Food manufacturers deal with some of the most difficult and highly regulated manufacturing processes. However, those working mostly with liquids encounter even more challenges: hard to measure goods, extensive WIP processes, comingled lots, and a large amount of rework product.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools and best practices to overcome those challenges—and ParityFactory pioneered them.
Labeling and barcoding can immediately improve the accuracy of lot tracing as well as the efficiency of any operation. But how do you barcode liquids or manage extensive comingling? For those using enormous tanks, inside or outside the operation, each tank becomes a defined location—like a freezer or storage room. Every lot that comes in, direct from tankers or individual in drums, is captured as it goes into the tank. At this point, our software knows every single lot that’s gone into the tank. In addition, the tank is assigned its own lot number with the history of all the comingled lots associated to it.
While not always possible, the best practice is to have a minimum of two large tanks, and to run each one of them to empty at least once a month if feasible. This wraps up the comingled lots for that month and starts anew, reducing the scale of any recall.
The next challenge is tracking the output from those tanks into a production run. Whether the source tank is being keyed in, or whether there is a scannable barcode or license plate on the tank, each production run involves checking ingredients—the comingled lots—out of the tank into a specific production run. For yield purposes, and to track what remains in the tank, best practice is to have a flowmeter record the volume of liquid out. In some production processes, for example filling 1,200 12oz bottles with oil, our system allows you to enter the amount of oil out of the tank retroactively based on the final production volume.
For those working fresh or frozen produce into liquids, inventory variance—and by proxy, yields—tends to be one of the biggest challenge areas. The fruit can lose some weight after receiving due to dehydration, so for those operations equipped for it, a second weigh-in right before production is ideal.
After that, ParityFactory’s software tracks the lots and weight into the juicing or production process, as well as the count and weight of the finished goods (or WIP step) out of that process. Not only does this generate and accurate yield report out of the system, but it also keeps inventory accurate and highlights production challenges or successes per line.
Lastly, what if more juice is produce than desired for production? In our system, that WIP step is captured and scanned back into inventory for use on the next run. ParityFactory automatically tracks all the lots into that WIP step. In the next production run, in addition to fruit, the WIP inventory can also be scanned into the production run. In this process ParityFactory tracks all the fruit lots in, in conjunction with each lot that went into the WIP inventory.
Those will combine into the finished good with a rich and accurate lot history! And, perhaps most exciting, all critical data is captured and managed with dramatically less effort than doing it manually or in Excel. Curious to learn more? Reach out to us!