Food Engineering

Original Bagel achieves paperless lot traceability

April 6, 2010
Software system helps the bagel maker get control of ingredient weights and conform to FDA track-and-trace requirements.


Original Bagels uses SG Systems’ Vantage formula control and traceability software to keep weights in control and provide FDA traceability. Bottom left: Touch screen terminal connects to weighing terminal and prompts operator for correct addition of ingredients. Bottom right: Once the final product has been cooked and packaged, the finished box count is entered into the system, providing real-time visibility into inventory. Source: SG Systems.
Strategically located 20 miles west of Manhattan in West Caldwell, NJ, Original Bagel Company is one of the leading wholesale bakeries in North America focused exclusively on traditional water-boiled bagels.

Enjoying sales across North America throughout all major channels of distribution, Original Bagel is focused on three primary areas: quality-oriented in-store bakeries, upscale foodservice purveyors and specialty stores. The company is independently inspected and certified Kosher.

All bagels are prepared largely by hand and require a number of different ingredients, which can pose difficulties in keeping track of individual amounts used and correct quantities added to ensure a consistent product. To get a handle on these issues, Original Bagel chose Vantage formula control and traceability software from SG Systems because it felt the supplier has extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of formula control and inventory management.

Original Bagel has realized ingredient savings by installing the system; “We’ve found that it made us become a better company,” says Mark Wolfson, Original Bagel’s director of quality assurance. “We’re more streamlined in how we do things and know if any waste is occurring; previously we weren’t keeping those numbers,” he adds. “Now that we can record those figures, our guys are more aware of what they are doing. With the waste now eliminated, dollars are saved,” concludes Wolfson.

The system installed at Original Bagel provides traceability from receiving ingredients through the production formulation process, which enables complete lot and batch traceability. Along the process are two Vantage touch-screen terminals connected to weighing platforms and label printers, which enable the manufacturing plan to be communicated with the production team. The system has practically eliminated time-consuming, paper-based production and traceability records.

The formula for particular products is entered into the PC server via the recipe formulation management software. The system allows management to enter and determine the exact recipe characteristics, including individual ingredient tolerances and how the products are added.

The system calculates the amounts of individual ingredients needed and downloads the order to the relevant station, providing an easy formulation process, with the large screen prompting the operator throughout as each ingredient is added. The system will not allow the operator to continue if the incorrect ingredient is selected or the wrong amount added. Detailed instructions relating to product characteristics are also flagged to ensure adequate HACCP requirements are met.

Once the final product has been cooked and packaged, the finished box count is entered into the system. The finished product inventory system is then updated to provide real-time visibility of exactly how many boxes have been produced.

The final software module is a customer sales order processing system. This application enables customer-specific orders to be entered into the system, after which the orders are sent to the receiving/shipping terminal for the operator to allocate the inventory.

The end result is a system that can trace an ingredient through the manufacturing process to a finished product. In the event of an ingredient recall, Original Bagels can provide its customers with the assurance that it has 100% visibility of the origin and use of all ingredients.

For more information, Stuart Hunt, SG Systems, 214-819-9570.