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The Vantage traceability system from SG Systems has enabled To-Jo Mushrooms, a producer and grower of fresh mushrooms, to improve control on the production and packaging floor.

The Vantage system, which consists of eight touch-screen terminals, global trade item number (GTIN) label printers and barcode readers, enables incoming produce to be labelled with information relating to the lot number, the product, the sales order, the country of origin and the GTIN.

As the products are shipped, traceability is linked back to the incoming lot number right through the repackaging process.

To simplify the transition between the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and accounts package (Great Plains), an XML handshake between the two systems has been created to push purchase-order details into the Vantage system to eliminate the double handling of data.

Mike Wood, To-Jo’s vice-president of operations, visited Freshpoint in Dallas where the system has been in operation for some time.

He said: ‘SG Systems is the right company to invest in to meet our case-labelling requirements to address the PTI.

‘It has an understanding of the production-floor environment and a consultative approach to problem solving, both of which are very important to us when choosing a vendor to provide us with the tightest possible traceability in line with PTI,’ he added.

The Vantage traceability solution combines hardware and software modules that integrate with To-Jo’s ERP and accounts system, providing seamless control to the production floor where fresh mushrooms are packaged into new, sometimes customer-specific boxes.

It starts with a download from Great Plains with the daily supplier purchase information.

This download provides the Vantage shop-floor workstations with information relating to the grower, the country of origin, the lot number, the received date, the product type, the grade and the available inventory quantity to ‘deduct’ from.

The workstations take the form of Vantage touch-screen production-line terminals, barcode scanners and label printers, which communicate through the company’s Cat 5 local area network.

When the line supervisors select the relevant finished product or customer sales order from the Vantage touch-screen display, it details how many boxes of a particular product have been ordered.

Each box is labelled either through a low-speed manual hand print and apply method or through the company’s Markem high-speed automatic print and apply systems.

If no sales orders are present, the operators have the facility to ‘create finished stock’ to maximise the efficiency of the production run.

This installation is the first phase, providing excellent case-level traceability.

Phase two will involve production-line portion control to monitor operator productivity and to increase the weight consistency of products.

Each label is unique and fully traceable.

The label displays information such as the lot number, the country-of-origin code, the customer name, the expiration and pack date and the customer details.

As each label is generated, the Vantage system is adding product to the customer order to enable the management team to have real-time production information based on actual throughput.

Based on the Vantage traceability system, the reporting package has the ability to pinpoint which lot numbers have been delivered to which customers and when – all in real time.

The user enters the lot number into the PC and it will generate an ‘ingredient dispatch’ report (detailing which customers have been supplied with the ingredient), giving emergency contact details in the event of a product recall.

The reports package also enables the visibility of production throughput and production yield while generating no additional workload for the site staff.

SG Systems

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