Food Engineering

The Bioterrorism Act: Achieving full traceability

September 2, 2004


Berner Foods is geared up for tracking and tracing with a system from Ross Systems. Source: Berner Foods.

Realizing its current systems would soon be inadequate, Berner Foods installed a new tracking and tracing system in 1999. The goal was to be the global manufacturing leader and preferred supplier in its product categories. To achieve this, the processor also wanted to ensure food safety, food security, and customer satisfaction. Berner selected Ross Systems because its product was vertically focused on the needs of the food industry. This helped the processor achieve full forward and backward traceability from ingredient source to the retail customer in less time and at less cost.

The company’s last mock audit took only 53 minutes to retrieve all records and complete the tracing. Source: Berner Foods.

Berner's new ERP system includes manufacturing, inventory control, quality control, distribution, maintenance, financials, reporting, analytical tools, bar code data collection, and customer relations management. To ensure full traceability, the processor also implemented supplier and shipper certification programs that included mock audits for suppliers plus inspections and tamper protection seals for trucks.

According to Gary Gold, vice president of quality assurance, and Troy Grove, director of business technology, the payback took less than nine months. Berner's non-conformity reporting and inventory systems have helped reduce scrap and waste by 38 percent, saving more than $200,000 a year. The new warehouse and in-process records systems have reduced labor costs by 10 to 12 percent, saving $40,000 to $50,000 per year.

Customer satisfaction has improved, with not a single customer lost in the past 12 months. Berner Foods spent close to $10,000 to implement a facilities security program, but believes it does not have to spend any more money to meet the requirements of the Bioterrorism Act. In fact, the company's last mock audit took only 53 minutes to retrieve all records and complete the tracing.

Scot McLeod, vice president of marketing for Ross Systems, says the Ross iRenaissance system can be used by a single-plant or multinational corporation. System pricing varies from $75,000 to more than $500,000, depending on the size and scope of the deployment. With its vertical focus, the cost of implementation services tends to match the cost of the software.