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Software, hardware, everywhere

18 March 2011

South Caernarfon Creameries, which produces various brands of cheese, milk, butter and cream, says it's set to install Integreater from Systems Integration at its North Wales processing site

Systems Integration supplies software and hardware to the food processing industry, and develops and installs tailored productivity solutions and runs a 24/7 support service.

Rob Stephens set up the company nearly 20 years ago, in 1992. "I'd been working as group operations manager at a large meat processing plant in the Midlands and often experienced problems with the production management systems that were available at the time," he says. "To address the issue, I developed a solution and formed Systems Integration".

Rob says he was fortunate Tesco spotted the benefits of his system straight away and recommended it to its meat suppliers. "We grew rapidly during the BSE crisis, as our system enabled processors to meet the tough traceability legislation that was introduced as a result".

Now the company is doing business with South Caernarfon Creameries which is located in the Llyn Peninsula and is said to be Wales' leading farmer-owned dairy co-operative, with nearly 150 members.

The co-operative was established in 1938 and manufactures 10,500 tonnes of cheese and 12 million litres of milk a year. It supplies a range of quality dairy products including cheese, milk, butter, cream and buttermilk to independent grocers, large supermarkets and food service companies.

With a wide and varied product range, the co-operative said it was particularly impressed with Integreater's ability to ensure complete stock control and traceability.

Integreater is an Enterprise Manufacturing Execution System (E-MES), a productivity solution for food processors. It's a complete software and hardware solution that is said to enable food processors to maximise their competitive advantage.

Integreater will replace SCC's current methods of control, improving accuracy and efficiency to ensure complete process accountability and reduce stock holding. The processor will be able to view accurate, realtime data to pinpoint important product information such as the age, grade, location and value of each item of stock.

The E-MES will automate the processor's grading and quality assurance system, updating entire batch records with test results from samples, regardless of where products are located on its 37-acre site. This will significantly reduce labour requirements and played an important part in its decision to invest in the system.

Its precise measurement of product performance, throughput and giveaway, were also of particular importance to SCC, as was the ability to measure profit and loss for each of their customers, brands and products.

"Our team has extensive experience with competing products and feel Integreater will enable us to take our business to a whole new level,'' says Robert Burgess, finance director of South Caernarfon Creameries.

"Integreater offers more functionality than a standard Manufacturing Execution System and unlike Enterprise Resource Planning software, it's been developed by food processing experts to solve industry specific problems.

"Integreater is a unique, long-term solution, which will ensure we have the flexibility to meet changing customer requirements and market conditions, developing the vision and understanding to drive our business into 2011 and beyond".

"SI is a leading supplier of software and hardware solutions for the food processing industry,'' says Rob Stephens. ''We've been working with meat processors in Europe, Canada and the US for nearly 20 years and have recently acquired clients in the fish, cheese and dry goods sectors. Over the next few years, we're hoping to gain entry to other sections of the food processing markets in these countries".

As for how important the food sector will be to SI in 2011 and beyond, Rob says: "Essential - we only provide solutions to this industry, so it's the lifeline of our business. We're hoping to saturate the sectors we're in at the moment, as well as targeting different parts of the food processing industry over the next few years".

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