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Tool control pushes food safety to new levels for KP Snacks

11 January 2016

With new legislation and tighter controls on health and safety, often driven by the multiples, including Tesco, Morrison and M&S, KP Snacks decided to take food safety to another level, with the introduction of tool management onto the production line.

KP Snacks, which is part of the Intersnack Group, has been manufacturing quality snacks across the UK since 1953. The company employs around 1,800 people across its 5 manufacturing sites and headquarters, producing savoury snacks, including brands such as McCoys, Hula Hoops, KP Nuts, Pom-Bear and Phileas Fogg, as well as retailer brand products.
Food safety is a critical component of any food manufacturing process, typically covering everything from handling and preparation to storage.
Whilst KP Foods had multiple tools on the factory floor, there was no system in place to track specific tools or carry out audits.  Jeremy Derbyshire, Site Director at KP Snacks explains:
“For KP Snacks, tool control was very much an embedded standard in industries such as aviation but very few suppliers had made the crossover into the food industry. The food safety of our products is of paramount importance to KP Snacks and we take every step possible to safeguard our consumers, constantly challenging ourselves to improve and exceed our customer requirements.
“Researching the market, the same name kept coming up as market leaders in tool control: Snap-on Industrial. The company has a solid track record in dairies and an understanding of the challenges that food manufacturers face when it comes to tool control.”
The company first started working with the world leading tooling solutions specialist Snap-on Industrial in 2013, initially gaining an understanding of the way it could control and manage its tool system within its manufacturing sites.
KP Snacks signed up to Snap-on’s Level 5 NTC (Networkable Tool Control) system. This offers staff the opportunity to manage a virtually unlimited number of lockable tool storage units simultaneously for complete system control.  It also allows tools and assets to be controlled in real-time, reducing the risk of foreign objects in food.
The keyless entry allows authorised staff at KP Snacks access to the tools they need, while the operating software within the NTC system tracks access based on employee ID key cards.  All tools are serialised and linked to a specific toolbox via laser etching. The NTC system enables the user to report tool events such as being lost, broken or away to calibration (and other locations) directly at the toolbox. This information, plus toolbox access records, is stored within log files on the toolbox and can be viewed or printed at any time. This provides a full audit record of toolbox access (or declined access) by user, time and date and a complete history of tools with events marked against them such as being lost or broken.
Gareth Dughan, Engineering Manager at KP Snacks and responsible for the tooling project, explains why an easy to use, real-time tooling system was so important: “Each area of our factory requires different tools so we found that we needed to tailor the tool inventory to each specific area. The level of customisation Snap-on provided allowed us to make this project more cost effective by ensuring that we only purchased the tools needed for a certain area, thus avoiding unnecessary and costly duplication. We were also impressed by the laser etching service that ensured that each individual tool could be identified to further improve our traceability.”
This has produced important time savings for the staff on the production line, explains Gareth: “Producing an inventory of tools every day wasted precious time with over 100 members of staff spending up to 15 minutes a day managing their tools across three shifts. Using Snap-on meant we were able to manage our time better and the NTC system has helped make the process seamless.
“Snap-on has been excellent in their approach to the whole project. During initial concept meetings they were able to demonstrate case studies within the food industry that helped us to build confidence in the working relationship with them. The team provided full training of the software package to support the installation and even provided follow-up training for new employees. The service Snap-on provided has been second-to-none and they have always been attentive to our needs and customisations.
“By working closely with our customers and recognised accredited auditors, we identified the need to invest further when it comes to tool control. This investment has enabled us to gain greater levels of control and reporting over our tool inventory. Since implementing this system we have been praised by auditors on the quality of Snap-on’s NTC system.”
Jeremy concluded, “The tool chests have enabled us to easily demonstrate that, when it comes to the safety of our products, we are willing to invest in the very best solutions available. Food safety and compliance has continued to improve across our factories and our factory floors have benefited from having all the tools in easily accessible storage units.”

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