Product measurements and weights are often an issue for companies that produce food products. In a recent incident where a major food manufacturer was sited for their products being underweight, Judy Cardin, the chief of weights and measures for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection called the shortages:
“’very significant … These kinds of shortages should never be leaving the plant.’”
When a gram can cost you a significant sum of money, you want to make sure that your machines are running at optimal efficiency without compromising customer expectations. That is where Statistical Process Control (SPC) comes in. SPC software ensures that your product stays within control and within specification.
Facilitating instant communication, a SPC software package should provide you a company-wide view of all of the processes and how they are performing. The system should notify you if a process is trending towards being out-of-control or out-of-specification. If an issue should arise, a user should be able to right click to instantly email from any chart or report that is open to the appropriate person to take corrective action. This provides for immediate communication and a reduction in errors.
“Using Synergy, we are saving money by decreasing considerably the amount of rework we are performing. Now we have the visibility to see when a process is trending towards going out-of-control. We can make adjustments so it doesn’t go out-of-control—saving us a tremendous amount of repackaging,” said Tim Stutzman, Manufacturing Systems Analyst for Oregon Freeze Dry.
Food companies are managing the fragile balance between providing the specified amount of product, while still running a profitable company. Leading-edge companies are constantly working to maintain these tolerances.
“Considering we are running 5 packaging lines a day, if we can reduce our range by a gram that saves a lot of money. Since our packaging runs are in the thousands, that gram saves us a ton of money. Without Synergy, we would not be able to set such tight tolerances,” Stutzman said.
Industry leading food and packaging companies manage this balance everyday. Companies recognize that issues will occur and build continuous process improvement procedures to prevent them from leaving the plant.