Vertical integration provides high quality conditions to ensure top standards at all levels of productions, food safety and traceability. The article shows why it is important to opt for integration when it comes to IT.
Veviba controls all processes with one software product – from its own cattle breeding business with some 10,000 animals on 19 farms, via slaughter, cutting, production, packaging, weigh labeling, the fully automatic high bay storage facility, dispatch and traceability as well as management and administration.
"This helps us efficiently design our processes from rearing to delivery and to also reduce costs in this manner. Moreover, we can quickly access the latest operating data by means of integrated online analyses of our production. This enables us to make our decisions on the basis of facts. You can see at a glance all data concerning production quantities, machine utilization and availability of the required raw materials. Data on order quantities and deadlines, machine allocations, raw material and manpower requirements are available throughout the entire coverage planning system and are taken into account in all other planning environments. Even current business data, such as inventory consumption, is available at all times in the ERP system. This data is entered online and realtime at special industrial PCs throughout the entire material and information flow.
50,000 self-service packages daily
50,000 self-service packages containing beef leave Veviba premises every day. Orders come in until 11 am, and no more than four hours later the first trucks arrive to pick up the ordered goods. “The production is a big ship from slaughtering to labelling,” says Kevin Ternest, head of the IT department. “There are changes to orders every day, with promotions such as BBQ coming in. For example, next week if we know we have a promotion in BBQ but then it rains, the number of animals we need to slaughter will not be the same. Our sales department then needs details about orders, quantities and stock. And as we work with short lead times, all departments have to work closely together. The ERP system contributes by providing any data anywhere. In the past, we had to gather data manually - today, this is not necessary anymore.”
Veviba deals well with the growing amount of daily orders, especially for sliced products, not least because of an increasing level of automation. Over the last few years, manual tasks were reduced step by step. Today, conveyors are installed nearly everywhere in the entire factory, for example to forward finished products to the high bay storage, which is controlled by the inventory management computer. The software administers the storage locations, controls all processes for stock entry and removal, the shelf loading devices as well as the conveyor technology. Plus it provides prepacked products to two state-of-the-art sorting systems, which label and pick the products in one workstep. At the CSB-Racks, the staff can easily see which order is currently being processed, which products and quantities belong to which order, and which label needs to be attached. After installation of the sorters, productivity has increased while the number of errors in weigh labeling could be reduced as the labeling units receive all labelling instructions from the ERP software, together with the price, ingredient information, nutritional values etc. “In this way, we not only eliminate incorrect labeling of products. Today it is also much easier for us to find staff for doing the easy work at the conveyor belt,” says Ternest.
Traceability from package to pasture
By means of the ERP system, Veviba can fully trace back all of its products – from meat portions in the self-service shelves of food retailers back to the live animal at the pasture. Numerous CSB stations installed at the factory facilitate close-knit data collection from slaughter via cutting, production, inventory and picking up to shipping. They ensure transparent control, documentation and monitoring of all relevant process steps. As the traceability data are passed on at every process step, the beef specialist is able to document seamlessly the goods flow of each and every final product. The system exactly documents which batch went to which customer. “Our vertical structure allows us to use the IT system for monitoring the origin as well as the entire production chain so we can assure the quality of the products from the farm up to the package.”
Erwin Kooke of CSB-System adds: “Another advantage of the seamless traceability is that the factory as a whole becomes more transparent. Enterprises with clearly structured processes and corresponding information flows benefit in several ways. Optimized purchasing, up-to-date stock on hand information at any time, reliable planning bases, meaningful reports and statistics - the more data and information you have, the more in-depth knowledge is available for successfully managing your business.”
CSB rearing management contributes to even more transparency: All processes and costs incurred during rearing and fattening of the slaughter animals are documented, visualized and evaluated. These include for example stabling, maintenance of traceability data (birth, fattening, death), re-stabling, veterinary measures, feeding, weight control, cost settlement, sale, and yield calculation. In addition, rearing management automatically provides verifiable documentation of all inspections that were carried out.
Associated companies connected to IT
The full integration of all business divisions at Veviba secures a consistent data basis without interfaces, a high level of automation and a constant quality of raw materials and final products. The two associated companies Giber d´Ardenne and Pouler d´Ardenne are connected to the CSB-System so the entire group works with one central business IT solution. Soon, the slaughter house Etn. Adrians taken over in October of 2016 will also be integrated. Adrians with an average weekly slaughter of approx. 1,500 heads of cattle is one of the leading slaughter and cutting operations in Belgium.
For IT manager Kevin Ternest it is very important that everyone makes use of the same software: "Everyone wants to work at their own little island But if everybody has an own
calculation spreadsheet, others cannot access that data basis. However, if all are using the same system, we can work smoothly together and no information will be lost.”