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Process This: Efficiency And Food Safety Are Not A Trade Off


​Increasing efficiency improves your bottom line. But it's just as important to invest in increasing food safety. In fact, it’s a necessity because efficient operations won't impact profitability if your food makes people sick. That’s why a strong Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is becoming a key competitive advantage for food and beverage processors.

Designed to make it easier to manage your manufacturing facility, an MES with a tracing and tracking process can be integrated into a comprehensive enterprise risk strategy that combines processing efficiencies with an uncompromising commitment to food safety, offering you double the impact.

Benefits of Manufacturing Execution Systems

An MES provides the systematic process discipline required in food processing to enhance efficiencies because it includes job/production management, process instructions, production scheduling, detailed real-time inventory control, equipment tracking, production tracking, traceability, labour tracking and machine integration.

“These systems capture processing activities as it happens and are a powerful way to increase overall visibility – a key factor in measuring performance, improving production and understanding who did what when,” says Glenn Fraser, Vice-President of Food & Beverage Processing for MNP.

A comprehensive MES solution offers you a clear view of what is happening in your processing operation because processing personnel monitor and track the data. In addition to providing IT systems covering engineering and production tracking, a robust MES will give a food manufacturer visibility and management of materials, quality, scheduling, tool tracking, and inventory management in order to track specific orders.

Manufacturing Execution Systems can track the complete genealogy of all inventory containers, providing both an upstream and downstream trace, even when you’re processing a complex variety of ingredients and different prepared foods. “This is ideal for tracking and isolating food inputs if a food safety problem occurs as it provides the information needed to discover the who, what, when and where of defective products,” says Fraser.

If you’re considering implementing an MES, the base requirements are as follows:

  • User-friendly system for use by processing personnel
  • Real-time reporting
  • Web access via an online solution
  • Built in
  • Barcode labell​ing
  • Support for mobile/wireless handheld units
  • Integration with machine Program Logic Controls
  • Integration with scales, packaging machines and other equipment

According to Fraser, tools of the trade to incorporate into an effective Manufacturing Execution System include:

  • Equipment parts lists that track replacement, cleaning and maintenance protocols – given concerns about listeria in food processing equipment, this tracking is very important
  • Process routings and bills of materials that define the series of steps and components required to process products
  • Multi-part production IT systems that identify and control multiple-product processing from a single operation
  • Control panels that enable managers to track and control machine status, labour hours, production and inventory
  • Work center tracking that provides equipment production, maintenance and downtime information
  • Job tracking systems that track jobs and work orders, enabling personnel to retrieve instructions, track activities and record production
  • Integrated barcode printing and reading capability for inventory control
  • Wireless networking with touch-screen functionality and automated notification capabilities
  • Integrated radio frequency identification (RFID) synchronised with key customers’ supply chains
  • Production tracking that provides detailed, summarized reports

“No one wants to become a prisoner to process, but in the food business, following an effective process is liberating and essential to competitiveness and food safety,” adds Fraser.

Adopting a customized MES offer strategically, integrated information that enables food and beverage processors to increase productivity, decrease waste, reduce total work-in-process inventory, reduce premium freight charges and gain increases in production throughput.

“So process this,” says Fraser. “Efficiency and safety are not a trade off. A well-thought-out MES can increase your production and profits while protecting your customers and your reputation.”

For more information, contact Glenn Fraser, Vice-President of Food & Ag Processing at 877.251.2922 or [email protected].