The frozen novelty business is notorious for its tight profit margins. Even accurate, up-to-date information on ingredients, inventory and customer order can go a long way toward pushing dollars to the bottom line. Founded as a candy company in 1861, Ziegenfelder began manufacturing a six-flavor line of water-ice products for nationwide distribution 18 years ago. The company had divided its record tracking between a paper-based system designed in the 1940s and a DOS-based system—purchased in 1996—which could not address production information requirements. Management opted to convert to an ambitious software solution. CSB-System International’s turnkey software system, designed specifically for the food industry, was implemented in June of 2002. The ensuing advantages added so much to Ziegenfelder efficiencies and cost savings that the company was able to obtain complete return on its investment in less than one year.
“Before we typed our orders by hand,” recalls Charles Horn, Ziegenfelder’s vice president administration. “Mistakes were made in the pricing of orders. The CSB system corrected this, and our customers and brokers enjoyed a smooth transition to the system. Now all our processes are done by purchase orders and item numbers. And our inventory is well managed.”
“By bar-coding product and trucks, we have total traceability from raw material by vendor lot number into finished product by individual case,” says Horn. “We know where every case of product is going—where every flavoring went, to how many customers and to whom.”
The production module went live at the plant this past July. The system, which manages recipes and tracks actual versus anticipated production results, has tightened management of process loss, according to Horn.
The seasonal nature of Ziegenfelder’s business complicates production and inventory management. The Ziegenfelder plant runs product 24 hours per day with the exception of a two-week shutdown for maintenance.
Finding a place to store frozen product until it can be shipped is a constant challenge. Third party companies ship and store the product. Product is scanned in Ziegenfelder inventory as it goes onto trucks and into storage or to customer facilities. No matter where the product is, the new system captures data on it.
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