For highly regulated meat product manufacturers, tackling food safety compliance with pen and paper is a challenge that can eat into production time and prevent them from expanding their businesses.

Edmonton, Alberta-based meat product manufacturer Honest Dumplings has come a long way from selling gourmet dumplings at the local farmer’s market. With a growing demand, the company planned to scale up production and expand distribution nationally, but the company’s paper-based processes posed a challenge during this transition—especially when expanding their HACCP program across a wider array of new and limited-edition products.

Vancouver, B.C.-based P&S Frozen Foods faced similar struggles with manually tracked data. “We literally wrote down lot codes on one piece of paper,” says Paul Tolnai, operations manager at P&S. “When we put it into production, it was put on three pieces of paper and they had to somehow balance out. It’s shocking how much we had to do just to make an invoice.” 

Benefits of automation, digitization

Digitizing processes with the right food ERP software was the solution for these meat product manufacturers to eliminate inefficiencies, stay audit-ready and grow their business.

A digitized system was especially critical for Honest Dumplings, where the production of each SKU involved several steps and a range of ingredients. This made tracking multiple control points and ensuring lot traceability a complex process to tackle manually. Automating monitoring procedures based on HACCP principles would be key to staying audit-ready. “We had just developed our basic HACCP plan and it was all paper-based,” says Chris Lerohl, CEO of Honest Dumplings. “Before our facility even opened, we quickly realized that we didn’t want to be in a paper-based kind of world and we wanted to get in to have a cloud-based kind of solution or a digital solution.”

Both Honest Dumplings and P&S Frozen Foods had specific federal and Canadian provincial compliance requirements to meet, which the standard ERP solutions could not support. They needed a food ERP solution that understood their unique industry needs and could adapt to different food safety standards and regulations, such as HACCP and HARPC.

“There were a lot of traceability programs and HACCP programs on the market but they were built around other industries with a food industry module or add on. We liked that Icicle is based on the food industry first,” Lerohl says. 

Icicle’s Food ERP solution allowed Honest Dumplings to integrate all relevant processes into a single platform, so new product additions or extensions were incredibly easy to implement within the HACCP program. “I love when I talk to some of the other food manufacturers that we know and they spent like four or five hours with an auditor because they picked something hard, and I can just click a button,” Lerohl says. 

When COVID-19 started and high-quality frozen products were in high demand, they were fully geared up to scale even under all the necessary compliance requirements. As a result, Honest Dumplings tripled their business by summer 2020 with minimal changes.

“Anyone who runs a food business knows that one of the toughest parts of the job is to have the right orders at the right time and ensure that they are coming in on time. A good warehouse management solution is able to help us keep track of all of this, and Icicle is able to do it for us,” — Paul Tolnai, operations manager, P&S Frozen Foods

Icicle’s food ERP software provides the company with accurate, real-time data covering all product-processing activities with user-friendly dashboards, flow diagram charts and reports. Its smart suggestions feature allows implementation of a preventive control plan (PCP) for food safety hazard prevention. 

When data is readily available, inspections and audits are faster and hassle-free. As a result, P&S Frozen Foods has cut down their daily 90-minute CFIA inspection time by 88 percent and secured their first SQF certification.

With its intuitive design and high functionality, the software allows meat product manufacturers to stay audit-ready and meet food safety requirements. It caters to specific food manufacturing industry needs by enabling process automation to enhance food safety and traceability, production uptime optimization with maintenance management features and more.

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