Schinkel’s Legacy, a family-owned meat processor in Chatham, Ontario, Canada, is in a rapid growth stage. Built on years of making quality processed meat products, Schinkel’s Legacy has won numerous awards for product innovation and quality. They are a HACCP certified facility, and are currently working towards becoming a federally-inspected processing plant.
Tim Schinkel, the company’s founder and owner, is a forward-thinking entrepreneur. He manages the business along with his son, Matt, and is currently working on expanding their building to handle the phenomenal growth that they are experiencing.
In 2010, Tim was looking for a solution to better track and manage plant activities – a tool that would give him information and visibility from the office and a way for better management effectiveness and decision-making. Up to that point, he had a basic system, but needed something more substantial.
One of the big hurdles was the cost of the type of system he really needed. Smaller processors, like Schinkel’s Legacy, have similar needs to larger companies in terms of product tracking through the various stages of processing – just on a smaller scale.
Carlisle Technology is a system integration company who has, for more than 20 years, provided food companies with software and equipment solutions for plant visibility, controls (e.g. yields, quality), and internal traceability.
Much of Carlisle’s work has been with large food companies in North America, many with multiple plants, providing the tools to monitor and manage such things as: product identification, weigh & label lines (manual and automated), label management, inventory of finished goods, raw materials and packaging, order entry and fulfillment, work-in-process tracking, reporting and internal traceability.
More recently, Carlisle has worked towards developing and providing its solutions to smaller companies. This has involved consolidating its modular solutions into a unified, streamlined program – the Symphony Plant Productivity Suite.
After talks with Bill deVries of Carlisle Technology, Tim Schinkel decided to implement the Symphony program.
This became a test of how the Symphony program could work with a small processor. Carlisle’s goal has been to work towards a more “out of the box” solution with greater configurability, while simplifying the setup and installation process. Further, it needs to be affordable for the smaller processors.
“We’re not yet where we need to be in terms of a very simple, straightforward installation, but considering the scope and breadth of Symphony’s capabilities, it has come a long ways in terms of finding a standardized solution that works for small and medium as well as large food processors,” says Bill deVries.
During the implementation process there were several “bumps in the road” which certainly brought some challenges to Schinkel’s along the way, but Tim and Matt, with their positive approach to problems, saw that progress was being made. They, and their people, continued to work with the Carlisle development and support team through the issues. Carlisle’s ongoing commitment to see that the client is fully satisfied has helped to push ahead and get them resolved to what is now a solid, well-running system.
Schinkel’s is making good use every day of Symphony’s functions of receiving, raw materials & finished goods inventory, pack-off weigh/label, order entry and picking, and shipping. With a data interface between Carlisle’s Symphony and Schinkel’s accounting system, the details of shipped orders in Symphony are transferred electronically to the accounting program, which leads to less labour with accurate shipping and billing information, as well as an efficient means of producing the required shipping documentation.
A series of management reports gives Schinkel’s visibility in real time from anywhere of what’s happening in the plant, and how they are performing according to target indicators.
Another phase of the project underway is to implement recipe management and work-in-process tracking modules, which Carlisle is also streamlining to be part of the standard, configurable Symphony program. Other emerging, industry leading functionality is also being planned that will help Schinkel’s do an even better job of recording and managing in-plant data and activities, meet compliance requirements, and provide even better customer service.
Tim Schinkel says, “Our experience in working with the Carlisle team has been exceptional. It is like anything else – everyone has a product to sell, but it’s the people who stand behind their product with excellent support and cooperation that sets them apart. This experience began at the introduction stage, as I put the challenge to Carlisle to come up with an inventory management/traceability solution that would work in a small plant environment at an affordable cost. Bill rose to the challenge, and through further discussions with our staff and Carlisle’s management team, we have exactly what we asked for. Although there were a number of difficulties during implementation, the Carlisle staff remained committed all the way through. Their level of knowledge and professionalism is commendable.
“We have the Symphony system running in our plant for over 6 months now, and it manages everything from packaging/labelling to the customer. We are enjoying better efficiencies getting orders out the door with much greater reliability and accuracy. Better control of our inventory allows us to plan more effectively in production and procurement of product in a timely manner. Visibility in real time available anywhere is a tremendous asset.
“We are looking forward to the next stage, where the Symphony system will manage everything from receiving incoming goods through the formulation process, and connecting to packaging and shipping. This system will also complete our full traceability system, as well as assist in automating some of our HACCP data collection. This complete system will allow us to continue to grow efficiently and profitably, and we are pleased to have Carlisle on board”