Washington cherry processor finds new visibility through automation
Chukar Cherries is a Washington State-based, family owned processor that produces a variety of high-quality chocolate, candies, dried fruit, granola and gifts using cherries and berries grown locally in the Pacific Northwest. Taking their name from a species of bird that thrives between the Cascades and the Rockies, the company was founded in 1988 by Pam Montgomery on her family’s cherry orchard.
Today, Chukar’s products are sold online, at their flagship store in their native Prosser, WA and at their storefront in Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market. Despite their growth since the late 80s, the company remains committed to producing product in small-batch style, retaining the freshness and quality that the brand has become synonymous with.
Prior to ParityFactory, Chukar Cherries handled lot tracking via handwritten tracing logs. As a result, tracing was often too broad for their needs. When issues arose the team found themselves combing through cabinets full of historical records to determine the impact, wasting both time and valuable manpower. Additionally, because the level of detail that could be achieved manually was not very specific more product than necessary would be compromised whenever there was a QC problem.
Inventory management was done visually, with the production team monitoring for low inventory and notifying purchasing when raw goods were needed. Because of this, inventory visibility was low and occasionally skewed. These errors would become amplified when production adjusted their output to meet demand for fresh product.
It was clear that to face these challenges, they needed a much finer control over the stock flowing through the facility, a better view of on-hand inventory, and the ability to trace product without sorting through hundreds of handwritten records. It was time to automate
providing visibility immediately. The reporting is extensive, there is very
little learning curve, and the integration just worked.
We could not be happier.
To solve these problems, ParityFactory was implemented across production, from receiving through shipping. Rather than clipboards or estimations, floor workers are now equipped with scanners to accurately record incoming product and inventory levels.
The production team no longer stresses over the possibility of running short on raw materials and can instead devote more of their time and energy towards making quality products. Lot codes are now tracked quickly and seamlessly throughout the production process. Now, rather than shutting down entire lines for days at a time over small QC issues, tracing reports (and therefore answers) are always just a few clicks away.
ParityFactory was integrated with Chukar’s existing ERP system, enabling the sharing of valuable information between the two with little impact to their established systems or business rules. The Parity team worked together with the team at Chukar to train the floor staff in just one week, enabling them to use the system to its fullest potential on day one. With improved control and visibility, Chukar Cherries can confidently handle today’s challenges while planning for their continued growth.
The Results and Benefits
Implementing ParityFactory helped Chukar Cherries to leave their manual processes behind and find a new level of accuracy and ease in their materials control. Automating key data capture steps that were formerly manual is saving the company both time and man-hours. Rather than simply producing to a schedule, the team can now leverage valuable inventory data to make informed decisions about production, purchasing, and forecasting.
Chukar Cherries’ implementation went live via a remote meeting with ParityFactory’s expert consulting team. Collaboration throughout the process as well as an on-site, face-to-face training trip provided the plant management team with confidence their automation project would be a success.
See our software in action
Want to know how ParityFactory can fit into your operation? Schedule a demo today and our team will show you how we help over 50 food processing operations reach their goals every year!