a specific raw material, you have to be able to pinpoint all product manufactured with that material, and you have only a certain time period in which to do that.

"With Sanderson’s UnityF8, the entire process immediately became so much easier. It takes just a couple of minutes to obtain all the data you need – before, it could take hours."

The first phase also involved the introduction of warehouse management, including barcoding for all materials and stock locations. This transformed stock management , with all goods being scanned and allocated a location on a first-in-first-out basis, giving full product visibility throughout the manufacturing process.

In the second rollout phase, Frosty Boy implemented the factory floor data capture module. Touchscreen workstations were installed on the factory floor, so data could be captured at every point, offering full visibility of factory floor activity. Weigh scale integration was also introduced for the premix area, where ingredients are combined before blending and packing.

"There are often very small quantities of flavours or stabilisers, so the balance of ingredients is crucial in terms of quality control for the final product," says Pretorius. "We integrated the weigh scales with UnityF8 which gives us much tighter control of the process."

Cost Management Quality control is reinforced by system reports for production variances and product price variance, which Pretorius says has become crucial to decision-making.

"The ERP system is based on standard cost. If there’s any deviation, it will be highlighted straight away," he says.

"For example, an ingredient may be listed at $1/kilo, so if it is purchased at $1.10, it will be raised in the daily report.

"Both these reports have proved to be fantastic for us. We can follow up immediately on a yield or cost issue – before, it could have been the end of the month before we spotted things like that."

Product price variance reporting has radically improved cost management for Frosty Boy.

"We have a full and accurate view of costs on a daily basis, how we are varying from standard and in what area. The system enables us to run ‘what-if’ scenarios too," says Pretorius. "For example, if the milk powder price increases by 20 per cent, we can find out which products will be affected and what impact it will have on margins."

The company has just entered the Indian market and introduced and entirely new business stream, selling soft-serve ice cream machines.

Frosty Boy’s implementation of UnityF8 has been accompanied by a new level of confidence in its ability to deliver quality product, new revenue streams and unrivalled customer service, most importantly with customer audits.

"Customers must be confident in your product quality and consistency. UnityF8 has helped us demonstrate that we have a superior product backup up by superior systems," Pretorius says.