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Fenmarc cuts waste 70% with Infor SCM advanced scheduler

23 September 2010

Fenmarc, which specialises in the production of potatoes, root vegetables and pre-packed vegetables, says it has cut waste 70% with Infor SCM advanced scheduler

Privately owned, the business has sales in excess of £80 million, employs 350 people and supplies produce to the major multiples and wholesale market.

Fenmarc was established 40 years ago as a farming co-operative for farms across the Cambridgeshire Fens. It now grows, prepares, packs and supplies various produce, which include potatoes, root vegetables and prepared vegetables.

The short shelflife of fresh produce means that manufacturers face a unique set of challenges. As retailers demand quality, reliability, optimum shelf lives and lower costs, manufacturing operations must possess accurate and efficient planning methods in order to maximise productivity and boost profitability.

Fenmarc isn't exempt from these challenges, and in 2008, decided a programme of change was necessary to ensure the company’s planning and scheduling processes were up to scratch. Its spreadsheet-based planning system simply couldn't cope with the demands placed upon its prepared vegetables division, as it was unable to model this complex batch-led manufacturing environment.

Having reviewed its processes, it was clear Fenmarc required a sophisticated scheduling solution to optimise capacity in its prepared vegetables factory, minimise waste, and deliver consistently high levels of customer service.

Having reviewed a number of scheduling system providers in 2008, Fenmarc selected SCM Advanced Scheduler from Infor. “While our in-house systems could support our core operations, our sophisticated planning requirements extended beyond its capabilities,” comments Krystian Kaminski, planning manager of Fenmarc.
“Infor’s Advanced Scheduler solution contained precisely the functionality we needed to plan our complex batch-led manufacturing processes, factoring in the short shelf lives of raw materials, capacity modeling, and flow of product across different production lines.”

“Through simultaneously scheduling production across our six lines with absolute precision, Advanced Scheduler can create a watertight plan for the following day in just 15 minutes. Having processed orders, it factors in all stages of the production process including preparation areas where raw materials are chopped and peeled; washing flumes; six production lines; mixing vats and packaging and sealing machines, and identifies the most efficient approach.”

“We now know exactly what raw materials are required, which products have to be mixed and where, together with precise volumes,” Krystian continues. “Additional orders are easily accommodated, as the system revises the production schedule within minutes. Spare capacity can be identified and utilised, which is particularly important in the summer months when demand dips, as we have greater flexibility to shift production to the most efficient assets.

“Inventory has been eliminated altogether in order to invoke our JIT manufacturing model fully, and we now know exactly what resources are required for each day’s production, with no contingency required.”

“The system is well aligned with the short shelf life, batch production demands of fresh produce manufacturing, and has helped us to plan precisely, accurately and efficiently,” Krystian concludes.

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