- June 02, 2020
- Case Study
Pod Pack leverages DELMIAworks to automatically prompt line operators to run the appropriate inspections, trace and manage inventory, and achieve better utilization and uptime on existing equipment.
For manufacturers in the food and beverage (F&B) industry, automation is critical to support growth and build customer loyalty while complying with industry and government regulations.
A case in point is Pod Pack, which recognized the emerging trend in single-service coffee pods in 1996. Since then it has grown to become a leader in offering high-quality, single-serve products and creating innovative, profitable solutions for customers across a variety of end markets, including office, food service, hospitality, and retail. Pod Pack now operates in a 75,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing, warehouse, and office facility in Baton Rouge, LA.
In 2018, the family-owned company brought on a private equity partner to support Pod Pack’s accelerating growth, and it became clear that manual processes would not scale to meet the future growth plans of the company and its customers.
A review of enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions led Pod Pack to select DELMIAworks (formerly IQMS). To ensure the implementation would run optimally from the start, the company worked with a DELMIAworks implementation consultant to incorporate requirements particular to its business into the manufacturing ERP system. Within eight months, the system was up and running.
Quality and Compliance
Serving the F&B industry means quality and regulatory compliance are top priorities. Beyond observing all regulatory rules and performing routine audits with government agencies, Pod Pack complies with requirements and audits from a diverse array of customers. Therefore, the company has always maintained a strict protocol for operators manufacturing products on the line.
Now, Pod Pack leverages DELMIAworks to automatically prompt line operators to run the appropriate inspections based on product specifics, streamlining the process while improving quality outcomes. Additionally, the manufacturer runs regular reporting to ensure all quality checks are being performed properly and satisfactorily.
“By 9:00 a.m. the next morning, we can review all the prior day’s runs by product and operator to compare inspections performed to required procedures, providing enhanced visibility into our end-to-end quality program,” explains Marion Gray, Pod Pack executive vice president and CFO.
The company flags any instance when a product has been put on hold due to concerns over a manufacturing defect or error, and it uses the integrated customer relationship management (CRM) functionality to track customer complaints, issues, or credits related to quality. Then, weekly reports are sent to the entire organization, summarizing any issues by type, cause and effect.
To prepare for audits, Pod Pack regularly runs mock recalls. With previous manual processes, cross-referencing data from different sources could take four to five hours. Now, with DELMIAworks’ traceability, running the recall report takes minutes.
To prepare for audits, Pod Pack regularly runs mock recalls. Done manually, the process could take four to five hours. Now, running the recall report takes minutes.
Inventory and Supply Chain Management
Traceability also helps Pod Pack manage inventory, particularly for its many consignment products where customers give Pod Pack their coffee to process. Using DELMIAworks, everything that comes in the door gets a unique label and barcode, which is tracked throughout the facility. So, Pod Pack managers can tell a customer where anything is in the facility at any time.
“When we tracked inventory using Excel spreadsheets, it would take weeks to reconcile each and every month,” Gray recalled. “Now we can tell you down to the last hour what's in our inventory, and watch all that inventory movement.”
The DELMIAworks material requirements function also helps ensure that Pod Pack has the right level of inventory. When a customer places an order, the manufacturer immediately loads a sales order. The purchasing department then confirms if one of the warehouses has the required materials or if they can be released from a supplier. And, because Pod Pack manufactures several stock products, managers also use forecasting to determine when they’ll need to create the next batch or if there’s a risk of running out of stock.
Since Pod Pack ships and bills daily, the supply chain team relies extensively on shipment reporting in DELMIAworks to see what is available to ship today and everything going out that week.
“We’ve almost doubled our volume over the course of the year,” Gray observes. “That would not have been possible without the real-time nature of our manufacturing ERP system.”
Superior Customer Service
Pod Pack competes on superior service, relying on data from the manufacturing ERP system at each phase of customer interactions. It starts with the bid where insights into inventory, production capacity, the price of materials, and other costs enable the sales team to bid on deals with more precision. Once a sale is made, Pod Pack uses the system to automatically generate an order confirmation and other documentation for the customer at each step of the project.
“We can bid with more precision using accurate data, and we have pretty much doubled our volume without doubling our administrative head count,” Gray says. “The customers like it because they're seeing real-time results in the form of faster order confirmations and sales orders.”
Once a customer’s products are set for production, real-time production and process monitoring in DELMIAworks enable Pod Pack to proactively advise the client of any timeline updates in the manufacturing process. And, if a customer requests products within a guaranteed window, employees have direct access to Pod Pack’s production schedule and inventory.
Gray notes, “Our customer service reps don't have to ask the production manager because they've got access to all the information at their fingertips. So, they can respond to a customer’s questions immediately.”
Real-time insights facilitate improved production scheduling and planning, ensuring that Pod Pack meets its deadlines for current product runs. Combined with the ERP system’s work order and forecasting features, these real-time insights help the company to identify opportunities to add additional production runs.
Pod Pack also maximizes production capacity by using the uptime function in DELMIAworks to understand the company’s utilization forecast and when the capital expenditure team needs to start evaluating additional production equipment. And, Pod Pack uses the ERP system’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) module to ensure there are enough replacement parts for the existing machines running across its 14 production lines.
“Two years ago, we moved into a new state-of-the-art Class A manufacturing facility that’s dramatically larger than our old one,” Gray says. “While we've added more manufacturing capacity to keep up with demand, we're also seeing DELMIAworks help us achieve better utilization and better uptime on our existing equipment.“
Notably, Pod Pack has made extensive use of DELMIAworks IQ alerts and custom reports, so employees have the information they need when they start their morning. Additionally, the real-time updates give Pod Pack visibility into the company’s status in meeting monthly goals.
“We have the real-time data in hand to go out and rally the team because we all know what our goal is for the month,” Gray says. “We have gone from what was probably a 25-day close pre-DELMIAworks to a 3-day close.”
Gray adds, “We understand our manufacturing processes and costs so much better than we did it before we had DELMIAworks. We're literally light years ahead of where we were two years ago.”
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