Automation
TECH FLASH

New ERP system improves processor’s operations

When an ERP system needs to be reprogrammed to keep up, a new system can save money in the long run

October 29, 2012
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Deacom ERP-purchase orders
Modern ERP systems integrate purchase orders with inventory and track and trace. Source: Deacom.

Ellis Huntsinger founded Huntsinger Farms, Inc. and its subsidiary Silver Spring Foods, Inc. (SSF) in 1929 when he started growing horseradish and other vegetable crops on a few acres of land near a fresh water spring south of Eau Claire, WI. Huntsinger Farms now grows horseradish in a five- to seven-year rotation with corn, soybeans, snap beans and other forage crops on over 9,000 acres of prime Wisconsin and Minnesota farmland. Silver Spring horseradish is a well-known retail brand in the US.

The world has changed a lot since 1929, and so has the way Silver Spring Foods runs its business. For instance, SSF recognized its enterprise resource management (ERP) system couldn’t handle its current business requirements and would be unable to evolve as the company continued to grow.

While the existing system was initially presented to SSF as an ERP module designed for the food manufacturing industry, the processor quickly realized the software required custom programming for functionality, which was excessively expensive and complicated. The system was slow and inflexible, and complex procedures were required to accomplish basic, everyday tasks. The standard built-in functionalities were minimal, and investments in additional functionality, such as internal reporting, were required to keep the business running.

SSF evaluated its needs and requirements. The ability to support complex pricing structures, a solid and efficient MRP module, and the ability to tie into third-party SQL-based manufacturing control systems were priorities in a new system. Additionally, SSF was looking for a system that:

►Ties together customer service, accounting, manufacturing, purchasing and shipping within a single tool;

►Has strong data mining and reporting functionality;

►Is configurable without customization;

►Has strong, sustainable technical support capabilities;

►Allows the processor to pre-define and maintain its annual ERP budget.

After comprehensive research, SSF narrowed the prospective vendor list to six possible choices.

Deacom ERP, which requires no customization, stood out as the only single solution presented. “Deacom promotes its system as being configurable, but the fact is Deacom will not introduce customized programming into the system,” says Noah Wallace, Silver Spring Foods CIO. “Deacom was the only system we saw that met all of our requirements without needing to be customized. As a result of this, Deacom was able to provide us with a not-to-exceed implementation quote, which no other competitor was even willing to discuss.”

As with any IT implementation, there were a number of different challenges regarding the mapping of previous business processes to the system. “At the time of the review and implementation, we were accustomed to a Warehouse Management System [WMS] that offered a table-based location system,” says Wallace. “We had to accept what we perceived as a shortcoming of the system in order to move forward. It didn’t take us long running Deacom to realize that the table-based location system was not necessary to our process. Deacom challenged us to think differently about our business process. [The supplier] did not simply do as we asked; it reviewed our requests and challenged them where necessary. That process made us a stronger company.”

Due to the previous multiple system setup, data conversion proved to be the most difficult part of the implementation, requiring Deacom and SSF to spend nearly six months mapping out the old ERP data structure. “The data conversion task was far more complicated than both parties anticipated, but Deacom stuck to its original quote for the project, and that meant a lot to our business,” says Wallace. “The day we went live, there were zero missed production orders out of over 6,000 and one delayed shipment, which we believe to be user-error, out of over 3,300. Deacom put a team on-site with us and was able to resolve any issues on the spot.”

SSF now has instant, real-time access to every facet of its business, which greatly improves the management team’s ability to make decisions based on timely and accurate information. Additionally, SSF has seen a significant improvement in inventory control, purchasing through MRP, scheduling and production. The processor also has seen a reduction in dollars lost due to material consumption issues that have been resolved due to greater visibility. SSF now runs a tighter inventory system because the MRP system allows the producer to fine-tune material purchases to match current production needs along with forecasted sales and production schedules. “Tighter inventory and reduced material loss all translate into lower costs. Lower costs allow us to quote new products competitively. That yields real dollars in increased sales,” states Wallace.

For more information, Stephanie Eaves; 610-971-2278, ext. 15; seaves@deacom.com

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Fabulous Food Plant: Paramount Citrus

Learn more about this fabulous food plant in Food Engineering's article, found here.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

What was your favorite part of FA&M 2014?

View Results Poll Archive

THE MAGAZINE

Food Engineering Magazine

Food engineering magazine 2014 april cover

2014 April

Catch a preview of the Powder and Bulk Show in this April 2014 edition of Food Engineering. Also, be sure to check out a coffee stick making a real stir and a major advancement in the the pet food industry.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

 

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png